Deon's Open Road


    Team T.B.D.


    Tonopah, AZ


    Public Television: Season 10

  • ON DVD:


Nuclear Engineer / Founder
Palo Verde Power Plant/Legacy Initiative

“Get ready to become a nerd…because the nerd faces all the same challenges as everyone else, yet the nerd has the strength to defy all the peer pressure, do well in school, and still survive-without the entourage! That's a tough kid!”


Engineering Science


Community Determination Education Hard Work Negativity Societal Pressures Focus Self-Reflection Failure Pressure Courage Opportunity Perseverance Risk Choices


Building Things


change, cheating, comfort zone, family, jail, military, Navy, pattern, peer pressure, prison, separation, strength, survival, test taking, tough, volunteer, water, where you came from, willing, working with your hands


  • Came from a poor, rough part of Chicago: brother is in prison, sister recently got out.
  • He made a promise to his mother and to himself that he'd get an education and career; he was a good student, excelled at math.
  • His older brother went to the Navy, he went to try out as well; had to take a difficult exam that usually wasn't even given to kids in his area.
  • Figured out a pattern within the test and scored so well that one recruiter assumed he had cheated.
  • Placed in an 18-month program that would qualify him to operate a nuclear power plant; had to work seven days a week, 15 hours a day.
  • Was one of only 35 people that made it through; was running a nuclear aircraft carrier, head of a 42-person staff at age 19.
  • Now he spends much of his time speaking to young students; he tries to dismantle the negative connotation behind the word "nerd."
  • Tells road-trippers that they'll likely have to break away from everything they know, exit their comfort zone, but it'll be worth it.

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