Mary Ann, Betty, and Jim Beyster

More than 10 years ago, we started this blog to provide Dr. J. Robert Beyster with a place to connect with current and former employees of SAIC—the company he founded in 1969—and to continue to discuss his revolutionary brand of employee ownership. Now, more than two years since his passing, we expect this to be the final J. Robert Beyster blog posting. After May 31, 2017, the blog will be transitioned to an inactive status and comments will be closed.

On behalf of the Beyster family, we would like to thank each and every one of you for your comments and participation over the years. And more than that, we would like to thank you for all the love you have shown for this truly great man: Dr. J. Robert Beyster.

On April 21, the UC San Diego Library held a very special celebration of the opening of the archives of J. Robert Beyster’s papers in the UCSD Library Special Collections. The collection includes more than 200 boxes of documents covering more than 50 years of hundreds of advanced scientific innovations, small- to billion-dollar business experiments, and discontinued to transformational government program development. The earliest items in the collection are laboratory books from Dr. Beyster’s University of Michigan engineering undergraduate courses and his early scientific papers in the nuclear engineering fields.

The event was attended by the Beyster family and their guests, and several speakers talked about the importance of the papers—which will inspire and inform students, scholars, business owners, and others for years to come—and their own personal experiences with Dr. Beyster. These speakers included Brian Schottlaender and Lynda Claassen from the UCSD Library; John Fratamico, CTO, Leidos; Eric Hazard, SVP, SAIC; and daughter, Mary Ann Beyster.

During the course of the ceremonies, Mary Ann Beyster previewed a new documentary film, Enterprising Owners, which will introduce the idea of employee ownership to a younger generation of business people and students.

UCSD Library Special Collections has created a finding aid that can be used to easily search Dr. Beyster’s archives. The finding aid can be accessed via this link:

The photo at the top of this post is of Mary Ann, Betty, and Jim Beyster, and the photos below this post are of two of Dr. Beyster’s close SAIC colleagues and friends, John Fratamico and Eric Hazard (proudly holding a Beyster Book in his hand).

Photos courtesy of Dan LaSusa, UC San Diego

John Fratamico, CTO, Leidos
Eric Hazard, SVP, SAIC

8 Responses to “The Legacy of J. Robert Beyster—a Celebration”

  1. 1 Jonathan Bollers

    Twenty-eight years ago I joined the amazing experiment that was SAIC, and stayed for nearly a quarter-century. Half my life at the time: a longer association than any but family and the closest of friends. What an inspiration and transformative experience, forever pervading how I measure the worth an individual brings to any particular enterprise, and how the full spectrum of one’s contribution ought to be recognized. While that proposition has faded from the companies Dr. Beyster founded, my fervent hope is his fundamental idea — those who propel the ways and means of value creation duely share in the rewards — takes firm hold within other enterprises in the American capital economic system. Thanks to the Beyster family, the FED, and UCSD for preserving his legacy & offering tools to those interested in fomenting Dr. Beysters’ vision into a new generation of entrepreneurial activity. Godspeed, Dr B!

  2. 2 Joe Sears

    Dr. Beyster was certainly one of a kind!
    He appreciated his employees and I am truly thankful
    to have been a part of SAIC while he was still leading the way.

    Thank you sir!


    Joe Sears

  3. 3 Ananthakrishna Sarma

    It was more than 30 years ago (still seems like yesterday!) that I joined a not so well-known company called SAIC. After working there for couple of years, I came to realize that even though its name was not at the tip of the common man’s tongue at that time, it was a collection of stalwarts in science and engineering whose passion for their disciplines knew no bounds. I realized also the reason for their passion – it has been inspired by its founder, Dr. Beyster. I haven’t had the good fortune to know him closely like many, and have met him only couple of times; however, he is still an inspiration to me and many of my colleagues, who look back at our days in “SAIC” with pride. I consider it my greatest fortune to have been part of that organization.

    So, Mary Ann and Betty, even though the blog may be closed, we will be talking about Dr. B., his vision and legacy for many years to come!

