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Alumni Hall of Fame: Previous Years
- Bill Baker
- Emery Bator
- Fran Bohley
- Charles Cook
- Bonnar Cox
- George Duvall
- Kenneth Eldredge
- Douglas Engelbart
- William Evans
- Dennis Finnigan
- Gustave Freeman
- Weldon Gibson
- Jane Goelet
- Bruce Graham
- Chuck Hilly
- Jesse Hobson
- Fred Kamphoefner
- Ray Leadabrand
- Albert Macovski
- Frank Mayo
- Joseph McPherson
- Arnold Mitchell
- Chozo Mitoma
- Tetsu Morita
- Jean Nelson
- Gordon Newell
- Nils Nilsson
- William Platt
- Thomas Poulter
- Ed Robison
- Charles Rosen
- Robert Shreve
- William Skinner
- Felix Smith
- Robert Smith
- Mimi Stearns
- Lawrence Swift
- Robert Vaile
- John Wagner
Bill Baker came to SRI from Southern Research Institute in 1956 with the mandate to help SRI develop a program in cancer chemotherapy. The timing was fortuitous because the National Institutes of Health through the National Cancer Institute (NCI) had just announced a major national effort to cure cancer. Bill put together a large research proposal involving 16 laboratory chemists plus a large support staff that was funded by the NCI. This project was SRI's start of a long-running research effort in cancer that continues in various forms to this day.
The cancer contract itself lasted for 25 years, first under the guidance of Baker for 5 years, then under Leon Goodman, Dave Henry, and Ed Acton for an additional 20 years. During Bill’s tenure, over 100 publications in the field of cancer chemotherapy appeared in refereed journals. These papers, plus innumerable presentations at symposia, put SRI on the map in the field of cancer research, and it enjoys a fine reputation in this area to this day.
Bill had extraordinary organizational abilities. He served on many government panels, often serving as chairman and frequently giving concluding summaries of the presentations and discussions. He also served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and the Journal of Heterocyclic Chemistry.
His legacy to SRI, in addition to giving SRI a world-wide scientific reputation, is still evident in the present staff and projects. Key patents in cancer therapy are currently being developed and compounds are under clinical trials. Active programs in antiviral research and carcinogenesis are still going. It is safe to say that the path followed by Life Sciences would be very different if Bill Baker had not been an early employee.
A native of Roslyn, Washington, Emery Bator received his B.A. in accounting and statistics from the State College of Washington in 1938. During the Second World War, he served as resident auditor with the U.S. Maritime Commission in Oakland, and from 1945 until joining SRI, he was auditor for the U.S. Controller General in San Francisco.
Emery Bator joined SRI in 1947 as one of the Institute's earliest employees (I.D. No. 13), soon after Dr. Weldon B. Gibson arrived. In fact Hoot Gibson hired him to set up the accounting system for SRI. He did an excellent job and ran a tight, very successful financial program for the Institute until his retirement 28 years later as Treasurer of SRI.
Emery provided not only a friendly leadership atmosphere, but an aura of stability to the SRI management system, which at times was not only needed but was critically important to the average employee. He was an efficient, innovative cash flow manager, who always found a way to smooth out the "exciting periods" when cash was really needed. Emery was very knowledgeable about contractual and financial maneuvering of both commercial and government clients and was able to resolve problems to the satisfaction of SRI as well as its clients.
Emery Bator was just what SRI needed during its startup time as well as in the following years of rapid growth.
Frances Bohley carried SRI's name, its logo, its programs, and its reputation to many parts of the world, opening the door for SRI professionals in their pursuit of multi-client and multi-country contracts in many fields of science, engineering, and business consulting. Fran and her associates were prime movers in expanding relationships with companies and executives in 50 or more countries.
Frances Bohley was an employee of SRI for about 26 years, beginning in 1954. She was Director of the SRI International Secretariat from July 1957 onward. The Secretariat, now a part of SRI's Executive Programs, was responsible for maintaining relationships with SRI's International Associates world wide.
During this entire time, very few people at SRI's headquarters knew Fran because she traveled so frequently abroad. Occasionally, she accompanied Dr. Gibson, but more often she traveled with members of her Secretariat staff. Her mission was to assist in arranging SRI-sponsored International Business Conferences in the major cities of Europe, Russia, South America, Japan, and throughout the Pacific Basin.
Fran played a key role in inaugurating the SRI International Industrial Conferences, which are still held every four years in San Francisco. The first was cosponsored by Time-Life with the personal support of Henry Luce, publisher. Since then, they have been co-sponsored by The Conference Board.
In arranging these conferences, Dr. Gibson traveled from country to country, meeting with senior business executives and government officials to negotiate conference objectives and principal themes. Fran generally followed later, meeting with the same executives and officials to reach agreement on specific topics and appropriate speakers—some local, some from other countries, and many from SRI. She also participated in the very sensitive task of preparing Invitation Lists, because all SRI Conferences were by invitation only, and all were routinely oversubscribed.
Fran was always meticulously prepared for meeting and negotiations, and because of her flawless demeanor and political sense, she quickly gained the respect of officials and executives at all levels. Henry Luce referred to her as "SRI's Treasure," and SRI Board Chairmen often described her as a "jewel" with global ties.
Charlie, or "CJ" as he later became known, was a strong and far-sighted builder at SRI. He started in 1954 as a physicist in the Chemical Physics Department under Clint Kelley, who made him Manager of the Molecular Physics Group in 1956. He first built an electron scattering apparatus to examine properties of sodium azide, a highly unstable explosive, for the Army. He was responsible for several important hirings as new work was acquired, and in 1962 became head of the Molecular Physics Department. Following a year spent in the famous Applied Mathematics Department at Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, he invited three well known theorists from England and Northern Ireland to spend sabbaticals at SRI. These visits and the attendant lectures on atomic and molecular theory were very beneficial to the development and growth of the young Molecular Physics Department, and the action was typical of Cook's long-range outlook.
He was appointed Executive Director of Chemical, Theoretical, and Applied Physics in 1965 and of Physics and Chemical Physics in 1967. He became Executive Director of Plans and Programs, Physical and Life Sciences Division, in 1968 and of the Physical Sciences Division in 1969. He was the first to lead this division to a profitable operation. He became Vice President of the Office of Research Operations in 1976 and Senior Vice President, Office of the President, in 1981.
As he rose in responsibilities at SRI, his interests expanded from atomic and molecular physics to applications work, which included one of the first efforts to develop a magnetically levitated, very high speed, rail transit system and the use of automation in manufacturing.
Among his primary legacies to SRI is the Molecular Physics Laboratory, which ultimately gained international renown and has retained that stature today. He also turned Physical Sciences into a robust and healthy division for the first time.
Bart Cox started his education at San Jose State and finished at Stanford in communications engineering. Between the two was a small interruption—World War II—when Bart served as a glider crew member in the US Army in Europe. He was one of the engineers to join SRI in early 1951 and was assigned to the ERMA project shortly thereafter. ERMA was the conceptual design and implementation of a new computer system for the Bank of America. Bart's job was designing hardware systems.
When Bart Cox took on the job of Division Director for Information Sciences and Engineering (ISE), there were 7 laboratories of about 40 people each. Bart saw his job as one of nurturing his lab directors so as to make them successful. It was under Bart Cox's supervision that Doug Engelbart established the Augmentation Research Center, leading to a greatly increased reputation for SRI and its work. It was under Bart Cox's supervision that Charlie Rosen established the Applied Physics Lab which, through its pioneering work on neural networks by Ted Brain and, later, Nils Nilsson, evolved into the very highly regarded Artificial Intelligence Center.
