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Avid pilot, engineer and mentor Ronald Allen Carter, 58, died Sunday evening while practicing the sport he loved, paragliding.
Carter, who was a project manager and lead engineer with the Utah Center for Applied Innovation and Design at Weber State University, was involved in extreme sports when he wasn’t helping students.
Carter loved sailing, building custom motors on bikes and cars, and flying his own airplane, according to Shayne Chambers, a previous student and current electrical engineer at UCAID. Chambers said Carter was a talented engineer, and tutored and mentored him while he was a student.
“He helped me get done with school; he was a good mentor to a lot of the students here,” Chambers said. “He gave a lot of good advice . . . he wanted you to learn and he wanted you to become the best you could be.”
Carter also built his own full-size aircraft called the Harmon Rocket. He flew it for many years.
“He liked to push the limits, for sure,” Chambers said.
Carter is survived by his wife Elice Carter, who lives in Farmington, and his two sons, Cameron and Andy.
“It was a happy way for him to go — it just wasn’t happy for the rest of us,” Elice said. “He was all about having fun all the time.”
In an email, Elice said her husband was her “–er” man because he liked things faster, higher, bigger and sweeter. Elice said his life was all about building things and he was interested in learning about absolutely everything.
“My favorite times with him were when we did things together with our boys, Cameron and Andy,” Elice said. “He tended to play with them like they were all boys — he was just bigger than them.”
Carter had his own rapid prototyping and product design business, Metropolis Design, for 17 years. Alex Lawrence, vice provost for WSU Innovation & Economic Development, said Metropolis Design is “probably the largest and most well-respected industrial design firm in the state of Utah.”
Elice said Carter originally named his business Metropolis Models as a joke because it started in the small city of Logan. Lawrence said he sold the company and came to WSU to start UCAID.
Through that new department at the university, Carter worked with a number of faculty and students as well as people in the business community to do design work and partner on projects in the aerospace and outdoor products industry.
“We built a lot of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that fly around,” Lawrence said, “so he was an expert on building and flying those as well as small aircraft.”
Lawrence said Carter was a well-liked, respected, talented figure in the business community. “But then (he) transferred that knowledge to the university and helped companies and students work with Weber State in a unique way.”
Although Carter was an essential member of the UCAID team, the center for applied design will continue as he would want and resume assisting engineering and design students.
“The students and the companies that we worked at Weber State through UCAID really enjoyed working with him, and he did really good work,” Lawrence said, “so they miss both his personality and his talent.”