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Embed code for: 2016 Sloan Christmas letter
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SLOAN CLASS OF 1968, 2016 Christmas letter
I thought it might be interesting to know what happened to each of us “after Sloan” so here is my story, written I hope, with enough humor and grace to make light reading for those few who decide to do so:
I returned to Boeing and was thrown into the aircraft manufacturing world as a member of audit teams that descended on unsuspecting subcontractors without advance notice. Needless to say, we were greeted with little enthusiasm and not a little hostility.
After failing about for a year, I was sent back to the Wash DC office, from whence I had departed for Sloan, to help restructure the office. Having done as little damage as possible, I was summoned back to the Mother Ship in Seattle to become President of a grand sounding subsidiary, Boeing Aerosystems International, whose task was to assist airline customers with all manner of ancillary jobs which included:
Designing the cargo handling system for what was to be the world’s largest air cargo terminal at that time at the now abandoned Kai Tac airport;
A system wide aviation communication network for Angola, the former Portuguese colony in Africa where we ended up negotiating with the Communists who had taken over from Portugal.
And designing a collection of airport and maintenance facility projects around the world, including both Iran and Iraq, the unintended result of which (for Boeing) was to give me a contact list which I later used in setting up my own consulting firm,
In 1980 I cut the tether, joined a new company formed to sell Boeing aircraft In the Middle East, a market with limited access to US firms due to that pesky Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, so I pulled stakes in Seattle and moved to London to run the London office. Our first, and as it turned out, last sale was 10 747’s to Saudi Arabian Airlines for which we took $1 billion in oil for resale. I think the Boeing lawyers may have felt the arrangement didn’t meet the “smell test” so that episode ended on a rather sour note and I fled back to Seattle and formed my own consulting practice.
I established what turned out to be one of my most satisfying set of relationships with John Skilling, who was the structural engineer for the World Trade Towers, and Minoru Yamasaki, the architect for the Towers. (I am glad neither lived to see 9/11).
Based on the aforementioned contacts, I became aware of a project to build a major 747 maintenance facility at the Riyadh Airport in Saudi Arabia. We formed a team to design that project and I ended up being co-manager of the team and spent many months in the Kingdom.
Only two more episodes, so persevere kindly readers:
My longtime associate, John Skilling, talked me into investing an embarrassingly modest amount, as it turned out, based on the eventual returns, in his son-in- law’s new restaurant, the Wild Ginger. The Wild Ginger is now one of the most successful “pan Asian” eateries in Seattle.
Finally, my penchant for weird projects led me to representing a major equipment supplier for a project known as At Sea Incineration. The project went bust midway through the construction of two large incinerator ships and I was left with a very large receivable. The shipyard building the ships filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and I got stuck as Chair of the Creditors Committee and subsequently was elected Chairman of the reformed company. As much as I wished, the damage was too great and we ended up filing Chapter 7 and laying off 600 employees. Not a very satisfying exit but I have reemerged not worrying about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act but the Seattle Building code in my current role as facility manager of our 22-unit Condo on the West Side of Queen Anne hill in my home town of Seattle and 5 minutes to the marina where rests the worthy successor to my much loved Seahawk.
All contact date remains the same and a Merry Christmas to all…