Many labs grew and flourished under Bart's guidance and leadership. The bioengineering activity was launched around professionals like Hewitt Crane, James Bliss, and Phil Green. Kamphoefner's Control Systems Lab grew and thrived under Cox's direction. Likewise Jack Goldberg's Computer Science Lab. SRI today still shows the ongoing success of the groups that grew as a result of the seeds planted by Bart Cox.
In the 1980s Bart was asked to take SRI-wide responsibility for the technology management aspects of the Patents and Licensing operations. Here he worked with scientists and engineers to strengthen SRI's patent activities. He negotiated many technology and patent licenses with client companies. Recently SRI received a judgment for $37 million based on a complicated patent licensing case that Cox negotiated.
Bart Cox was a gentle and encouraging leader. He was inspiring to all who had the privilege of working with him during his long stay at SRI.
George Duvall received his PhD in physics from MIT in 1948, and went to work for General Electric in Richland, Washington. Tom Poulter hired George Duvall in 1953 on the recommendation of Dan McLachlan. Duvall immediately began to build the theoretical capability of the small group that was to become Poulter Laboratory. Over the years, he attracted several highly competent people: Bruno Zwolinski, Bill Drummond, Don Curran, Don Doran, Gordon Anderson, John Erkman, George Muller, and many others.
Duvall guided the staff in planning and interpreting experiments and in developing theoretical understanding of the phenomena. The theoretical underpinning of the nascent lab’s experimental work was crucial to its progress and remains a hallmark of its work today.
Duvall established the practice of writing internal reports—short informal articles on theoretical topics—as a means of communicating theoretical results throughout the group. He published regularly and encouraged and helped others to publish.
Under Duvall’s leadership, Poulter Lab became known internationally in theoretical and experimental shock physics circles.
Duvall was appointed Scientific Director of Poulter Lab in 1957, and was named Director in 1962. In 1965 Duvall moved to Washington State, where he established a Shock Physics Department that continues today under Yogi Gupta, another alumnus from Poulter Lab.
Duvall built the foundation for Poulter Lab’s theoretical activity that continues today. He established the strong international reputation of Poulter Lab that has been maintained for more than four decades.
Following his doctorate in physics from Cambridge, Dr. Eldredge was recruited to join SRI by Tom Morrin, the first Director of Engineering, to head up a new Instrumentation and Control Group. When he joined SRI in 1953, he was an immediate influence on our early direction in two major ways. First, Ken’s unusually broad background in industrial instrumentation was the catalyst for an explosive buildup of projects and staff that became the base for programs that still exist today at SRI. All the programs that have spun off from his lab, including Bioengineering, Graphic Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, and the Control Systems Lab, made a strong contribution to SRI's technical reputation and financial well being.
Second, Ken’s personal technical creativity and ingenuity led to the concept of Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR), as opposed to a bar code, for tagging and automatically sorting bank checks—a system still used today by the banking industry. The novelty of the idea led the US Patent Office to honor him with US Patent Number 3,000,000.
His group was soon working in sensors, lubrication, friction, and automatic inspection, but it was the fortuitous timing of an assignment to develop a machine for automatically sorting encoded bank checks (associated with the Bank of America ERMA project) that permitted explosive staff growth and the opportunity to show what could be done in the fields of high speed mechanical handling, character recognition, control circuitry, and ink chemistry
By 1956, the original staff of two had become the Control Systems Laboratory, with Electronics, Mechanical Development, and Basic Sciences Groups. The Basic Sciences Group became the Applied Physics Lab under Charlie Rosen, which eventually led to the Artificial Intelligence Center. The other component grew to become the Electron Devices Lab under Ivor Brodie. Ken Eldredge's significant contributions to SRI are still apparent today.
Doug Engelbart arrived at SRI in 1959 and spent 18 years building his vision of an interconnected community of knowledge workers. He built up SRI's Augmentation Research Center under difficult circumstances. He had the task to sell not only the sources of funding within the US Government agencies, but also to convince SRI management to make the investment required. He did this during the difficult times of the late 1960s when SRI was separating from Stanford University. Student uprisings, arguments about classified work on campus, and other major distractions were an everyday presence. Through all this, Doug maintained focus on his vision.
Doug's task was to build a new type of organization. He drew on others about him—Charlie Rosen, for instance, who steered him through some of the Washington funding obstacles and helped him in many ways. Doug operated his center as a family, with a very high degree of camaraderie. He recruited brilliant coworkers, many of whom have made a substantial name for themselves either at SRI or later at organizations like Xerox, Hewlett-Packard, and Apple Computer. His obvious drive and dedication set the highest example for his colleagues and support staff.
What he left behind at SRI is immense. First, any ongoing program in information systems draws on Doug's concepts and visions of an interactive community sharing knowledge. Second, anyone at SRI—or in the world—who picks up a mouse, sends e-mail, shares files with his neighbor, or enjoys the productive benefits of a personal computer is indebted to Doug Engelbart. His contributions to today's working society include the basic idea of hypertext, the "desktop" metaphor, multiple windows, file-sharing collaboration, distributed servers, and many other concepts that we take for granted today. The very idea of working with a computer interactively began in Doug Engelbart's group.
It is ironic that he is best known among lay people as the inventor of the mouse. In his 18 years at SRI, he proved that he was the consummate visionary of what we know today as the community of information workers. As Dr. David Liddell, Director of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center once said, "What Doug described in the '50s and '60s, we are implementing in the '80s."
Bill Evans was among the first engineers to join SRI in 1949. As a television engineer with hands-on broadcast experience, he formed a new TV lab and rapidly built up a first-class television systems laboratory, attracting experienced engineers from several organizations. In the early 1950s, Bill investigated a new concept for a color picture tube based on a patent RCA had acquired, and the TV Lab, working with Phil Rice's Tube Lab, demonstrated versions of this new color tube and system, forerunner of the shadow-mask tube. SRI's TV Lab also developed the necessary electronics to allow Ampex's new videotape recorder to handle the more demanding requirements of color signals.
With dozens of patents, Bill was noted for his creativity and inventiveness. In the mid-1950s, his lab developed a very high-speed printing technique, the Videograph system. Using an electrostatic approach, they demonstrated the fastest printing system known at that time—capable of printing up to 20,000 characters per second. A joint program with A.B. Dick was set up to design and build a label printer for Time-Life, Inc. Printers were built that could print the labels for Life magazine, with a circulation of 10 million—printing 250,000 mailing labels per hour to get the job done in one week. These printers became the standard in the industry and provided all the high-circulation magazines with labels for many years.
Bill Evans shared the Vladimir Zworykin Television Prize with Philip Rice for their contributions to the advancement of television. In one of the most famous of SRI projects, Evans led the effort sponsored by Technicolor, Inc., to automate the film processing equipment to develop Technicolor film. The Negative Timer designed and delivered to Technicolor won the Technical Achievement Award—the Oscar—in 1959.
Bill's TV Lab continued to thrive, eventually becoming the Video Systems Lab, which took on broader and more diverse projects in television recording systems and satellite applications. Several laboratories and programs active today can trace their roots back to Bill Evans's TV Lab of the 1950s. Bill always was a strong leader and mentor to his staff. Those who had the privilege of working for him will always remember his friendly leadership and encouragement.
Dennis Finnigan was one of the key persons in building SRI’s reputation as an early leader in applications of operations research (OR) to industrial and business problems. One of several Stanford Business School graduates who formed its core, he was one of the more versatile leaders in SRI’s Economics and Management Group over four decades.
