The Rady School of Management sponsored a panel event on April 27, 2007, in which I was invited to participate in their temporary facilities at UCSD. Gene Ray — former SAIC employee and founder of Titan, and a close friend — was the other panelist, and Tom Dillon, who recently retired from SAIC, was the moderator. We met for over two hours. First of all, Dean Sullivan of the Rady School introduced the event, and Ray Smilor, executive director of the Beyster Institute, made the introductions. I introduced Gene Ray after my initial comments. My talk was on the subject of why employee ownership is important to the country at this particular time in its history. I also discussed my tenure at SAIC. Gene Ray talked about his experiences at SAIC and why he had decided to form his own company after leaving SAIC in 1981. At the time, I was pretty disappointed and discouraged that Gene had left, taking with him a number of other people. However, we fought hard and were able to reestablish much of our business. Gene sold his business to L-3 Communications in 2005 and is now working as a private investor here in La Jolla. Gene and I are good friends, and hopefully we’ll work on things together once again.

The meeting was run as follows: Tom would ask Gene and myself alternating questions he had prepared in advance. When these questions were exhausted, he asked the Rady School and other UCSD students to ask their own questions. Most of these students had never heard of employee ownership, so this was an awakening for them, especially the power of the process if they shared the rewards with their employees. We managed to struggle through about an hour and a half of interrogation, and the university bookstore sold quite a large number of copies of our new book, entitled The SAIC Solution. Overall, I was pleased with the event, and with the opportunity to share stories and memories with Gene. I would like to do more such events in the future. Tonight I will be making a presentation to a business class at the University of San Diego on the topic of employee ownership. I enjoy enlightening these business students, as employee ownership is not a topic that they typically study in the standard curriculum.

Dr. Beyster (center) at Rady School of Management panel, with Tom Dillon (left) and Gene Ray (right)

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  • Jim Russell: Some 45 years ago in early 1972, I flew out to La Jolla and met with Dr. Beyster to decide whether to...
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