Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sharing Memories on Sunday - GE and Louisville

Sharing Memories on Sunday - GE and Louisville

Picking up from the last Those Places Thursday, I will try to share some general memories of my experience in the new job at GE in Louisville. They generally all in three categories: 1) actual GE work experience, 2) continuing my education outside of work, and 3) home and family life.

As I mentioned to Allison and Annette (when she was here last weekend), this is the point in my life where 'real life' began, and with it, many things in my memory 'clump' together. It becomes very difficult to connect specific memories with particular times. For this reason, among others, I just pulled out a copy of a resume I wrote while in the Iowa Governor's Office a few years later, to write down some dates for reference: GE Louisville - Aug 64 to Aug 67; GE Traveling Auditor - Aug 67 to Sep 68; Business Manager, SE - Oct 68 to Oct 69; Management Consultant, PMM - Nov 69 to May 70.

As I mentioned at the end of last Sunday's post, work was a real challenge, but I loved it. Whereas my work in the Air Force was mostly becoming accustomed to the organizational issues, my work at GE was certainly that but also a lot more in terms of learning content as I carried out my assignments. I wrote in the resume referred to earlier: "Rotational work assignments in all areas of finance in Consolidated Accounting Operations of Appliance Park. Financial Analyst for Relations and Utilities Operations." I know I was also involved in the Financial Management Program (FMP - which had been BTC) program activities as well during this three years. The group of us in the program would have meetings, speakers from around the country, and some sort of ongoing evaluations - but I honestly do not remember these, at all. I do know we were being trained to be a pool of talent from which to choose those who were on a fast track to top management. That was, and is, the GE Way! One of the guys in this group (and I honestly don't think there was a single female - and it didn't seem strange, at the time) was the son-in-law of the Chairman of the Board of GE, at the time. A little weird, but, I seemed to do every bit as well as he did, so I didn't let it bother me.

I did seem 'compelled,' it seems, to continue my outside education. Looking back, it is a bit surprising, but I think it was that I had doubts in the back of my mind of where this whole GE job thing was going and whether it was really what I wanted to be doing, once I figured out what it was - and who I was, I suppose.

Therefore, I enrolled in the MBA (Master of Business Administration) program at the University of Louisville, which offered an evening set of courses. Over the three years I was there (in Louisville), I completed 12 credit hours of work, 3 at a time, of which I was able to transfer 6 when I later restarted in the MBA Program at Drake University, in Des Moines.

Since this series of memories relates mostly to my work-related stuff, I'll not try to cover the 'more important' home and family stuff here. We have hundreds and hundreds of photos, of course, that are shared, from time to time, and still need to be organized better. We had wonderful visits from family, Bolger's, Smith's, Al, Jim, many more, as well as visits back to Iowa. Allison's first three or so years, including the infamous 'pulling the hot hamburger skillet off the stove' that resulted in some burns on her face. Annette went to private Kindergarten (see graduation photo, below) and then to public school, including 2 shifts to 'make better use of the buildings.' We have photos of her getting on the bus. We were very active in the fine United Methodist Church down the road a ways, singing in choir and all kids activities - real nice minister and his family.

I happened on the following, which I will choose as a representative photo…

One more thing... The gentleman that coordinated the FMP, a Mr. McGinty, who 'shared our evaluation results' with us... only seemed to ever have one criticism of me, to me face: I wasn't very good at 'small talk.' Well, duh, I wanted to say, I had work to do. I was ambitious. I did all I was told to do. I don't have time for 'small talk.'

Finally, one day, the 'word' came down from 'on high' - from up the chain of command - I had been chosen to received the coveted offer of a spot on the Corporate Audit Staff - the Holy Grail of GE assignments. Only 120 slots among 300,000-some employees of the company at that time. I said 'Yes!' And, we were off to Schenectady, New York. It was August, 1967.

Families are Forever!  ;-)


  1. Great overview of your time at GE. I remember taking the bus to school and my record player. That's about it.

  2. We have 'interesting' video of you twirling your baton in the driveway... among other things... The neighbor twin girls... all four of you in the same purple sweatshirts playing together. ;-)