In the late 1950s, Dennis led OR projects on logistics problems for defense agencies. In the 1960s, he was Director of the Management Sciences Division during its rapid growth period, including information management, industrial operations research, systems analysis, new education technology, and the Naval Warfare Research Center.
Taking his expertise overseas, Dennis pioneered industrial OR work in Europe and became a favorite consultant to the Wallenberg industrial empire of Sweden. In the 1970s, under Dennis’ leadership, the SRI Scandinavia office in Stockholm became a center for modernization of European industry. Major restructuring projects were carried out for SAS airlines, Saab-Scania, and the Johnson group. For these contributions, Dennis was awarded the highest honor the King of Sweden gives to a non-Swedish citizen.
Dennis finished his career at SRI as Vice President in charge of international operations and marketing. He left behind a legacy of top-quality, innovative applications of operations research to solving both government and business problems.
Gustave Freeman, MD, pursued the highest quality of medical research to understand the pathogenesis of human cancer and respiratory diseases. As an extension of that legacy, he maintained a high level of expertise in his Department of Medical Sciences. In a highly competitive environment, he won grants from the National Public Health Service and the Environmental Protection Agency for a quarter of a century to support his research with his team at SRI.
He collaborated with other scientists in both the Life and Physical Sciences Divisions. With expertise in virology, Dr. Freeman advised SRI chemists that a compound they had synthesized as a potential anticancer agent for the National Cancer Institute should be evaluated for antiviral activity. It did prove to be active and was developed into the first successful antiherpes drug for human use. With physical chemists at SRI, he discovered the endogenous presence of nitric oxide (NO) and hemoglobin complex by electron spin-resonance. Simultaneously, he led his colleagues to complete a series of animal studies that modeled the pathogenesis of human respiratory diseases (emphysema and chronic obstructive lung disease). His studies proved that these diseases were caused in humans by common contaminants of air derived from industrial and automobile exhausts and tobacco smoke. The results were fundamental to national and international efforts in setting allowable limits of NOx and ozone contents in industrial exhausts and indoor air-quality standards.
In 1982, Dr. Freeman, as Acting Director, organized a competitive new group of scientists and established the Biotechnology Department, later the Biomedical Research Laboratory. Current activities in life sciences at SRI benefit from the Freeman legacy in terms of the academic excellence that continues to be characteristic of SRI's research in drug development, preclinical evaluation, or delivery for human cancer chemotherapy. With that legacy, SRI can continue to compete successfully with both the academic and industrial worlds while meeting the formal requirements of national regulatory agencies.
Hoot Gibson is widely known for his international leadership for the benefit of SRI and world economic and social development. In many countries, the names of “Hoot” Gibson and SRI became virtually synonymous.
He was hired by the fledgling Stanford Research Institute in 1946 as the third staff member and later founded the Economics Research Division—the seed of the Economics and Management (Business) Group, now SRI Consulting. He established the concept of techno-economic research at SRI, a blending of technical and economic research methods to solve real-world problems. He also established the International Associates Program, which brought in direct contributions for Institute facilities and became the core of SRI’s international research and consulting activities. He led SRI’s first international multidisciplinary project, in Italy.
He was a co-founder of the quadrennial International Industrial Conferences, the Pacific Basin Economic Council, and the Japan-Western US Association. He has been instrumental in founding techno-economic research institutes in several developing countries.
Within SRI, he sponsored the creation of novel research programs, established field offices, and mentored many younger staff members. He is author of two books on SRI’s early development: The Founding Years and The Take-Off Days. A star football player in college, he was named to the Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame. Before joining SRI, he received his MBA from Stanford, worked for a business machines company, and became a colonel in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
He has served as Executive Vice President of SRI, as a member of the Board of Directors, and Senior Advisor. He now is Senior Director Emeritus of SRI International.
A major legacy of Hoot's to SRI is the International Building. Hoot gathered donations of construction costs and gifts of furniture and art from friends and clients all over the world. This beautiful building would not exist without his efforts.
If you turn to page 147 of Hoot Gibson's book, SRI: The Founding Years, you will find a picture of Jane Goelet when she held the title of Office Manager in 1948. Jane came to SRI from the Armour Research Foundation in Chicago, as did Jesse Hobson, Tom Poulter, and other of her contemporaries.
Her first assignment was as a research assistant on an SRI project in Southern California. Then she moved to Menlo Park, where she "ran the office" and helped to recruit research assistants, secretaries, clerks, technicians, and other support personnel. She soon became their counselor and sometimes, when required, she arbitrated on their behalf. In short, she became SRI's first personnel management advisor.
When John Wagner joined SRI in 1954 as its chief human resources officer, Jane became the first member of his staff. She remained a member of SRI's personnel department all her remaining years, until she retired after 33 years of service.
Most of her service was as a recruiter, but in her later years she was transferred to the compensation staff where she was able to use her excellent sense of labor market conditions, especially during the period of nationwide double-digit inflation of both prices and labor rates.
Jane's legacy was the high quality of literally hundreds of support staff members who were hired by SRI only after they passed Jane's tough interviewing and testing process and after Jane appraised their skills as well as their character and integrity.
Behind her quiet demeanor, Jane had a keen sense for the genuine.
Bruce Graham came to SRI from Eastman Kodak in 1952 as a senior organic chemist. He quickly became head of the organic chemistry section and was the point man between SRI and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) when NCI was looking for chemistry laboratories to synthesize new anticancer agents. Bruce brought in Bill Baker from Southern Research Institute, and the die was cast for SRI in the field of cancer chemotherapy.
Bruce was then asked by E. Finley Carter, the SRI Executive Director at the time, to suggest a new area for SRI to develop. Bruce suggested life sciences and the Life Sciences Division was born. Bruce brought in many key people in addition to Baker to establish a good solid pharmaceutical research base—Gerald Lepage in biochemical oncology, Gus Freeman in medical science, Chozo Mitoma in biomedical research, and Mas Tanabe in pharmaceutical chemistry. These scientists made significant contributions to build the reputation of SRI as a world class pharmaceutical operation. At one point, SRI had more patents in pharmaceutical drug development than any other nonpharmaceutical company in the world.
The Life Sciences Division has seen many permutations and combinations since Bruce set it up in 1958. This is the mark of a vibrant organization that is able to adjust with the changing times and keep at the forefront of its area of expertise. It has always been high profile with respect to the world scientific community. Its continued existence at SRI is a tribute to the thoughts and planning by Bruce Graham in establishing it 40 years ago. It is worth noting that three of the key people that Bruce brought to the institute are included on the first list of the SRI Hall of Fame: Bill Baker, Gus Freeman, and Chozo Mitoma.
A native of Boston, Chuck Hilly received his LL.B. in 1941 from Northeastern University Law School. After being admitted to the bar, he practiced with his father, Charles F. Hilly, Sr., until 1942 when he entered flight training with the U.S. Navy. Later he helped organize the Boston branch of the Office of Naval Research by establishing basic contract policies and setting up research contracts with universities and other research organizations. He brought that expertise with him, first to Raytheon, where he was special assistant to the Administrative Vice President, and then to SRI in 1950.
For many years, Chuck was responsible for the Institute's contractual relationships with its many clients, both domestic and international. In the 1950s, as Contract Administrator, he handled negotiation and administrative details of government and commercial contracts and general SRI administration.
Chuck was able to work out feasible solutions to contracting problems with diverse organizations such as the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the Atomic Energy Commission as well as with international organizations such as the Italian government, the United Nations, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. At that time, very few of these groups had been involved to any extent with private contractors such as SRI.
