About Me

My photo
Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cape Cod Trails Conference

Life member of the Appalachian Mountain Club,
Founder of the Mohican Chapter of the ADK,
Scaler of 4000 footers all over the Northeast,
Veteran back pack and hike leader,

He retired to Cape Cod in 1993 at age 65.
Immediately looking for local hikes and hiking groups,
He found them both in the Eastham Hiking Club, and
The local chapter of AMC.

They showed him walks all over Cape Cod,
Using unmarked trails unknown to visitors and most residents.
When he asked them how others could follow their routes,
They showed some reluctance to share their treasures.

Sometime in 1995, when the world wide web became popular,
He had the idea to put descriptions of hikes on Cape Cod
On the internet, under the banner of an organization that
He called the Cape Cod Trails Conference.

Finding a pro bono host for the website on C4.net,
He scouted and posted thirty long walks of 8 to 10 miles.
He began bicycling with Nauset Newcomers in 1994,
Posting thirty bicycle routes on a nested page.

He copyrighted the Long Walks to protect them
From appropriation by commercial sites.
But the material on the website he gave to the public,
To download, print, and use in exploring Cape Cod.

He drew sketch maps for the Long Walks,
And later used a Magellan mapping GPS
To plot way points on topographical maps,
Accompanying detailed descriptions of each hike.

When open heart surgery forced him to stop
Leading the long walks, he began tailoring some
Into short walks of four to five miles,
Listing these in a separate nest of web pages.

Age and an irregular heartbeat finally forced him
To discontinue participating in group hikes,
No longer able to check the accuracy of his creations,
He began searching for a person or group to replace him.

Last Tuesday, March 15, 2011, he met with
Three stalwart members of Nauset Newcomers,
Who were each former leaders of the bicycle group.
They agreed to take over the Cape Cod Trails Conference.

One person has become the webmaster;
The others will be major contributors to the bicycle routes.
The hiking portion may be delegated to other persons,
And perhaps result in a separate website.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pace University II

One by one, he developed new courses
And added them to the curriculum.
Production Management was a natural,
Later becoming Operations Management.

Social Responsibilities of Business was,
In effect, a course on business ethics,
But strictures on religious proselyting
Forbade overt moralizing.

Organizational Behavior and Management Science
Required hiring new professors in those specialties.
He taught the former long enough to introduce a more
Proactive course in Leadership, borrowed from West Point.

After a few years of growth, the Business Department
Was divided into separate business disciplines.
The Dean thought Marketing and Management should combine.
With a staff of four at the time, he held out for a separate department.

In time, that became the second largest in the university.
Asked to design the major, he divided it into six tracks
With overlapping courses at the core, and a few specialties.
This became popular, as offering flexibility in application.

But he also held out against pressure to institute
Career specific majors, such as hospitality or sports management,
And in so doing discovered a fundamental rule in
The principles of academic freedom.

As chairman of the management department, he and his colleagues
Had to be recognized as the authority in their discipline.
They could not be directed in what to teach or how to teach.
Changes could only suggested to them, as part of the larger whole.

When he was being considered for tenure, after six years,
The president let it be known that he must be approved,
There being no doctoral degree in his field,
And in recognition of his organizing abilities.

Looking at the familiar pattern of employment of graduates from Pace,
Of what was essentially a commuter school for local residents,
He originated a program for those in family or other small businesses,
With courses in entrepreneurship and small business management.

This was a hard sell to the powers that be, in overcoming
Objections that the courses were not sufficiently academic.
He formed a partnership with the Small Business Administration in
Using seniors in analysis and improvement of existing businesses.

He required both speaking and writing in each course, if feasible.
In advanced courses, he formed project teams of five each,
To examine existing business situations, and critique them,
Or to develop recommendations for wholly new strategies.

He had considered teaching to age 70, or perhaps 68.
But the trustees in their wisdom offered a retirement bonus,
So at 65, he consulted with his banker son, who said,
"Dad, take the first offer, they don't get any better."

They decided to relocate to Cape Cod, where
Their daughter and family had summered for years.
Sold the house in Mahopac and move to Brewster,
And lived happily there together for nine years.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Calico Corners

They worked hard together on their little house
In Mahopac, making up for years of neglect,
Transforming it into a decorator's showcase
And residing there for eighteen years.

He covered the exterior with Adirondack shingles,
Painted the trim and the chimney,
Painted and wallpapered the entire interior,
And converted the basement garage into his office.

She painted furniture and interior trim,
Made window treatments and accessories.
Then she decided to try interior design for
Clients who were recommended to her.

She had worked for two furniture showrooms,
In White Plains, and in Peekskill after the move.
But the compensation was strictly commission
And the business practices bordered the shady side.

