At first you may not know what a scantron is. However, if you’ve ever taken a big test you’re bound to remember quickly. According to WebProNews, Michael Sokolski is the man you can thank for that testing style.

Sokolski was born in Poland on September 25th, 1926. He lost his mother during a German attack on his homeland during World War II, an event which prompted him to serve in the Polish Forces under the British Eighth Army Command. Between the years 1945 and 1947, Sokolski served in Italy, fighting in the battle of Monte Cassino as a tank driver. During this exchange, Sokolski was wounded, earning him the Italy Star and War Medal for his service.

Following his graduation from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, the decorated war hero soon found work at IBM Rochester. In 1966, Sokolski founded Datronics, which he eventually sold to the 3M Corporation. Although he’d already made considerable progress in his career, the world wouldn’t know the man’s name until he formed Scan-Tron, which completely reinvented the way everyone took tests.

If all of this wasn’t enough to keep him busy, this tireless individual was a Technical Reserve for the Santa Ana Police Department in 1979, as well as a member of Advisory Board for the Orange County Sheriff Department. Following his retirement, Sokolski developed a passion for fishing, catching several 50-pound salmon during his many trips to the sea with his wife and family.

Photo by Casey Serin