Three specific contributions were his success in convincing contracting groups to award fixed fees on contracts with nonprofit contractors, his success in gaining approval by the U.S. Treasury to allow tax exemption for scientific research organizations such as SRI, and his advancement of the interests of SRI when serving as a member of contract research committees concerned with overhead recovery rates. His responsibilities grew in scope and complexity and, in 1967, he was appointed Assistance Vice President, Finance, for Contract Relations, and in the 1970s, he became Vice President of Contracts and Financial Services.
Chuck was crucially important to SRI's growth for his work in creating the structure, policies, and procedures that made up SRI's contracting procedures. Great credit is due to Chuck Hilly for developing a sound and successful contracting system for SRI.
Jesse Hobson was the second Director (now called President) of Stanford Research Institute. Dr. Hobson, an electrical engineer, came to SRI early in 1948, from a similar position at the Armour Research Foundation in Chicago, a well known contract research organization similar to what SRI was to become.
Hobson remained in his new SRI position until the end of 1955, when he resigned to enter private industry as a research consultant. By the time Hobson left SRI, after less than 8 years, the staff had increased from 40 to more than 1,000 and annual revenues had moved from $230,000 to beyond $10 million.
When Hobson arrived, SRI was indeed a small and slow-moving institute. Its annual report for 1947 had carried the theme that the Institute has been founded, but was not yet established. For lack of resources and other reasons, there was no development program for the future. Projects were sought first and professional staff later.
Hobson was distressed about the Institute's size, growth rate, inadequate equipment, space, practically no public relations program, and a bare minimum of service facilities and office space. However, he was highly enthusiastic about SRI's purpose, location, and possibilities for the future.
With help from his new colleagues, research and administrative, Hobson lost no time in developing an aggressive program. He laid it out and led the way with a new theme: "Simultaneous Action on Five Fronts."
The five fronts included almost all aspects of SRI's meager operations: a search for added staff first and projects second, instead of the reverse. He asked for some $325,000 to start his proposed development plan. He got only about a third of the amount needed to get a plan under way, but SRI was soon on its way, even with loans, contributions, and deficit financing.
For his accomplishments in getting SRI off the ground, great credit is due.
During World War II, Dr. Kamphoefner spent his time at Harvard in Dr. Fred Terman's Radio Research Lab. When Dr. Terman came to Stanford in the late 1940s, Kamphoefner came with him. Fred became the manager of the Industrial Electronics Lab in 1953. All the high-speed check handling systems for the ERMA project (Bank of America) were designed and developed by Kamphoefner's group. As a part of the project, several check-reading systems were analyzed using optics and magnetics. The winning approach used a stylized character, printed with a magnetic ink. This result, referred to as the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) approach, was a huge success, allowing very high-speed reading of bank checks with a high degree of accuracy. This technology, developed over 30 years ago, is still used today to process hundreds of millions of bank checks world wide.
While managing his lab of about 50 professionals, Fred continued to promote new business in fields such as automated inspection, nonimpact printing, and character recognition. He established new programs with Recognition Equipment Corporation (handling systems for OCR), Sun Chemical Corporation (inks and toners and, later, new printing systems), and Eli Lilly Corporation (inspection of gelatin capsules). In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Dr. Kamphoefner recruited a group of very bright young control specialists in modern control theory. This group developed a fine reputation in control theory applied to transportation. Several of this group spun off to form Systems Control, Inc., which became very successful.
In 1984, Fred was named Associate Director of the Advanced Development Division, where working with Dr. Frank Greenman, he was responsible for the general management of seven Laboratories.
Fred left a great legacy to SRI. Not only in the organizational sense—six or seven labs are still active that he help to build—but in the personal and professional sense. Fred was a gentle and encouraging leader who helped his staff to excel.
Ray Leadabrand worked at SRI for most of his career. He began as an engineer and rapidly worked his way up through project leader, program leader, and lab director to Senior Vice President of the Engineering Research Group. He contributed in several ways to the US ABM programs, the Arrecibo radio telescope project, early radar investigations of the moon's surface, nuclear explosion phenomena, and advanced US communications technology.
Ray was always aware of the critical role that quality engineering work plays in a research program. He was ever on the lookout for ways to combine talent from various parts of Engineering to synthesize a novel and powerful combination to undertake difficult research problems. He actively sought out strong additions to the staff, encouraged present staff in education and seed IR&D projects, fought for proper recognition of his troops, and arranged for important consultants to augment our staff. He was particularly encouraging to young, bright staff members and offered them opportunities to develop new capabilities and to gain early recognition. His concern and respect for his staff earned him respect, friendship, and loyalty from the SRI engineering staff.
He is on a first name basis with many individuals high in the government, in universities, and in industry through his associations with SRI programs and through his extensive work on government advisory committees, which continues to this day. Ray was able to perceive the critical problems the government faces, often before the government did and to position SRI for important positions in high level national programs. Many of these programs continue today.
Under Ray's leadership, the SRI Engineering Research Group expanded significantly in scope and achieved a national reputation. Ray saw the importance of augmenting solid engineering talent with scarce or even unique laboratory facilities. For example, his support and sponsorship of the research vessel Acania for studies of ionospheric phenomena, a sensitive radar cross section compact range, a wave simulator, and ground-based and airborne lidar installations were all important factors in bringing important programs to SRI. Ray left behind an Engineering Research Group with a solid reputation for quality, objective research, a strong, talented staff, and an aggressive approach to challenging national problems.
Al Macovski joined SRI in 1960 as a senior television engineer in Bill Evans's TV Lab, where he led many projects on television technology. His background of ten years at RCA prepared him well for his SRI assignment.
He immediately became recognized as one of the most creative of all of SRI's staff, amassing hundreds of patents. To many people, Al was the most prolific of all of SRI's inventors. Almost all his projects were based on some new and novel idea of his. Today he has about 300 US patents.
The 3M Company asked SRI to investigate the possibility of recording television images on high-resolution photographic film, using an electron-beam technique. Al and his TV Lab coworkers worked with Phil Rice and his lab to develop an optical recording and playback system, avoiding the complexities of an electron-beam approach. They successfully demonstrated the first video disk recording/playback system in the early 1960s.
One of the most clever and creative contributions was Al's idea for recording color images on black-and-white film, which led to his invention of a single-tube color TV camera. Until that time, color television required three separate cameras, one for each of the primary colors. They had to be carefully registered, which increased the cost and complexity. RCA's sponsorship to continue the work led initially to very low cost studio cameras and finally to cheap home camcorder systems. The camcorders we see everywhere today use a single sensing array with color-encoding filters.
During all this prolific activity, Al worked on and received his Ph.D. at Stanford, specializing in real time holographic imaging. He also obtained a license as a patent agent, so that he was better able to file his own patent applications.
Those who had the privilege of working with him will never forget his gentle but firm encouragement and inspiration toward a high level of technical integrity and creativeness. He taught us all by example. By very creative hard work and a strong technical integrity, he was a true inspirational mentor to us all.
Frank Mayo was appointed a scientific fellow at SRI in mid-1956, following an almost 30-year career at the University of Chicago, Du Pont, U.S. Rubber Company, and GE. He was already an internationally recognized organic chemist and one of the pioneers in free radical chemistry, an area of chemistry of great importance for the chemical industry.