  4. 4 Bob Berg

    Like so many other thousands of people, my life was incredibly and positively changed by “Dr. B.” I consider myself very honored and privileged to have been a part of SAIC for 25 years, starting in 1984 and up to my retirement in 2009. I’m especially grateful for having been able to spend the majority of my career at SAIC during the “Golden Years with Dr. B at the helm.

    What an incredibly exciting place to work, to have pride in being an “employee owner,” and to be a part of something that felt so very important and was making a positive difference in the world! What a wonderful and rich experience it was to be able to work alongside so many brilliant and dedicated people . . . and what “FUN” we had in achieving our goals together in a dynamic environment of constant change, led by Dr. B. and the entrepreneurial spirit he fostered within the company with his firm belief that “None of us is as smart as all of us.” It was simply never the same after he was gone.

    The best and closest friends in my life today are people I met and worked with at SAIC, across the country and around the world. I’ll be forever grateful to Dr. Beyster and the profound difference he made in my life and the lives of so many others.

    My very best to you Mary Ann, Betty, and Jim. I’m sorry I was not aware of the event on April 21st at UCSD as it would have been wonderful to share my thanks with you in person.

  5. 5 Steve Purcell

    Well said Mr. Berg!! Dr. Beyster left a big imprint on many of us.

    Best to all and keep on making a positive contribution!

    Steve Purcell

  6. 6 Paul Hobin

    I’ll always remember the awkward, somewhat apologetic explanations for Dr. Beyster’s low pay that ran in the SAIC annual report for many years. It seems that he refused to accept the “going rate” for CEOs…and that was in the 1990s before CEO pay had truly exploded. Dr. Beyster felt the employees deserved a more reasonably proportioned share of the company’s wealth than a traditional multi-million dollar CEO salary would have represented. An extraordinary position, which I have not encountered another example of in the years since. The very essence of integrity, humility, and concern for others.

  7. 7 Edgar Cruz

    In the 14 years I served at SAIC, I learned from people who knew Dr. Beyster personally, that employee ownership meant I needed to own the specific problems we were working to solve. What I experienced was a reward system that was commensurate with my contributions and the result was I tried to do better every day. Every employer seems to struggle in this critical area – how do we keep people motivated? Learn from the Doctor.
    Having that same level of passion and commitment has served me well even after leaving SAIC in 2014. I met Dr. Beyster and his beautiful daughter at the book signing event in McLean and it was great to see the face of people who truly make America the unique and special place it is. Thank you.

  8. 8 Jim Russell

    Some 45 years ago in early 1972, I flew out to La Jolla and met with Dr. Beyster to decide whether to join the little company (SAI) or start my own company. The decision to join was my best ever but little did I know what great and inspiring things lie ahead. We planned on $2million in 1972 and opined that maybe we could reach $10million in five years-instead we made $11 million the first year. That’s how it went. Dr. Beyster led and inspired us all as we performed well for our customers and grew the company steadily. At first it wasn’t clear how employee ownership (EO) should or would evolve. But Dr. Beyster, as always, got some smart people working on it, figured it out along the way and pioneered it’s greatest example in building SAIC. Then he established The Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED) to spread the message about the methods, challenges and advantages of broad-based employee ownership. Subsequently, Mary Ann Beyster led the FED into even greater contributions that impacted many companies and employees. It has been my distinct privilege to be an integral part of all this for the last 45 years. And Ginny Russell and I cherish our friendship with Bob, Betty, Mary Ann, Jim, and Mark for more than 4 decades and we look forward to continuing the friendship for years to come. Changing the blog and the FED merely changes the venue but it doesn’t diminish the appreciation and gratitude we all share for the enormous contributions made to the nation. And I for one stand ready to help going forward.

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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...
  • Edgar Cruz: In the 14 years I served at SAIC, I learned from people who knew Dr. Beyster personally, that employee...
  • Paul Hobin: I’ll always remember the awkward, somewhat apologetic explanations for Dr. Beyster’s low pay...
  • Steve Purcell: Well said Mr. Berg!! Dr. Beyster left a big imprint on many of us. Best to all and keep on making a...
  • Bob Berg: Like so many other thousands of people, my life was incredibly and positively changed by “Dr....