The Inventor: Mark Dean

It’s Black History Month folks!

As a black woman, I wanted to highlight some of the accomplishments of black people who are living. Each week, I will be researching and sharing tidbits about black people who are and/or have done great things. Bear with me because I promise you will learn something and I will keep it interesting.

First up is…

Dr. Mark Dean (March 2, 1957-present)

Dr. Dean was born in Jefferson City, Tennessee (my home state). He is a computer scientist, engineer and inventor. He landed a job at IBM after graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in engineering. While working at IBM he developed many new technologies. He currently holds three of their original nine patents. Impressive huh?

Dean developed the new Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) systems bus that allow devices like disk drives, printers and monitors to be plugged directly into computers. Where would we be if we didn’t have this early technology?

Dean’s research led to the development of the color PC monitor and, in 1999, he led a team of engineers to create the first gigahertz chip. Both are invaluable in terms of what we use today. Heck, I have a 24 inch computer monitor for my personal computer. Brilliant picture and color. Thanks Dr. Dean!

Dean has more 20 patents associated with his name. He is a brilliant man who was named an IBM fellow (first black ever to receive this award).He was honored with the Black Engineer of the Year President’s Award and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Cool huh?

When asked by PC World, December of 2014, of all the technology you’ve had a hand in creating, what are you most proud of? He replied:

“I am most proud of the PC and the team it took to make it happen. We developed a device that changed the way society works, learns and plays. It enabled the world to be more productive and entertained. How many times does someone get to work on something that had the impact the PC had on the world?”

MED-Seated-without-Hands

I’m in a Tomato Season

My very first job was picking tomatoes at the age of 12.  I’m sure there were some child labor laws that were broken during that time, but it was a job that paid cash daily.  I earned an honest day’s wage for back breaking work in the dead of summer in a tomato field in Tennessee. 

I started thinking about the planting process of the tomato and wanted to give you a simple and realistic view of how God works with me by planting His seeds of grace, mercy and favor over my life.  He is nurturing my spirit, just like the tomato so that I can grow and be fruitful during the planting process.

Now, there are 5 steps that you must do in order to produce viable tomatoes:  select a site, establish stakes or cages in the soil (staking keeps the fruit off the ground and caging lets the plant hold itself upright), planting seeds two feet apart, pinching and planting deep enough and finally watering well.

Stay with me folks …I have a point.

Step 1:  In order to plant tomatoes, you need to select a site that is full of sun and well-drained soil.  I’m from the south, so you need to know that light afternoon shade will help tomatoes survive and thrive. 

Thinking about how my own soul now seems to be planted and rooted firmly in God, I know that I need a little afternoon shade (aka rest) to survive and thrive in these tumultuous times.  You see, people think they know me or know what I’m going through, but they have no idea.  They don’t see me broken and crying and falling out so they begin to assume things about me or my situation.  Don’t worry, God’s got me!  Just like the tomato, He knew where to plant my spiritual seeds to provide the optimal chance of survival.

Step 2:  You have to establish stakes or cages in the soil at the time of planting.  Staking keeps developing fruit off the ground while caging lets the plant hold itself upright.  Some sort of support system is recommended, but sprawling can also produce fine crops if you have the space, and if the weather cooperates.

Wow! I’ve been staked and caged in situations and realized that I wasn’t producing fruit that was edible to God.  So, God said, “Okay, let her sprawl and grow low to the ground.  She’s good.”  He knew what I needed and when I needed it.  The sprawling helped me to get the necessary nutrients from the word He was providing.  It was at my lowest that I learned to be still and listen. There was uncooperative weather, storms and flooding, but I still grew.

Step 3:  Plant seedlings two feet apart.

I love this because it is in the space where you can grow and find out what God wants for you.  You see, I can’t get to Heaven on anyone’s merits but my own.   It’s in the space that I can stretch my mind and absorb the things that God wants me to see.  I am planted with like-minded folks, but I am growing at my own pace and not at theirs.

Step 4:  Pinch off a few of the lower branches on the transplants and plant the root ball deep enough so that the remaining lowest leaves are just above the surface of the soil.

You have to be planted in the soil in order to grow.  How can I grow in my faith if I’m halfway in the soil?  Aren’t I just trying to grow in mud instead of letting the spirit water my soil and grow in the right situation?  I’ve been in muddy situations and it’s no fun.  But, God has allowed a farmer to come along and replant my seeds just where they needed to go.  It’s the transplanting that takes place that allows me to thrive above the surface of the soil.

Step 5:  Water well to reduce shock to the roots.

No explanation needed right?  But, let me try…you need to water the seeds of your spirit well with God’s word or you will be shocked.  See, your roots won’t grow and you won’t develop into viable fruit.  Watering reduces shock to your roots.  Imagine the electrical shock you get when you run your feet against carpeting and then touch someone.  It hurts right?  Do you think your roots could take that kind of shock on a regular basis with poor watering? Nope, they can’t. So, it’s important that you know that God’s word is the truth and understanding and accepting that Christ is your personal savior will reduce the impact of that shock.  It doesn’t mean that you won’t get shocked, it just means that the shock will be reduced and you can still ripen in your faith and walk with God.


It is in the planting that the hardest of the work is done.  You can’t skip a step in this process or you will realize that you will not grow like God wants you too.  See, there is no shortcut or secret to being what God wants you to be.  You have to do the work.  You have to go through the planting stage in order to grow and become edible.  A process takes time, but I promise you that it is worth it in the end.  He is a phenomenal God and there is no other like Him.  He will do exceedingly and abundantly when you let Him in to do His work.  Let him go through the steps and feed your spiritual seeds.  

Be blessed my loves!