Frank wasted little time once at SRI in securing funding, by persuading the chemical industry in the United States, Europe, and Japan of the major benefits of a multisponsored, basic research program on oxidation of organic compounds. In sharing support of basic studies, chemical companies could access the results early and use them in proprietary applications in their own laboratories. Mayo also secured government funds for selected studies of oxidation, and the results were shared with the commercial sponsors, thereby enhancing the value of joining the Oxidation Program. Mayo's Oxidation Program was one of the largest and most successful multi- client programs in the sciences, then or now.
These programs continued for almost 15 years, produced significant scientific advances, and gave SRI great visibility in oxidation research. Mayo's reputation attracted to SRI many well-known or later-to-be well-known chemists, including Sid Benson, Dave Golden, Dale Hendry, Ted Mill, Dave Allara, Dick Hiatt, Dale Van Sickle, and Kurt Egger. From their work, new oxidation arenas evolved, such as smog studies, the environmental fate of chemicals, and oxidation in biological systems.
Frank's gifts were his attention to the scientific details of complex chemistry, a keen understanding how basic research can affect a company's business, and his impressive powers of persuasion with corporate vice presidents and lab directors.
Frank changed direction in the 1970s and 1980s to focus on coal chemistry and fuel oxidation with DOE and Army support and to run for national office in the American Chemical Society, where he did not get very far, probably because he ran on a populist agenda and was sometimes blunt in his assessment of others. Frank died with his boots still on in the fall of 1987 at 79 while attending a scientific meeting in the East.
Joe McPherson established the Innovation Management program at SRI, capping a world-recognized career in research and consulting in applied creativity. In doing so, he established a record for longevity of a “temporary” employee.
Joe was director of human resources development at Dow Chemical Company and editor of Creativity Review magazine when in 1965 he was offered a one-year fellowship at SRI while on sabbatical from Dow. He established a subprogram on creativity in the Theory and Practice of Planning program (TAPP) under Bob Stewart and quickly became a regular speaker in the Executive Seminars in Business Planning. He never returned to Dow.
McPherson’s chart on Idea Killers was translated into many languages and displayed in hundreds of offices around the world.
About 1969, he designed the first Innovation Search—a structured approach to bringing out the latent ideas of employees and friends of a corporation—as a source of new or “renewed” products, expanding markets, and innovations in the internal operations of a company. Innovation Search projects for clients always involved staff members selected from SRI technical laboratories, often resulting in follow-on research opportunities. Searches were conducted for clients in England, the Netherlands, Japan, Italy, and other countries and for government agencies as well as for some SRI internal organizations.
Joe also produced a series of reports on creativity, on innovation management, and on managing social change for the Business Intelligence Program, spreading his expertise among over 400 clients. Variations on the Innovation Search process have proliferated in the consulting industry.
Joe was so open, enthusiastic, and encouraging, you always did for Joe—not just your best work—but the best work you had ever done.
Arnold Mitchell crowned a 37-year career at SRI with the creation of the Values and Life Styles (VALS) program—a pioneering method of applying psychographics to business management and marketing research. VALS grew out of Arnold’s longtime interest in how people’s values influenced the way they lived and made consumer decisions. It was cited by research executives in a poll by Advertising Age magazine as “one of the ten top market research breakthroughs of the 1980s.” VALS continues as a major component of SRI Consulting’s activities.
Arnold came to SRI in 1948 from McGraw-Hill, as an editor of research reports. In 1963, his broader capabilities were recognized when he became research director of the Long Range Planning Service (predecessor of the Business Intelligence Program). There, he specialized in taking the research achievements of SRI staffers and converting sometimes nerdy technical reports into standard business English that could be understood by typical clients. He helped train many young staffers in the art of writing clear, terse business reports, imposing standards of excellence seldom matched in business writing. Especially, he mentored several women staffers who achieved professional recognition in their own right.
All this time, he pursued his own interest in the changing cultural aspects of people. He persuaded SRI management to sponsor the new multiclient program on Values and Life Styles (VALS), which continues to be a leading—and widely copied—guide to product planners and marketers worldwide. Granted one of SRI’s first McBean Fellowships, he used the time to write Nine American Life Styles (McMillan, 1983), which became a business best seller.
Chozo Mitoma’s 40-year span of pioneering research efforts and marketing contributions to the science and art of biochemical pharmacology left an indelible legacy for SRI’s present research and commercial service contracts focused on drug discovery and development within the Pharmaceutical Discovery Division as well as the Biopharmaceutical Development Division of SRI.
Because of Dr. Mitoma’s efforts, the vitally important Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion (ADME) studies are now required by the US Food and Drug Administration and by all other international regulatory agencies that mandate and oversee the official approval of all new prescription drugs. Chozo initiated the groundwork at SRI in the maturation and official acceptance by regulatory agencies of ADME studies or other pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies conducted at SRI. He hired and trained staff in this very important subset of mandatory requirements for final drug and chemical approval by various drug and chemical regulatory agencies. Many of SRI’s present staff active in this field trace their roots to Chozo’s pioneering efforts, influence, and research activities.
Chozo’s established reputation and influence also facilitated marketing efforts and contacts with a host of clients in government circles, such as NIH, EPA, FDA, NCI, and DOD, as well as in the commercial sector of pharmaceutical companies (large and small), the chemical industry, food and agricultural chemical companies, and the growing biotechnology industry.
Chozo laid the base for our past, present, and future client roster in this growing and important business and research sector at SRI, which requires reliability, reproducibility, accuracy, and above all skill and integrity—all the hallmarks of Dr. Mitoma.
When SRI's Antenna Systems Laboratory was divided up, Dr. Tetsu Morita became director of a major portion of the remainder—the Electromagnetic Sciences Laboratory. Tetsu was a superb experimenter and had a remarkable ability to recognize important, evolving technical areas and to get established in them at minimum cost. He also surrounded himself with people who could carry on in this manner, gradually changing as the technology grew.
Tetsu often proved that good experiments could be done with only a modest expenditure for instrumentation. For example, he learned that NASA was planning to build a massive shock tube to study plasma formation around a reentry vehicle. He decided that we could very inexpensively build a smaller version and conduct several years of meaningful experiments before the NASA system became operational. He was right, and our shock tube was used for years as we explored important reentry problems.
When he asked, "Could we get a flame to burn in a vacuum chamber?" we saved funds by making the vacuum chamber from an old mattress sterilizer left over from the days when SRI was an Army hospital. We used the chamber for studying another set of reentry vehicle problems. When NASA speculated whether satellite measurements of the ocean surface might be used to provide wind information for meteorologists, Tetsu arranged for the construction of a wind-tunnel-driven water wave tank in the lab to generate surface waves that could be studied using electromagnetic illumination. This facility, too, was assembled at lost cost, using common construction materials and second-hand blowers.
Tetsu regularly visited clients and potential clients to review ongoing programs and develop new ones. He always took a lab member along on these trips, with the result that all the lab staff became adept at program planning and marketing and developed familiarity with a substantial group of sponsors. The degree to which Tetsu prepared laboratory staff in all aspects of doing research in the area of electromagnetics is shown by the smoothness with which the lab was able to continue to develop when health problems forced Tetsu to retire. In fact, the largest current contract at SRI ($8 million a year) is one started when Tetsu was Lab Director.
Jean Nelson was a versatile pioneer among women researchers, who altered her own career as SRI’s and clients’ needs changed. A graduate of Vassar near the end of World War II, she entered the U. S. Foreign Service, serving among other places in Rumania.
Returning to the United States about 1959, Jean joined SRI’s Naval Warfare Research Center as a historian and specialist on Eastern Europe. Based on her background in the Pacific Northwest, she also participated in SRI studies of economic development prospects for certain US Indian tribes.
