I’ve Been Visiting Some People

On Wednesday Robert Craig and I drove north to see two of my oldest friends and business associates. The first person was Don Hicks in Newport Beach. Don has been a close friend for 30 years and he was on the SAIC board of directors. He is a very sound businessman and technical expert. His wife passed away a couple of weeks ago after a rather long period of cancer treatment. Don is consulting for Northrop Grumman and is active in a small company he formed many years ago with a former scientist from SAIC. The company has been developing a device for soldiers to covertly send a signal to a receiver — on say a Predator drone — indicating where they are. It reminded me of a personal EPIRB. An EPIRB is a device carried in a boat lifejacket so that if someone falls overboard, it sends out a long-range signal for the Coast Guard and other searchers to locate them. The difference in Don’s device is that it only pulses when you tell it to rather than all the time, so it is more suitable for ground troops.

The second person I visited was John Dudzinsky in Santa Monica. John is in the real estate business now, although his formal training was a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Somehow or other he’s developed a unique approach to purchasing real estate and building condos. I have an existing interest in a condo building in Santa Monica that he allowed me to participate in. It’s done very well. Obviously I’m hoping to be involved in the next one. I’m hoping to see more of John because he and I share an interest in boats. He may come down to visit.

Last Saturday night Betty and I attended an event at the home of Giancarlo Borgonovi and his wife Eunice. His home is in Encinitas, about half an hour away. Giancarlo is one of the scientists I brought over from Italy when I worked at General Atomic. He’s a brilliant guy and pretty much retired now. The event was held in honor of their daughter Veronica, who is going to Kenya in Africa to conduct classes that will train the locals to earn their own living through farming, sewing, and physical labor. The discussion sounded to me like she was going to attempt to put together a self-sustaining group of microbusinesses, along the lines of what Grameen Bank has done.

Yesterday at lunch I had the pleasure to run into Parker Lanning, a young gentleman who is deeply involved in Junior Achievement. He interviewed me last year on my impressions of how important Junior Achievement has been for young people, and its role in the future. He also introduced me to the audience at the Junior Achievement gala last November when I was inducted into their San Diego Business Hall of Fame. I’ll look forward to watching Parker grow up and one day set the world on fire.

One of these times I’ll say something political on the blog, as soon as I figure out what to say.