BERNARD Smith credits his father for sparking his interest in electronics after being inducted as a member of the Order of Australia (AM).
He was awarded for his significant service to science and technology and to the community of Tallangatta.
“My father was very mechanical,” Mr Smith said.
“He always had something for me to pull apart and play with.
“Then when I was a little bit older he’d give me model air planes and radios to build.”
In 1995 Mr Smith co-founded Turbulent Flow Instrumentation, a company selling airflow probes to some of the biggest names in the industry.
“NASA is one of our customers, as are some Formula 1 racing cars,” he said.
Turbulent Flow Instrumentation also sells equipment to the US Air Force and the CSIRO, among others.
The probes measure how clean the airflow is coming off an object, and whether it affects other objects along its path.
Despite his achievements, Mr Smith said he wasn’t really interested in education and left school after year 10.
“There’s a lot of kids who leave school early and don’t do much with themselves,” he said.
“They should know that there are a lot of opportunities open to them, certainly a lot more than when I finished school.
“They can achieve a lot if they really try.”
Mr Smith is an active member of the Tallangatta and District Heritage Group and collects and restores historical engines.
He is a mentor and sponsor of the Solar Car Challenge, and has the Bernard Smith Technology Award named after him.
He is also a watchmaker by trade.
Mr Smith said the AM took him by surprise.
“I wasn’t too sure at first,” he said.
“I was quite surprised.
“It’s very humbling.”