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October 20, 1967 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1967-10-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20, 196"

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

FIUiDAY, OCTOBER 20, 196'7 TIlE MICHIGAN DAILY

Conductron:

Industrial

(Continued from Page 1)
Meanwhile Conductron has also
accepted $39 000 in business from
r the University, including a $35,000
project in 1965. In this job Con-
ductron tested radar absorbers
(devices for converting electro-
magnetic energy or radar waves
to heat).
In the project, the University
had purchased the absorbers for
the U.S. Air Force. The Univer-
sity then sub-contracted Conduc-
tron to test the absorbers. Some
of the absorbers had been pur-
chased from Conductron by the
University, so Conductron ulti-
mately was testing some of its
own products.
"I don't think there was a con-
flict of interest here," says Vice-
President Norman. "My philosophy
in these situations has always been
that the best way to avoid con-
flict is to shine the light on the
situation. That is, everyone con-
' erned such as purchasing agents

should be aware of the relation-
ships."
"Of course occasionally we have
to tell people to shed some out-
side connections - such as when
professors take too many different
advisory roles - but I don't think
the Conductron situation has been
a conflict."
And Dean Gordon Van Wylen
of the Engineering school says, "I
really don't know anything at all
about the situation I've never
looked into it. We're trying to run
a clean show here, while keeping
in mind diverse responsibilities."
And Siegel says, "Nobody ever
raised any questions. General
Motors buys from Ford, and
there's nothing wrong with that.
One of the advantages of Con-
ductron's spin-off status is that it
can easily keep abreast of the
latest technical developments in
the University research world.
"There were curious parallel de-
velopments between what was
going on in University research

and what Conduction was market-
ing. In essence Conductron would
learn about hot new research here,
then steal the professors away-
or at least the techniques-and
then market the idea."
For example Norman points out

from underground explosions dur-
ing oil explorations.
But Siegel says, "Conductron
discovered the techniques first, we
did it first."
Nonetheless Norman says that
"Now we simply say to our (Uni-

prnoff
officer for two years at the Uni-
versity WRL (59-61)."
University officials say they were
not dismayed by this exodus of
talent: "The University is a pro-
ducer of trained people, the ma-
jority of which it expects to move

of

'U

T

Under the system engineering time Siegel
faculty can retain full professor- of Conductr
ships while consulting for as McDonald
much as two working days a and 25,000
month. stock in e

Vivian at Cond

By NEAL BRUSS
Conductron's best known em-
ploye has probably been Weston E.
Vivian, the firm's Vice-Preidnt
for Engineering from its inception
:n abb to19ti5.
Vivian was Michigan's 2nd dis-
strict Democratic Congressman
during 1965-66. He credits his Con-
ductron job with making his polit-
Ical career financially possible.
Vivian has extensive experience
in military research. From 1949
through 1953 Vivian worked on

BOMARC, a joint missile project
between the University and Boeing
aircraft designed to knock out
>'1(er aircraft. He worked at
both Boeing and the University.
From 1951 through 1960 Vivian
was a research engineer and lec-
turer in the electrical engineering
department at the University.
From 1953 through 1955 Vivian
worked on high resolution radar
at the University's Willow Run
center which does the bulk of the
school's militaryresearch. He was
a leader of the design team which
produced sharply focused high
resolution radar prototype which
is in use today.
"Just before Siegel decided to
form Conductron," Vivian says, "I
decided my capabilities as a re-
searcher where adequate to keep
me in the research business but
not as a top man. Still I enjoyed
the activities of an engineer.
"At the time I had a family of
four, outstanding bills, andta re-
cent doctorate. I decided. to use
my talent where there would be a
clear-cut return. The money is
much better off in commerce,
where there's a chance for growth
of equity.
"I had also been city Dem-