When NWRC’s research needs changed, Jean moved over to the Long Range Planning Service (LRPS), as program manager on the effects of social changes on business. She was the first woman at that level in SRI’s Economics and Management group. Her 1966 pioneering study on the state of the art in forecasting social change was a “best seller.”
Over the protest of some senior executives, she became the first woman to present a paper at SRI’s annual LRPS Client Conference and was voted best speaker of that meeting. Two years later, she became research director of LRPS (later the Business Intelligence Program).
Not only was she responsible for research programming and quality control, she cajoled many SRI technical experts into writing business-oriented reports and mentored many younger staff members in the rigors of SRI research and report-writing standards.
Gordon was a very early employee at SRI (ID No. 182), coming here in 1950. He was one of the founders of the Toxicology Department at SRI and developed commercial relationships in toxicology with many companies such as Shell Development, Alcoa, and US Steel. These research relationships continued for many years and the Toxicology Department thrived. When the Life Sciences Division was created in 1958, Toxicology was one of the founding departments and it continued to thrive, long after Gordon left SRI to join the staff of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences.
Gordon was appointed Assistant General Manager of the Life Sciences Division under Bruce Graham. In this position, his input was a contributing factor in the development of the division. He established the Animal Care Department shortly before the National Cancer Institute came to SRI to set up cancer research programs. As a result, SRI was ready to start a large animal screening program that was integrated with the program to synthesize agents and thus create a large, comprehensive cancer program funded originally by NCI. This program continues to this day with wider funding and significantly broader focus.
Gordon was the primary inspiration in moving SRI’s toxicology work away from large-scale, whole animal testing to using sophisticated in vitro models. He brought in young investigators who built SRI’s reputation in the area of rapid detection of chemical carcinogens and mutagens. He identified the trend into government support of the testing of environmental chemicals and vigorously worked to bring this type of business to SRI.
Newell promoted SRI throughout out the world. He established many contacts in Japan. He served on many international committees in the field of toxicology and animal sciences including AAALAC, Society of Toxicology, and the Environmental Mutagen Society, helping to build SRI’s reputation and contracts among his peers.
Gordon’s legacy to SRI was the establishment of a strong toxicology department that can adapt to with trends in science and in funding priorities.
Nils Nilsson joined the recently formed Learning Machines Group of the SRI Applied Physics Lab under Charlie Rosen in August 1961. This group was then engaged in pioneering R&D in the field of perceptrons—the forerunner of present-day parallel-processing neural networks that can be programmed to "learn by example," aimed at simulating biological learning processes. Nils soon established himself as a major contributor and theoretician of the group and shortly became the head of the Learning Machine Group. His first book, Learning Machines, published by John Wiley in 1965, established him as a major authority in this field and served as a first text for graduate students at leading universities.
In 1965, Nils, together with Milt Adams and Charles Rosen, submitted a comprehensive proposal to DARPA, which funded a multiyear program in Artificial Intelligence, leading to the development of a computer-controlled mobile robot, Shakey. This platform served as a test-bed for applied research in Machine Vision, pattern recognition, natural language understanding, problem-solving, planning, navigation, and obstacle avoidance—all major topics in AI. Nils was the project leader of this major program, which attained world-wide notice and acclaim. This work sparked the initiation of similar programs in many leading universities and industrial labs and produced important theoretical and empirical results and computer programs that are still in use today.
Nils's early seminal contributions to learning machine theory, his leadership and technical contributions to the Shakey robot program, and his directorship of the SRI Artificial Intelligence Center were major factors in establishing SRI as an internationally recognized center of research in AI—a reputation that persists to this day.
After many years of outstanding leadership at SRI, Nils was recruited by Stanford University and became Chairman of the Department of Computer Sciences. Nils has just completed a major new book on artificial intelligence and is now Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, at Stanford University. He left behind a vigorous and thriving AI Center at SRI.
Bill Platt was an SRI pioneer in the evolution of operations research, ranging from solving military problems to industrial and social applications worldwide. In the late 1950s, he organized the Management Sciences Division and was instrumental in forming a leadership team that included many of its stars, including Dennis Finnigan, Peter Butterfield, Bob Harker, Rogers Cannell, Al Shapiro, Dick Singleton, Howard Vollmer, and Bill White.
When the Management Sciences Division was well established, in 1961, Platt saw a need for a different approach to SRI’s work in regional economics and human resources, so he formed a new Economic Development Division that combined these fields, both domestic and international. During this period, SRI’s International Development Center was a leading contractor of the US Agency for International Development and the Ford Foundation in India, Cyprus, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Cameroons, the Philippines, and other countries. Platt also supervised Eugene Staley’s team, which published six volumes of studies on small-scale industry development, sponsored by the Ford Foundation.
The Economic Development Division also had successful programs in real estate research and recreation economics. These included research for professional sports leagues and feasibility studies for stadiums and convention centers.
During this same period, Platt organized a team to apply advanced education technologies and methods, developed under military contracts, to civilian education. His innovative approach to the human resources side brought him a contract from the United Nations to design and establish a center for such research. A successful design led Bill to resign from SRI and head up the new center in Paris, where he finished his career.
Tom (Doc) Poulter came to SRI in 1948 from Armour Research Foundation (now ITTRI) in Chicago, along with Jesse Hobson. Hobson came to be the Director (today called the president), and Poulter came to be Associate Director. Poulter’s fame (two Congressional Medals of Honor for polar exploration) added greatly to SRI’s stature.
Poulter immediately got involved with the Physics Department, which led shortly to the establishment of the Explosives and Extreme Pressure Laboratory. In 1953 the Lab had a staff of less than 10; by 1955 it had grown to over 50 and was one of the strongest units of SRI—now named the Poulter Laboratory. Poulter attracted to SRI people who would figure prominently in the future of the unit, among them George Duvall, Don Davenport, Milt Kells, Wes Farrand, and Chuck Bagley.
By 1955 the Calaveras Test Site was well established as one of the best equipped explosives test sites west of the Mississippi. It was staffed mainly by physicists and technicians recruited from Los Alamos.
Around 1958, Poulter brought aboard a propulsion group from Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. The leaders of the group were Pete Nichols and Rafael Muraca. Poulter led the construction of a modern propulsion lab for the new group at Calaveras. He also hired Marion Hill from the Naval Ordnance Laboratory. Eventually the propulsion lab became part of the Chemistry Lab with Marion Hill as its director.
Poulter’s last official position at SRI was General Manager of Physical and Life Sciences. After he retired from administrative duties in 1960, he started a new career in the biological sonar of diving mammals and established the Bio-Sonar Laboratory in Coyote Hills across the bay from Menlo Park. When the lab closed in 1973, he continued to frequent SRI’s labs and hallways showing his latest scientific activities. He also lectured at the SRI noon forum from time-to-time, regaling us with stories of his very interesting life, including being Second in Command on the Byrd Antarctic Expedition. At the time of his death in 1978, he had just demonstrated electronic implants in the ear to restore hearing to the totally deaf, working with Dr. Robin Michelson of the UC Medical School in San Francisco.
Doc Poulter was a key figure in the early success of SRI. His name continues to be seen in the world renowned lab that bears his name.
Ed Robison contributed more to SRI’s accomplishments in the developing world than anyone except Hoot Gibson. As a Stanford Business School graduate, he was working for a sugar company in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded, getting out just in time. He was on General MacArthur’s staff in the restructuring of Japan’s government.
