As Tolkien said, “the tale grew in the telling….”
So, I had started my MBA program during the spring of 1988. I had written a paper for a statistics class, one that involved economics and the stock market crash of ’87. The instructor liked it. I had a campus job looking after computer equipment and they had installed several of us in an empty office (this arrangement lasted about 2 months). Someone had posted a SWFAD call for papers and I decided to send my paper off. This was before my propensity for shameless self-promotion (SSP)—a trait with which all of my people are born—had matured into the dominating characteristic that it is today (my sense of irreverent sarcasm came fully-functional). A few weeks later, the review came back with an invitation to present in New Orleans. This was my first encounter with what became known as FBD although on that day I was an economist.
On and off during my doctoral schooling, I contributed papers to FBD associations, mostly DSI. Conferences were fairly prestigious affairs for the not-yet-phds and still the best way to meet people who could hire you. In fact, it was during ’98 and ’99, when I was attending FBD to hire people for our MIS department when I met Dr. Carolyn Harris and was subsequently hired by her. So, in 2000 I started a new tenure-track program and it was time to get serious about a research stream.
Both Carolyn Harris and Martha ‘Tuck’ Harvey were big proponents of FBD in general and Southwest Administrative Systems in particular, although neither served as President. In fact, Dr. Harris recommended SWAS as a good home for my first three papers. Of course SWAS became ABIS soon after I started at Midwestern. And so the years proceeded with me presenting papers and enjoying what I came to refer to as my annual “drinking coffee in a room full of smart people.” I particularly enjoyed the pedagogical topics: these were things that I could put to use in my classes. I have several key memories from this period: Carla Barber working to get our website up and running and Dr. Nealy working to get our journal going. And I will never forget riding to Houston in a chevy suburban with 4 other people, two of whom were department chairs and one was the dean who was determined to take care of business during the trip!
Eventually, I was drafted to join the officer progression / rotation. This is a great way to handle succession and the learning curve and I wish more organizations would use it. One of my best memories is attending the program chair orientation, hosted by the late, great Sam Bruno—an extremely interesting man by all accounts and possessing a lot of information that he freely shared. Just for the record, Program Chair is a great job, in my opinion. You get to arrange stuff, edit stuff, and produce important documents! Seriously!
I came to serve two consecutive terms as President of ABIS and I can assure you it was not because of the incredible job that I did on the first round. But that developed about like you would expect: we had someone in the officer rotation bail and I stepped in because it was more convenient than holding an election. Having survived the first time, the task did not seem so daunting and, as expected, there were no complaints! Attending the FBD officers / business meeting was hugely eye-opening: highly recommended!