I've lived in the Phoenix Metropolitan area all my life (well, not YET!). Actually, that's not true. I was born here, but from the age of a few months until I was four, my family lived in LA before returning to Phoenix. Then for a year around 1960-61, we lived in Stamford, Connecticut. But other than that....
I attended the now-politically-incorrectly-named Squaw Peak Grade School (now Biltmore Preparatory Academy), and then Camelback High School. I graduated from Camelback a semester early so I could work and earn a bit of money so my best friend and I could travel across the country for six weeks in the summer of '72. We saw the Rocky Mountains, Houston Space Center, New Orleans, Hurricane Agnes, New York City, Washington DC, Nova Scotia, Detroit, and lots of places in between. It was a whirlwind; we covered 13,000 miles in six weeks.
My freshman year of College I attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon. (It turns out I was there at the same time as Steve Jobs but I did not meet him.) I started college as a physics major, but found I needed more math to support the science. Plus, like most of the other students at Reed, I had no social skills. I was pretty unhappy that first year. So for the following three years of my undergraduate, I attended Arizona State University, where my major was Theoretical Mathematics with a minor in Philosophy.
When I graduated with my BS in Math, I was admitted to the Masters program (again, in Math) and was granted a teaching assistantship. It was my intention to stay in academia and eventually get a doctorate and teach. But that summer between graduating with my BS and entering the Masters program, while working for a locally owned camera retailer, I realized I liked earning money, so I let ASU know I would not be returning - at least not soon.
Three years later, still working in retail, I decided I liked sales and marketing. This was about the time of the Baby Bell break-ups and when I tried to get hired with the then newly-formed Mountain Bell, and other companies, I found I was being edged out by people with MBAs. So I decided to return to ASU to get one for myself. I was lucky that my parents funded my masters program (as they did my bachelor's) and I was able to work on the MBA full-time and completed the program in about 18 months.
But when I had my MBA, I didn't care for most of the positions for which I was interviewed. I took a job with an insurance company in which I was supposed to be marketing health insurance to small companies. But I ended up selling life insurance to friends and family. Bummer!
Fortunately, a few months later, there were some guys at what was then Sperry Aerospace who had technical undergraduates and MBAs, and they wanted someone to start doing m.r.p. They asked their recruiter to find someone like themselves - someone with a technical undergraduate and an MBA. The recruiter used a book of standardized resumes published by ASU's MBA program, and I got an unsolicited call to interview. A few weeks later, in February of 1981, I started with Sperry.
At Sperry, (where I met the wonderful woman I would marry three years later) I moved up in the organization, and found myself in planning supervision. I had discovered in myself a great interest in the use of computers and business software to assist business analysis, and eventually moved into a project management leadership position helping to install a new purchasing system. This was about the time Sperry merged with Burroughs to form Unisys, and they sold our aerospace business to Minneapolis-based Honeywell.
In 1988 I got a great chance to be a consultant with Deloitte, Haskins, and Sells, which quickly merged with Touche-Ross to become Deloitte and Touche which eventually became simply Deloitte. Deloitte was one of the former "Big Eight" (now "Big Four") CPA firms which also provided consulting services to its customers. For the nearly two years I worked for Deloitte, I got to do operations and materials consulting for companies as large as 50,000 employees and as small as 30. It was a great way to get a lot of diversified experience in a short time.
In 1990, I was hired back to Honeywell by a man I admired a great deal. He asked me to come back to manage the materials and operations portion of a tiny start-up operation designing and building militarized WORM-CD devices for AV-8 and F-18 aircraft.
When that start-up ended, I stayed with Honeywell until 2006. Among the many things I did in those last 13 years were: managing MRP/ERP system selection and design; assisting in operations management; procurement management; managing quality systems; working the merger/acquisition of Honeywell by Allied/Signal; and implementing Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing. I became a certified Lean Expert, eventually applying Lean Principles to remove waste from administrative processes. Throughout my career, I was recognized as a person who could design and develop tools which saved lots of people lots of effort, enabling them to be more effective and efficient. As a matter of fact, I was affectionately given the nickname "Jimmy Neutron" (as well as several less flattering epithets!).
I was growing tired, however, of the "corporate America" environment, and found myself complaining about my circumstances. Fortunately, I had options, because there were several factors on my side:
These three factors, along with the encouragement of my loving wife, allowed me to retire in July, 2006 at the age of 521/2.
Now I have time to pursue my dreams. Things that have kept me busy since retirement include:
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