Ed joined SRI in early 1950s, led a number of regional economic development studies in the United States, including some of SRI’s earliest work on behalf of American Indian tribes. Then he took leadership of our development work in India, under Ford Foundation sponsorship, leading two programs that involved a variety of industry experts and business development specialists over ten years. First was a research and advisory program on small-scale industry development, led by Eugene Staley. The other was establishment of the National Council for Applied Economic Research. Both activities still continue in India.
Ed was an advisor to members of the India Planning Commission, especially pressing for a greater role for private enterprise over government domination. Meanwhile, he negotiated projects for the US Agency for International Development and World Bank in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He also helped establish new economic research institutes in several countries.
Ed served in the 1960s as Executive Director of the SRI Economics and Management Group. During all this time, he mentored many new staff members, showing them how to write proper proposals and how to get along in foreign cultures.
Charlie Rosen, scientist and visionary, came to SRI in the late 1950s. He founded the Applied Physics Laboratory, which began work on etching out millions of tiny triodes to compete with transistor circuits. One giant problem with millions of tiny triodes was how to wire them up to perform useful functions. When Charlie heard about perceptrons (now called neural networks), which could be "trained" to perform many tasks, especially pattern recognition, he speculated that these self-organizing, self-training algorithms might provide just the answer to harnessing a million triodes. So he began research on perceptrons.
Charlie loved high-risk, frontier science! Thus the Learning Machines Group was created in the early 1960s within the Applied Physics Laboratory to attempt this exciting enterprise of designing, building, and using neural networks. Charlie's limitless enthusiasm and convincing vision inspired co-workers and persuaded the Office of Naval Research and the Army Signal Corps to support this research. SRI perceptron systems achieved impressive results, including classification of symbols on Army maps and accurate recognition of hand-printed characters on FORTRAN coding sheets.
As the intellectual neighborhood around these systems became familiar territory, Charlie got restless and moved on to artificial intelligence (AI),which ultimately led to Shakey the Robot, and the Learning Machines Group became the Artificial Intelligence Center. The Shakey project generated several very important AI technologies that are still important today, almost 30 years later.
During the 1970s, SRI's AI Center became, under Charlie's leadership, one of the world's foremost AI laboratories, expanding to work in speech recognition, natural language processing, expert systems, computer vision, and robotics. In the mid-1970s, Charlie formed a Robotics Group within the AI Center. One of the important inventions was a very robust machine vision system capable of recognizing industrial parts as they came down conveyor belts.
When Charlie left SRI for his new start-up, he left behind a thriving AI Center that still displays his traits of optimism, creativity, and a desire to tackle some of engineering's toughest challenges—those of mechanizing the numerous facets of human intelligence. We are still probably a long way from achieving that goal, but that wouldn't have scared Charlie!
Felix Smith was a strong voice for basic science at SRI After Charlie Cook was promoted to chair the Chemical Physics Division, which later became the Physical Sciences Division, Felix became head of the Molecular Physics Laboratory (MPL), which he led until 1980. He actively built up the laboratory by adding quality staff and establishing a postdoctoral program, which became the main route for acquiring new staff. Dave Huestis, Don Eckstrom, and Dave Crosley—all now leaders in MPL—came aboard during Felix's leadership. People such as Ron Olson, Tom Gallagher, and John Moseley—who all went on to professorships in major universities after 10 years or more at SRI—established their reputations in MPL under Felix.
In addition to leading the laboratory to world renowned stature in atomic and molecular physics, Felix gave strong support to a major program of laser research, which became a significant activity in the MPL and provided new directions for the lab. This was all accomplished while Felix conducted his own forefront theoretical research in the field of atomic collisions, which established him as a world class theoretical physicist.
Felix was a strong spokesman for the rights of individual researchers at SRI. He was particularly active during the Stanford-SRI confrontation in 1969 when Stanford was planning to place restrictions on the kind of research that could be conducted at SRI. He helped educate Stanford and its Board of Directors about SRI, its professional stature, and its role in research for society and helped ease the separation from Stanford.
During this period, Felix recognized the need for better communication between staff and management and spearheaded the effort to establish the Institute Staff Advisory Group (ISAG). ISAG, composed of nonmanagement staff, was a strong forum for addressing internal SRI problems and discussing solutions with management. Felix served as ISAG's first president and led the effort to make it operational and to become a long term upward communications channel for SRI that existed for almost 20 years.
In 1948, Bob Smith brought his Stanford Business School training to help develop SRI’s techno-economic research leadership. He helped to develop many staff members who became stars in their fields.
Bob erupted every few years with an idea that changed the research business. In early 1950s, he instigated the Western Economic Development Conferences that established SRI as the premier research organization in the West. He helped develop the Chemical Information Services, which are still hallmarks of SRI. In the mid-1950s, he secured internal support for a ground-breaking study of “Why Companies Grow” that was published in Harvard Business Review and laid the groundwork for the corporate strategy program.
In 1956, he proposed a research-based forecasting program to help corporate planners do a better job, while showcasing the talents at SRI available to clients. Launched in 1958, the Long Range Planning Service (LRPS) was born. Within five years it had over 400 clients, and its annual client conferences were attended by 300 or more executives from the best companies. As a spin-off, in 1965 Smith proposed the first Executive Seminars in Business Planning, which attracted over 1,000 participants from more than 300 companies over the next 6 years. The program’s successor, the Business Intelligence Center, in 1998 celebrates its fortieth anniversary of continuing service to worldwide business.
Meanwhile, Bob headed corporate strategy projects for such clients as Foremost Dairies, Del Monte, Anheuser-Busch, Bekins, General Foods, and the Swedish and Saudi governments.
Bob opened SRI’s first European office, in Zurich, and helped establish SRI as a preferred source of assistance for European clients. In 1968, Smith and Bill Royce introduced the SRI system of planning to a class at Nomura Research Institute in Japan and later taught it to numerous Japanese clients.
Bob Shreve was one of the versatile Stanford MBA graduates who, shortly after World War II, did a little bit of everything to build the fledgling SRI Economics Research Division. His specialties included project management, industrial operations research, feasibility studies, transportation economics, staff planning and budgeting, industrial marketing—and rescuing projects in trouble.
For much of this 30-year period, Bob’s organizational assignment was as business manager of the Economics and Management Group. His job included not only group planning, budgeting, and cost controls but teaching staff members how to prepare proposals and project budgets, project staffing, and time management—how to complete projects on time and within budget. He also taught many new program managers how to organize and manage their activities. He interviewed hundreds of prospective staff members, and his instincts were generally correct on who would be a good addition to SRI staff.
During this same time, Bob was frequently called on for project work—rescuing projects in trouble, augmenting professional staff, preparing proposals, negotiating major contracts, and conducting field research. Such assignments took him to the Philippines, Spain, London, the Middle East, Scandinavia, and elsewhere.
Bob’s legacy to SRI was a prime example of quiet leadership, integrity, and reliability in meeting client’s expectations while upholding the high standards of SRI research and fiscal soundness.
W. A. “Bill” Skinner came to SRI in 1955 and worked in the organic chemistry group in Physical Sciences for about 5 years. He transferred to the Life Sciences Division and headed a research group on the cancer project under Bill Baker for 2 years, where he got his indoctrination into medicinal chemistry. When Baker left in 1961, the chemists in Life Sciences were split into two groups with Skinner heading the department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. In this position, he made many valuable contacts in Japan that proved very beneficial for him and the department in the coming years.
