Ron Mastro: an unforgettable figure in our industry

Many of you remember Ron Mastro, the former 11-year publisher of Military & Aerospace Electronics and Avionics Intelligence, who left the magazine in late 2008 for retirement in Florida. He was a bigger-than-life character who was likable, engaging, and impossible to forget.

Ron Mastro died last month on 14 April 2013. It was fast, and sudden, and a shock. He had contracted an aggressive kind of lung cancer that took him only a few weeks after he was diagnosed.

Ron always asked the name of the waiter or waitress serving him, always entered a room with a grand entrance, and gave those he encountered the impression that he was paying closer attention than he was to anyone else.

He also lived his life with appetite and joy. He entered booths at trade shows like the one everyone had been waiting for. He made friends and acquaintances perhaps in the most effortless way I've ever seen. Yes, he was a smoker, and lived life hard sometimes, but his death came as such a shock not only because of how quickly it came, but also because in our hearts, those who knew him thought he might live forever.

I worked closely with Ron Mastro for 14 years, from when he started as an ad salesman for Military & Aerospace Electronics in 1994, and through his tenure as publisher of the magazine from 1997 to 2008. Ron understood people, and genuinely liked them as few others do.

I remember my first business trip with him. When he checked in for his flight, he asked with a straight face for a free upgrade to first class. At the hotel desk he asked for a free dinner. No? Well then how about a free drink at the bar? I asked Ron how he had the nerve to ask for free upgrades to first class, meals, and drinks seemingly with no justification at all. It was simple. "You don't get it if you don't ask."

When we made a business trip to England together, Ron's room in a small hotel was three flights up, with no elevators. As you can guess, it didn't take Ron long to procure a larger, nicer room on the ground floor. Meanwhile, I schlepped up and down those three flights of stairs for the entire week we were there.

On the day we arrived, I went out in the afternoon to museums in London. When I returned a few hours later, I found Ron relaxed in a chair on the front landing. It had been only a couple of hours, but he was already on a first-name basis not only with all the hotel management and staff, but also with most of the guests.

This man had been in the country for less than 12 hours, but the street already belonged to him, and everyone he encountered was happy for it.

On our last day there, I took the train to Hampton Court, the former home of English monarch Henry XIII. I thought Ron might go with me, but he begged off, and the man behind the desk must have seen the disappointment in my face as I started off. He asked, and I explained that Ron didn't want to go with me.

"You know why that is?" he asked. "Well, not really," I replied. He explained in terms those who knew him would understand. "Well, there must be 200 pubs between here and Hampton Court, and I just don't think he'd make it," he said. That evening with Ron, at the pub, was our most pleasant night of the trip.

Ron was far more than a boss and a teacher. He was a father figure to me, as well as a friend. He praised me when I earned it, and kicked my butt when I deserved it, but with kindness, understanding, and empathy.

Ron Mastro's obituary is online at www.hiers-baxley.com/obituaries/Ronald-Mastro/#!/Obituary.


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.


The Innovation That Matters™ Quiz

Innovation is one of the key drivers in the Defense industry. View this short video of Leon Woo, VP of Engineering at Mercury Systems, on the role of innovation. Then, answer 3 simple questions correctly to be entered into a drawing to win an Eddie Bauer fleece jacket!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR TWO MOST RECENT WINNERS. "Nick from SPARWAR" and "Bridget from AOC."


Featured Slideshow

Evolution of the American soldier

The American soldier has come a long way since the beginning of the Republic 237 years ago. While uniforms for early soldiers were based on cost and utility, soldiers' clothing eventually considered ballistic protection, increasing storage space, protection from poison gas and other contaminants.

Related Products

API DC Link Power Film Capacitors

High reliability DC link capacitors for power inverter applications which require superior life e...

VPX3-453 3U VPX Virtex-6/8640D Digital Signal Processor

The Curtiss-Wright VPX3-453 is a high performance 3U VPX DSP and FPGA processor card that combine...

PC/104 SBC and Peripherals

Kontron PC/104 Standalone Single Board Computers (SBCs) serve in every format, even with consiste...

Related Companies

API Technologies Corp

Who We Are API Technologies is a dominant technology provider of RF/microwave, microelectronics, and security technol...

Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc (X-ES)

 Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a leader in the design, manufacture, and support of standard and ...

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS) is a long establish...
Wire News provided by   

Most Popular Articles

Webcasts

On Demand Webcasts

Engineering the VPX high-speed data path for physical and signal integrity

Join Arrow Electronics and TE Connectivity, for an overview webinar of the standards, technologies and trends involving VITA and TE.

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

Flying, Sailing or Driving - The Rugged, Embedded Intel-based Server that goes where you need it!Flying Sailing or Driving

Leveraging the power of server-class processors is no longer relegated to the confines of data centers. Through several innovations, Mercury Systems has ruggedized Intel’s server-class chips for deployment. ...
Sponsored by:

social activity

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2014
Volume 25, Issue 2
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE