January 26-30: A Week in New York City
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January 8-11, 1981
A Weekend in California

 

That month, Chris Gane invited all the employees and instructors for IST out to a meeting in California. The meeting was held at La Jolla (pronounced "la-hoya"), for the purpose of discussing the direction of the company.

I flew in to San Diego that morning, rented a car, and drove up I-5 to La Jolla Village Drive. Then I wound around to Holiday Drive, the road up to the front of the hotel.


I parked and came in to the front of the hotel to check in, and right away I met someone from IST (Improved System Technologies). His name is Rick Stillwell, and he is one of the newest instructors. He lives in Dallas. Right away, I asked him to come out front and stand by the sign for the La Jolla Village Inn (actually a Sheraton hotel), which shows them welcoming IST.

We at IST had finished work on the STRADIS Methodology, and business was good with both that and the training classes. What Chris wanted to talk about, though, was an offer he had been made by McDonnell Douglas Automation Company (McAuto). McAuto is actually a subsidiary of McDonnell-Douglas Corporation, the aircraft and aviation conglomerate; it provides computing and consulting services for the rest of the MDC companies. Like MDC, it is headquartered in St. Louis. We had always done a lot of training for them, and in the past year they had licensed the Methodology as well. MDC had used the Methodology at their own client sites, and had received rave reviews, and now wanted McAuto to buy IST so that they could sell both the Methodology and the training classes as part of their own consulting offerings.

Chris wanted to ask everyone's opinion as to whether we thought that a big company could make a success of these highly individualistic and personal services that we offered. There were representatives of MDC there; Mr. Jack Kelly talked about the special unit that MDC would set up, and how our current way of doing business could continue. We asked whether MDC would want all of the instructors to become employees; Jack said that wouldn't be necessary. If anyone wanted to, he could, and get the benefits that accrue to regular employees, but of course the compensation would be less on the employee pay scale as on the consultant pay scale.

After much discussion, we all, except for Rick Weiland, who worked for a company that would have considered his working for MDC also as a conflict of interest, indicated to Chris that we would go along with the transfer, and so Chris made the decision then and there. Each of us met with Mr. Kelly, and all of us were told that we would continue to be utilized as heavily as ever. Other than the socializing, that was pretty much it for the business portion of my trip out here to California.


The Sheraton was actually very nice; we stayed out here for two nights, and IST picked up the tab for all the instructors. My daily fee at IST works out to by far the highest salary I've ever gotten. True, I have to account for my own taxes, being a sole proprietorship, but that's a small price to pay for the income and the freedom to take or turn down work as I care to.

The views from the hotel were pretty neat. The front of the hotel faces the Pacific, but not being on the crest of the coastside hills, that view was largely blocked. From my room, which faced north, I could look out onto the interchange between La Jolla Village Drive and Interstate 5; that's the view you see at right, and you are looking north and northeast.

La Jolla is one of California's iconic locations; the hilly hilly seaside community is actually within the city of San Diego, and occupies 7 miles of curving coastline along the Pacific Ocean about 12 miles north of downtown. During the Mexican period of San Diego's history, La Jolla was mapped as pueblo land and contained about 60 lots. When California became a state in 1850, the La Jolla area was incorporated as part of the chartered City of San Diego. Development began in the 1880s.

In the 1890s the San Diego, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla Railway connected La Jolla to the rest of San Diego, and La Jolla became known as a resort area. The railway built beach facilities, and a few small cottages and bungalows (and a summertime tent city) housed visitors; two 1894 buildings still exist. The La Jolla Park Hotel opened in 1893.

By 1900, La Jolla comprised 100 buildings and 350 residents. A library, fire house and police office soon followed- as well as a post office. The first school opened in 1909 and La Jolla High School was established in 1922. The La Jolla Beach and Yacht Club (later the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club) was built in 1927, and is still in operation today.

I had not been to San Diego before, and one afternoon, Greg and Rick and I drove around the area for a bit. Greg was familiar with Southern California, but it was the first time I had been South of Los Angeles. As you can see, most of the area is brown in the Winter. Southern California doesn't get a lot of rain; most of the watering has to come from irrigation, and in the Winter there is not a lot of snow melt up North, which is where most of the water comes from. Even so, the weather was wonderful and the scenery quite nice.


San Diego taken from Interstate 5 South of La Jolla.

A view looking North on Interstate 5.

At this point in California, Interstate 5 runs very close to the ocean. In fact, just on the other side of the hills to the left, past some area for housing, is the Pacific. The coast is much greener close to the ocean, and is usually cool even in the Summer. A mile or so inland, however, it is another story, as it can easily reach 100 degrees in the interior valleys of Southern California.


The picture at left was taken in the Eastern suburbs of San Diego, and shows the terrain when you get away from the ocean. There is not much water here, except what is supplied by the city, so the area is usually brown like you see here. Below is some scenery taken on Interstate 8, which comes from the East into San Diego. The clear air, the pleasant Winter temperatures and the beautiful countryside combine to make this a very nice place to live.


This trip to California has been eventful. We were purchased, but I can report six months on that our work has continued unabated. We can already see that MDC is generating enough business to keep us all quite busy. They have contacts worldwide, contacts that Gane and Sarson did not have, and so we are getting a lot of clients that would not have come our way before. We have all learned that Chris and Trish received three quarters of a million dollars for the rights to all the IST stuff, plus continuing royalties. I guess they did pretty well.

My friend Greg was here, of course; he was the one who got me into IST from Cullinane. I knew Greg was gay, and he told me that Rick was as well. On one evening, Greg and Rick decided to go into San Diego to the baths (which I understand is kind of like a gay health club with overtones of sex going on) and they asked me to go with them. Why they would want me to go I don't know, but I declined. (By Summer, it would become clear to me why Greg and Rick asked me to go with them into town, and particularly to a gay hangout, but that is another story.)

Instead, I went to visit the parents of my friend, Peter Guerrant; they had moved from Pasadena, where I visited with them in 1968, to La Jolla, only a mile or two from the hotel. I didn't have much time to spend with them, but we did talk about Peter quite a good deal; he is no longer in the Army, but works for them in Washington as a civilian.

 

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January 26-30: A Week in New York City
Return to the Index for 1981