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Don Briel Biography

Born  in Trenton, NJ in 1948 makes me a New Jersey native, but Utah is now home.  I went through college working as a mason’s helper.  Upon earning a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology I went to work for Bell Telephone Laboratories in Holmdel, NJ.  Four years later I accepted a job with Computer Information Systems, a small electronics firm in Logan, Utah.  Other career employment has included working for Utah State University, Thiokol Propulsion, and currently as IT Director for Cache County.  While working, a Bachelors degree in Computer Science and a Masters degree in Business Administration were earned.  I also serve in a variety of professional positions and volunteer positions in the community.

Jeanne and I were married in 1974.  We have four children, all of whom are married and living in Utah.  We also have 12 grand children with another on the way.  While I collect insulators, Jeanne says she collects grand children.  However fascinating insulator collecting may be, insulators are just a hobby while our children and their families are the center of our lives.

While visiting an antique shop in the early 1990s, I picked up a couple of glass insulators.  With that meager start, and a desire to know more about them, a new hobby was started.  Over the next few years I began learning more about insulator history, telegraph history, power transmission, etc., mostly via the Internet.  That research led to the discovery of several books, particularly the McDougald’s publications.  It also led to discovery of the National Insulator Association.  I joined the NIA in 2000.  Jeanne and I attended our first National show in Atlanta in 2001.  That really started the addiction.  We have been to nearly all of the Nationals since that time, plus numerous smaller shows and swap meets.

Since that first show in 1991, I have added numerous insulators to my collection, now numbering about 600 pieces.  I consider myself a CD collector, but definitely enjoy the many color and primary embossing variations.  I have been privileged to serve the NIA on the Promotions committee and as Membership Director.  My next major contribution to the hobby will be through continuation of the McDougald’s Price guide.  My first edition is planned for 2011.  My desire is to preserve the history and perpetuate the hobby in whatever way possible.  I will also cherish the many friendships that have evolved through collecting insulators.

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