On a visit to the Calico Corners fabric store in Mt. Kisco,
She saw a help wanted notice, and inquired about the job.
Hired instantly, she spent a year or so advising and
Selling decorator fabrics and arranging custom work.

Promoted to assistant manager, she made lifelong friends
With the store manager and the window display designer.
The three of them often went out for drinks after work,
And she replaced the store manager who became district boss.

She did the whole job, hiring and training new employees,
Supervising their work and handling difficult customers.
In 1985, she was awarded a silver bowl at a banquet,
Commemorating her first million dollar sales year.

She enjoyed the fun part, going to managers' meetings
At company headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware.
But the stress of retail operation was taking its toll,
So she stepped down from the job at age sixty.

Thereafter, she only worked part time at antique stores.
But the experience of managing at Calico Corners
Identified her as a somebody, not just anybody,
Who had conquered challenges in the business world.

Early on in her stint in management,
She announced to her assembled children at dinner,
"I don't seem to have any problem telling people what to do!",
Whereupon they collapsed in laughter.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pace University I

Coming home from a month in Panama in 1973,
He was faced with the problem of what to do next.
The bad part of solo consulting is that it is next to
Impossible to perform a job and sell another at the same time.

So he took time to consider his options.
He might throw in with McKinsey or Booz Hamilton,
But that would surely mean considerable travel
And perhaps a difficult and/or international relocation.

That kind of consulting is a younger man's game,
And at 45, how much longer would he be willing to do it?
He really needed to stay with something long enough
To collect a decent pension, if such were available.

Asking himself, what do I really like to do,
The answer came in a flash -- teaching.
So he perused the educator tombstones in the Wall Street Journal,
And found something attractive that popped out of the pages.

Pace University in Manhattan and Pleasantville wanted
A full-time professor of management, a new position,
To introduce and teach courses in business management, and
To develop and expand an undergraduate program in management.

He said, "I can do that!", and fired off a letter and resume.
The first question that the dean asked in the subsequent interview
Was, "What do you know about Peter Drucker?"
"Everything."  So they talked for hours over lunch.

Pace already had scheduled a course in Principles of Management,
At both campuses, with the instructor, TBA, and
A required course for all business majors, called
Management Policies and Practices, whatever that was.

Commuting from Scarsdale to both campuses,
He struggled at first with confusing syllabi,
Then gradually shaped the courses to something resembling
The case method of teaching pioneered at Harvard.

His compensation was exactly half what he had last received
In the private sector, but he hoped to continue consulting on the side.
That didn't happen; he was too busy coping with academics.
Later he eked out more income from extra teaching and administration.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


They considered moving to two areas in New York,
Both in Westchester County, north of the city.
The choices narrowed to Scarsdale and Larchmont,
For the reputation of their public schools.

Larchmont would have required commuting on the
New Haven Line, which was then having operating difficulties.
Scarsdale seemed to have the edge on education,
And the commute was a 35 minute express ride to the city.

They first rented a big barn of a house opposite
The Episcopal church, St. James the Less,
And then bought a big Tudor home on the Post Road,
Settling the kids in high school and junior high.

The Scarsdale schools provided such a good preparation
That all three older children who graduated from the high school
Had no difficulty with the demands of the Eastern colleges they attended.
They had survived the challenging Scarsdale environment without damage.

Their parents found lifelong friends at St. James,
Plunging into its activities, and leading a busy social life.
They joined a tennis and swim club in Rye, on Long Island Sound.
She was admitted to a special group of volunteers at the Women's Club.

When the third child was in high school
She went to work for a local department store,
First in the gift shop, then in interior design,
Selling custom-made draperies and slip covers to the gentry.

Altogether, they were in Scarsdale for nine years.
Then, his job circumstances required reducing expenses,
And the property taxes were becoming prohibitive,
So they sold the house and settled far out in the country.

The New York Times

The New York Times

A recruiter brought them to New York.
After years of wandering, they lived there
For twenty-seven years, and might have stayed,
But no one can afford to live in the New York area anymore.

The first seven years were a melange of consulting projects,
Sometimes on a company payroll, sometimes free lancing.
All were characterized by objective analysis,
Leading to recommendations for change or improvement.

At first, he was employed by The New York Times,
With the title of Director of Management Services.
No one knew what that was, and neither did he,
But he proceeded to study the business dispassionately.

Years later he found out that his employer,
A Harvard MBA and VP of operations,
Was determined to bring The Times into the
Twentieth Century in business practices.

So he hired an innocent rube from Chicago,
Who had no understanding of the feudal fiefdoms
These giants of world journalism headed,
Nor their resentment of outside interference.

