From 1985 on, Olson was the test director for all U.S. Navy surface ship Harpoon missile test firings. This gave him many unique experiences over the years.
“I have been lifted off the deck of a cruiser and pulled up and into a helicopter on a wire,” he said. “I have fired a 16-inch battleship gun, and I have sailed aboard every class of surface ship that fires Harpoon or Tomahawk missiles from battleships down to frigates.”
Olson is also the co-holder of a patent for a hybrid computer device that allows a photo telescope to follow a Navy gun projectile from five miles away.
Olson’s father, Norman Olson, was the first UW-Eau Claire dean of business. In 1965, with his father acting as a swim coach, Olson was the first person to score points for UW-Eau Claire in the conference swimming championships.
Olson and his wife, Jill, have six children, two of whom are UW-Eau Claire graduates.