Class of 1964
Inducted May 2018
Joseph Cimenski, a 1964 graduate of Royalton High School, was the oldest child in a family of 13 siblings. Joe was a humble, fun-loving and hardworking young man. At a young age, his curiosity in mechanics and engineering was sparked working in his dad's mechanic shop.
While attending high school, Joe was successful in academics and activities. He was involved in band, class play, and was selected as Snow Ball King. He was a four year Letterman and captain of the football and basketball teams. Joe had the honor of representing and playing in the Minnesota State
Basketball Tournament. Joe's leadership skills can be traced back to this time as he was Class President and Student Council President.
Following graduation from high school,Joe attended the University of Minnesota where he obtained a degree in Aerospace Engineering. While in college, Joe was recognized for his relentless persistence for learning as he often sought out professors until he understood the concepts of the course.
Joe enlisted in the Navy in 1969 and was a Battalion Commander. While in flight school, he was on the Captain's List for academic excellence for all three years. He graduated from Training Command School as #1 in his class. Jo received his Naval Aviator "Wings of Gold" in 1971 while he attended Naval War College in Providence, RI. Joe flew for the Navy for 22 years and retired in 2001 as a Captain (06) with over 30 years of continuous service
While continuing his service in the Navy, Joe was able to find his passion as he landed a career in aerospace. In 1974, he was hired at General Dynamics (G.D.) in San Diego. He was assigned to the Fluid Systems Design Group for the Centaur Rocket on the Atlas, Titan and later Shuttle Space Launch Vehicles. Joe was given two special assignments, to work on the classified Tomahawk Cruise Missile fuel system design and the NASA X-33 Systems Engineering. Joe's efforts at G.D. supported Mariner spacecraft to all the planets in the solar system and beyond. He had a hand in sending the only man made objects out of the solar system entirely into interstellar space. Joe's signature (literally) is on Mars aboard one of the Viking landers. As a natural leader. Joe was promoted and served as Chairman of the AlAA Liquid Rocket Propulsion Technical Subcommittee for two years. He was also a project manager. In this capacity, Joe was responsible for the performance of several contracts for propulsion and propellant feed components. He oversaw contracts worth over $375 million for Centaur main rocket engines alone.
In his career in aerospace, Joe was much decorated as he received three extraordinary achievement awards: Excel Award, Special Recognition Award from General Dynamics and Nominee for the General Managers Award, the GD's highest honor. From 1987-1990, Joe's first four years in the Program management, his overall performance evaluation grade was "exceptional," the highest possible at General Dynamics.
Joe retired from the Navy in 2000 and from Lockheed Martin, previously General Dynamics, as Senior Engineering Specialist in 2012 after 38 years of continuous service. Joe and his wife Melanie reside in Lone Tree, Colorado. His children are Jason, Joshua, Jessica, and Jennifer.