He had a small staff of industrial engineers,
Concentrating on making minor operating efficiencies,
And a data processing unit engaged in the most basic
Of punched card accounting applications.

He discovered the new idea of strategic planning,
And used its concepts to participate in task forces
Engaged in expanding the paper in separate sections,
And in planning the rollout to national distribution.

The high point of his tenure came when he gave
A slide presentation on long range planning to
An assemblage of all the brass in the company,
Receiving an ovation from the floor and a handshake
  from the publisher.

Three months later, he was fired.
"Things are just not working out!" he was told
By his boss, who himself was forced out
Two years later, for attempting a management coup.

It was an interesting experience.
Too much has been written about The New York Times
To attempt to explain how it drifted from a paper of record
To a radical political stance and a troubled organization.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Arthur Young and Winnetka

At the time, one of the big accounting and auditing firms,
Arthur Young and Company in Chicago, was looking to
Beef up their consulting services to audit clients,
And were substantially behind their competitors in doing so.

One of their offerings was called Clerical Cost Controls,
Which had an industrial engineering flavor,
Hence their recruitment via newspapers ads
And subsequent interviews in Cincinnati and Chicago.

Moving to the Chicago area had its attractions.
His father had died in late 1960,
And his mother was staying with them temporarily,
To relocate also near Chicago, her origin.

Fortunately, he never did get involved in clerical efficiency,
But instead was able to provide advice and guidance
To small manufacturers in a variety of industrial systems, such as
Inventory management, production control, and product costing.

Living in Winnetka was a joy.
The progressive schools provided an excellent education.
They joined fashionable Christ Episcopal Church, where he
Became a lay minister and conducted the church school services.

She became a close friend with the lady next door,
The two families were intertwined thereafter.
She had the car all to herself, did volunteer work
For the church and the junior Woman's Club.

When she was nearing thirty-five, and would have to
Fly up to the senior Winnetka Woman's Club,
She, like several of her friends in the same situation,
Produced their fourth child, another daughter.

But his travels throughout the Midwest proved to be a burden,
Taking him away from home during illness and stressful periods.
The old house that they bought, after renting for a few years,
Needed work that they could not afford and he could not do himself.

Meanwhile, the Arthur Young audit partners were becoming nervous
About the scope of consulting engagements the group was tackling.
They were afraid that the difficulties of implementing recommendations
Of their consultants, would jeopardize the bread and butter of the firm.

Some of the large accounting firms created separate consulting entities.
Arthur Young and Company chose to restrict the nature of
The work that their consultants were pursuing, thus causing
A wholesale departure of their ambitious and capable personnel.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

General Electric and Xavier University

General Electric offered an intriguing situation
In something called Operations Analysis at
A semi-secret project located in Evendale, Ohio,
Labeled Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion.

Exactly how this came to his attention is
Lost in the mists of memory, but was
Most likely a call from a recruiter trolling
The engineering post-graduates at N.Y.U.

The work itself was not well-described, but
Seemed to involve designing the management structure,
With some emphasis on the interaction of groups,
And the systems and procedures whereby they did so.

To this day, it is difficult to measure what contribution
His department made to the functioning of the project.
He concentrated on charting the flow of information
In order to expedite accomplishment of given tasks.

Also, at that time, General Electric required all managers
And individual contributors to take a course in house on
Professional Management, written by a N.Y.U. professor,
One Peter F. Drucker, who was beginning to become renowned.

Meanwhile, he needed two more courses to complete
His degree requirements for Master of Industrial Engineering.
Xavier University in Cincinnati offered a budding M.B.A. program
With two courses that N.Y.U. approved.

Both were taught by members of his G.E. department.
Both came in handy in later experiences.
Upon completion, he applied to teach a course or two
In the M.B.A. program in the evening.

Promptly hired, he tackled a course which
He would later call, Principles of Management,
And another, Strategic Planning, thereby acquiring a
Resume entry that would inform his later career.

Teaching bought them a combination washer-dryer
For their new ranch home in a development north of Cincinnati.
It was an idyllic time in an idyllic place for a family
With three young children in elementary school.

They found a delightful Episcopal church in nearby Glendale.
They swam all summer in the pool run by the homeowners.
And went to drive-ins for meals and movies.
One summer, they drove to Colorado to visit and sight see.

But the project failed a Department of Defense review,
And was therefore scheduled for termination.
His fellows in the department all scattered to find other jobs,
Characterized by a working acquaintance with the tools of management.

He made a half-hearted effort to find employment in the area,
But nothing seriously interesting presented itself,
So he cast his net in wider circles, and identified an interest
In management consulting for an industrial management clientele.