IN THE BEGINNING
When we look back at our origins, we realize that the seed for our company dates back further than even 40 years.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was president…but only for a few more heartbeats. Our founder was in a televised debate – presenting the affirmative that the federal government should provide financial aid to the performing arts. Senator Paul Douglas (Illinois) apparently watched the debate, called our founder’s high school and asked if he could use the founder’s proposed program for legislation – which subsequently became and remained for decades the federal aid program for the performing arts. There was profound simplicity to the program: the federal government would allow venues to continue to print the federal excise tax as a part of the price of the ticket – but the federal government would not collect it. No bureaucracy would be created - nor was it created. It was a sublimely efficient form of federal subsidy.
That was our founder’s introduction into the territory shared by the private and public sectors.
A couple of decades later, our founder would be given responsibility for manufacturing plants during the transformation of production line controls from electro-mechanical (set a dial to a line) to “islands of automation” – computerized controls providing prompting and requiring situational inputs. Rather than replace the functionally illiterate workforce with one that had the requisite skills, our founder worked with state governments to subsidize the skills upgrades required – by training the employees in the plant, on the equipment, and using “adjunct” faculty (company employees who had the skills) as trainers - and not some “theoretical” training conducted in some classroom by university faculty. The initiative was a total success, preserving high-wage manufacturing jobs for thousands of employees otherwise destined for unemployment and poverty. This action was quite contrary to the rule of the day – epitomized in Michigan where unemployed auto workers were being taught to program in COBOL because the great brain trust in the Michigan university system had seen the future and it was COBOL programming. Of course, the personal computer was invented and popularized almost simultaneously with the expenditure of tens of millions of dollars on worthless training – rendering COBOL programming arcane and obsolete – and resulting in continuing chronic unemployment for the former auto workers who now had an expensive skill with no market.
Once again, the founder’s collaborative approach to solving the mutual challenge of transforming the workplace (private-public sectors) was a sublimely efficient use of public funds – since it resulted in incremental net income for state government through the avoidance of costs associated with unemployment.
The sensitivity to the sanctity of the tax dollar – the avoidance of abuse and waste – was something rooted in the value system of our founder – that any relationship to be a relationship must be fair for all parties. That fundamental tenet has been a guiding force throughout our existence. And so, throughout our history we have found solutions to seemingly insurmountable challenges for our clients - solutions that benefit all parties involved.