When Bruce Graham left SRI in 1965, Bill was appointed director of the Life Sciences division, a position that he held until his death in 1987. As Executive Director (later, Vice President) of the Division, he continued many existing programs, expanded some, such as Neurological Sciences, eliminated some, such as Food Sciences, and in general kept the division tuned to the areas of potential profit to the institute. He greatly expanded the scientific interests of the Division, from a focus almost exclusively on cancer treatment to expertise in many diseases. He led the efforts to study the treatment and prevention of malaria and other parasitic diseases, and he fostered the Division’s expansion into research on environmental health problems. During Bill’s 22year tenure, he greatly expanded the Division’s client base to include not only NIH but the US Army, the EPA, and domestic and international companies. This diversity can be seen in the 125 scientific papers and 13 patents Bill published.
Bill was an initiator and a major contributor (with Mas Tanabe, Chozo Mitoma, and Gordon Newell) to the development of a close and profitable (to SRI) working relationship with the Japanese Pharmaceutical industry—a relationship that continues to this day. Over 50 International Fellows, mainly from Japan, worked in life sciences laboratories during this period, and many long-term R&D efforts were begun. The Japanese industry leaders he worked closely with thought so highly of Bill that, just before his death, they were in the process of naming a city street after him in one of the company towns in Japan.
Skinner’s legacy to SRI was a vigorous life sciences enterprise, able to react with changing outside priorities, that was well known in government research agencies and the international pharmaceutical industry.
Mimi's real interest was in applying herself to work that would lead to improving the education of children. After completing her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, Mimi joined the National Center for Educational Research and Development of the US Department of Education. There, she served as technical monitor for the original grant to the Children's Television Workshop for the development of Sesame Street.
Mimi joined SRI's Education Department as a young research associate. Her major projects included the national evaluation of Follow-Through (the program providing follow-up services to children who had participated in Head Start). She engineered SRI's entry into the field of special education with a landmark study of implementation of PL-94-142, the "mainstreaming" law requiring that children with disability be educated in a setting that maximized their contact with children without disabilities. As part of these studies, she helped to develop the multiple case study methodology that remains a major tool in program evaluation.
Mimi assumed leadership of the Health and Social Sciences Division in 1982, a time when the political climate in Washington was not kind to social science research. Mimi led the division through these difficult years, instilling in her staff the certain belief that survival—and eventually growth—would come from good research, creatively conceived and effectively communicated. On that solid foundation, she developed active research programs in education policy, special education, integrated social services, and advanced instructional technology.
Among her staff, Mimi was held in deep affection. In everything she did, it was clear how much she cared about doing good research and how much she believed in the capabilities of SRI's researchers. Throughout both SRI and the education research community, Mimi was known for her tremendous energy, strong convictions, self- effacing candor, and unstinting integrity.
Mimi was remarkable in the depth of her concern for the professional growth of others. SRI's highest award for fostering the professional development of others was established in Mimi's memory. In this way, her contribution to our growth continues.
Larry Swift earned his Bachelors in electrical engineering from Texas University in 1927. At the time, GE was offering top seniors the opportunity to attend GE's Trade Design School in Schenectady, NY. Here Larry got a thorough grounding in the theoretical aspects of instrumentation systems and graduated in 1930.
He joined Seismograph Services Corporation (SSC), where he soon became Chief Design Engineer. During this period, SSC and Swift supplied the geophysical instruments to Dr. Thomas C. Poulter for use in the Antarctic during the 1933 Byrd expedition. In 1948, Dr. Poulter induced Larry to come to SRI as the Assistant Director of the Geology and Geophysics Department.
In 1952, SRI got into the measurement of blast effects of atomic and nuclear weapons. The initial measurements were high explosive shots at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. The government had contracted with Engineering Research Labs (ERA) and a 20-person crew to measure 50 channels of data using oscilloscopes and 35mm cameras. This method proved so clumsy that ERA was able to get data on only half of the channels. Larry Swift and SRI introduced instrumentation based on seismic cameras using moving mirror galvonometers and photo print paper. With a 7-person crew, SRI recorded 120 channels of data, missing only one. The data gathered was so far superior to previous data gathered (according to those analyzing it) that SRI became the primary data recording and analysis organization for the long series of tests at the Nevada and Pacific Test Sites, lasting into the 1960s. During this series, Larry Swift and Coye Vincent introduced the magnetic tape recorder as a successful recording instrument for nuclear data recording.
As a result of the strong reputation established by Larry Swift and his colleagues, in the late 1950s Poulter Lab was given an opportunity to participate in the new Air Force program on nuclear weapon effects on reentry vehicles. Poulter Lab played a major role in the new program for over 30 years and the work continues today.
As head of the Physics Department, growing it to a Division from 1955 to 1970, Bob Vaile made a name for the staff of SRI's Physics Division as experts in airblast and ground motion effects of nuclear explosions. For nearly 20 years, research in these areas was the focus of the Physics Division, furnishing critical information to the Department of Defense as the country wrestled to maintain superiority in the Cold War.
Bob was encouraged to come to SRI in 1948 by former classmate at the California Institute of Technology Jesse Hobson, who had recently been named Director of SRI. Bob's first research task was to lead a project, funded by major oil, utility, and railroad companies, to discover the cause of ground subsidence that had plagued the Long Beach area, causing extensive damage over time. The issue was whether water or oil was the cause. Depending on the results, some of the project's clients stood to lose large amounts of money. Bob was able to bring respect to the fledgling SRI by adroitly writing the final report so that it remained true to the scientific findings, yet did not offend the clients.
Bob's own idea of a frangible backfill to protect missile silos from ground motion, by surrounding a silo with material that would fail at the right pressures to reduce the blast energy on the silo, was tested at Nevada Test Site and proved to be a valid concept.
Bob's reputation among the Physics Division's clients, military and civilian, as an outstanding leader enhanced SRI's value by his astute reviews of project reports, particularly those that went to clients. Clients and researchers today still recall his diligence in ensuring that SRI's work received the best report possible.
As a result of the strong reputation established by Bob Vaile and his colleagues, in the late 1950s, Poulter Lab was given an opportunity to participate in the new Air Force program on nuclear weapon effects on reentry vehicles. Poulter Lab played a major role in the new program for over 30 years, and the work continues today.
John Wagner was SRI's first chief human resources officer, having come from Cutter Laboratories in 1954. He was with SRI until 1964 and held the modest title of Personnel Services Administrator. When he arrived the staff numbered a few hundred, when he left it numbered 2500. His emphasis was always on the word "services," and he made certain that all members of his staff clearly understood that their role was to serve the Institute.
One of John's first jobs was to reconcile some of the differing personnel practices and procedures that various units of the Institute had adopted during the eight years of SRI's existence before John's arrival. On some issues, John encountered considerable acrimony, especially when some departments believed there were in danger of losing their "proprietary rights." Much of that acrimony was directed at John, the messenger- negotiator. However, John persevered, and the result was a small booklet titled "You and SRI." This booklet later became SRI's comprehensive Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual. John had laid the foundation.
John prided himself particularly on taking the lead in replacing SRI's weak retirement plan with a strong and stable TIAA/CREF plan. Again, he became the negotiator and he helped craft a somewhat controversial SRI contribution schedule, which was "age related" as well as "service related." The schedule took into account that, in its early years, SRI had recruited not only young staff members, but also numerous mature research professionals and managers.
John's greatest legacy was the staff he recruited into his own department. If a manager is to be judged by the staff he recruits, develops, and sends forth, then John deserves high credits. Three of his professional recruits compiled a combined service record of over 80 years at SRI. So well trained were they that they survived numerous managerial changes in the human resources area. One of John's professional recruits later joined SRI's Management Consulting Group and later returned to serve four years as SRI's chief human resources officer.