Conductron's headquarters are on Plymouth Rd. near North Campus.
"The University had done pioneer versity research) people, 'let's stop on," says Norman. "The fact that
work in the field of detection of the informal interchange. Don't they move to industry doesn't
underground explosions, Conduc- talk about your research so much.' trouble us.
tron went ahead and applied the We told this to people in fields Siegel retained his professor-
parallel to Conductron's." ship as did Conductron's Vice-
techniques for a commercial de- After Siegel became head of r
vice used for interpreting data Conductron his role as a University Louisd J.Cutrona, and Chief
professor was largely confined to Scientist Dale M. Grimes.
supervising doctoral candidates.
According to Conductron's 1962 But last April the University
[iic triiiii { annual report one of his doctoral decided *you've got to wear only
students was David M. Rabin whoI one fraternity pin," says Siegel.I
was simultaneously a Conductron In a statement Dean Van Weylen
ing, and it was obvious from the department head in radar cross of the engineering school said
examples of Romney, Williams and detmnt that "each person who wishes to
sections.1
Kenedy that politics meant com- While there were many reasons be involved in . . . education-in-{
peting with people equipped with for Conductron's success, the key dustry interaction should have a
money. It h c i sthta te erstystfmajor and primary commitment
being able to afford to take the me is the talented Cniersity staff to either industry cr the Uiver-
time off than anything else." members who started the firm. sity"
Among them were:
"A post in the Democratic state -Wayne Burdick, assistant head In effect the statement meant
office in Lansing was offered to of the radiation laboratory from professors who are working vir-
me, but I decided that it would 1958 through 1961 tually full time for outside in-
make me a servant of the party- -Thaddeus B. Curtz, head of the faculty positions. Instead they
and this would be the wrong role. computation department at WRL would be made "adjunct" pro-
"I took the Conductron job (and from 1958 to 1961 fessors.
4,900 shares of stock at a penny -Dale M. Grimes, chairman of
apiece) became immersed in busi- the electrical engineering depart-
ness and four years later I was ment's committee on electromag-
not in debt. In 1964, events hap- netic field theory.
pened so the plan came true. I -Robert R. Graham, who "en-
was able to make a start in finan- gaged in the development and test
cing my Congressional campaign.' of BOMARC system ground control -
After he defeated Republican in- equipment."
cumbent George Meader in the fall -Weston Vivian, research en-
of 1964 Vivian sold the 4,900 Con- gineer and lecturer in Electrical
ductron shares that he had origin- Engineering.
ally purchased for a penny apiece. -Elliott M. Fox, "The Univer-
The original $49 investment earned ty onsuant to Norh Amer-
Viviain over $100,000 when he soldityn Air.DconstnttoNortA mer-"
the stock. Vivian got rid of the icanhAr J. (NORAD) "
stock to avoid a possible conflict--Richard J. Sylvester "security
of interest. As a congressman he -
was a member of the House Com-
mittP n Rip dPnf Acts rnat- 's

But faculty members who work
less than 75 per cent of their
time in the University-that is
less than 15 out of 20 working
days a month-are not generally
given fractional appointments.
They get "adjunct" status.
Faculty members who want to
explore outside jobs generally
can get leaves of up to two years.
But "after two years, the person
must decide where his primary
commitment lies," says Van Wy-
len.
Siegel left the University fac-
ulty May 23. All the faculty ties
between the University and Con-
ductron are now terminated.
How did Siegel fare financially
in his Conductron venture?
In November 1966 McDonald
Aircraft Corp. (now McDonald-
Douglas) gained controlling stock
interest in Conductron. At that
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shares of C
The McD
worth $51 a
and Siegel'
Conductron
608,000 (at
value of $41
do not refle
other compa
ciation of t
after the n
Aircraft in .
servativelyv
Siegel is
a new firm,
says he is
KMS.

echnolog
held 138,000 shares Siegel's new venture will work
on. in educational - military systems
gave Siegel $625,000 holograms, sophisticated drilling
shares of McDonald devices, and adult games.
xchange for 50,000 A number of the new executivei
onductron stock. with KMS were formerly with
Donald is currently Conductron. Among them are
share or $1,275,000, Weston Vivian and Thaddeus
s remaining 88,000 Curtz.
shares are worth $3,- Three KMS executives are cur-
the current market rently on the electrical engineer-
a share). The figures ing faculty at the University
ct Siegel's holdings in They are Louis J. Cutrona, Chen-
inies and the appre- To Ta and Murray H. Miller.
the McDonnell stock Siegel values his talented staff,
merger with Douglas "In Talent We Trust" was hi-
April. Thus he is con- Conductron motto.
worth $5,501,000. "When a few disappointed
now busy setting up staffers left Conductron to returr
KMS Industries. He to the University," says Norman
the sole backer of "he complained that the schoo
was raiding his staff."

The Hefty Hustlers of West Bursley
the Gruesome Gophers of East Bursley
to o
TUG OAF WAR
Saturday, Oct. 21 Over the
9:15 A.M. Huron River

FOR YOUR HOMECOMING WEEKEND

miLee on cence an sronam-
ics.

ocratic chairman, and a City Vivian is now a vice-president
Council candidate," says Vivian. of Siegel's new venture, KMS In-
WESTON VIVIAN "Politics were very time-consum- dustries of Ann Arbor.
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CARRY OUT ONLY FREE DELIVERY
Bar-B-Q Beef Dinner ... .. $1.95
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Fried Shrimpd.................$1.60
All Dinners include. French Fries and Slow

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CHAR BROILED HAM STEAK
Potatoes, Salad, Bread and Butter .......$1.35
CHAR BROILED RIB-I SANDWICH ........$ .85
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Onion Rings, Tossed Salad, Bread & Butter $1.65

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