Celtic Connections – Winston Thomas
Foreword by Professor Michael Bagshaw

Users of Pembrey Airport in Carmarthenshire, South Wales, whether pilots, passengers or racing drivers, could be forgiven for paying little attention to the modest self-effacing gentleman managing the operation. The demeanour of Winston Thomas, the gentleman in question, gives no indication of the experience and extraordinary achievements of this son of Carmarthenshire who has returned to invest the fruits of his endeavours for the benefit of his fellow cymro (Welshmen).I first met Winston in the early 1960s when we were both members of the West Wales Flying Club at Swansea Airport. I was a young newly-qualified private pilot and my father was managing what was then a thriving small commercial airport (how times have changed!). I was aware that Winston was a well-qualified and experienced pilot and that he had business interests in the Llanelli area, but no idea at that time of his technical skill and knowledge of electrical engineering or of his entrepreneurial drive. It was these qualities which were to lead him to the USA in 1978.

This book describes Winston's early years in South Wales and the development of his flying experience, together with the way his knowledge and practical skill in electrical and communication engineering evolved. The decision to move his family to Texas and his subsequent life as a Welsh expatriate is described such that the enthusiasm shines through. He doesn't let too much detail complicate a fascinating story, for example rather brushing off his undergraduate studies at Swansea Technical College in just a sentence or two. This adds to the readability and fascination of the account, leaving you wanting to turn the page to learn more.

Winston founded Celtic Engineering in Wales in 1961, subsequently incorporating it in Austin, Texas, in 1984. The commercial breakthrough occurred when the company became a major supplier of equipment and expertise to MCI Telecommunications, playing a significant part in China's evolution from analogue to digital technology. Winston's role in this was recognised by the government of the USA appointing him to membership of the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle. However, he never lost his Welsh roots and affiliation with his Welsh culture, and it was inevitable that he would one day return.

I am sure you will enjoy reading this book as much as I did.

Professor Michael Bagshaw
Crowthorne, Berkshire
August 2013.

Michael is the chief medical officer for British Airways and he obliged to write the forward of the company I own in Dallas Texas, if you would like a copy of the book which is called Celtic Connections please contact me at info[at]pembreyairport.com

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