I have worked with technology from the start of my career at
Texas Instruments with the task of implementing a national data network.
As part of my Operations Research work there, I developed the Predict Times Series Analysis and Forecasting System which
won the SBC Pioneer of Timesharing Award for TI. At TI we concentrated on using quantitative techniques to balance
inventories, line loads, and workflows. As Manager of Production Control, I had the opportunity to bring a set of
innovative products into production such as components for the new TI Calculator, the LEM Apollo Project, and the B1 Bomber.
This assignment also brought extensive involvement with the automotive industry delivering critical devices. TI
shaped my approach to solving problems to this day.
At Stop and Shop, our development team designed and built a corporate ordering and distribution system. This was excellent
exposure to the retail business as the company operated subsidiaries that had interlocking distribution requirements. Again
the challenge of managing workflows and reducing cycle times and errors was critical. The lessons learned in these
early EDI systems would prove very useful in later work on insurance agency to carrier interface.
I joined Commercial Union in 1978 to lead their pioneering efforts in automating the policy flow from their agents.
At CU we coined the word agency company interface and implemented a technology working with the emerging
agency management vendors rather than delivering carrier terminals, which had been the costly industry practice. The
work done was heavily influenced by two key contributors to the insurance industry. The first was Rob Thompson, the innovator
in the agency management space, who automated agency policy servicing for the first time. The second was Lawson
Swearingen, the CEO of CU and a former agent, who guided this effort on a course that positioned technology for the good of
the entire industry not just CU. The impact of these values would show up in the contribution of our interface
work to ACORD to help in the formation of the first insurance standards still in use today.
In 1981 Commercial Union acquired Agency Management Systems and asked me to head AMS development. The AMS product
soon attracted industry attention and a consortium of what would become seven insurance carriers was formed. This consortium
which shared the commitment of supporting the entire independent agent distribution channel would stay together for 17 years
until the successful sale of AMS.
As a result of the AMS consortium formation, I became CEO in 1983. Over the next 13 years as CEO
and 4 more as Board Chairman, we built AMS into the largest provider of automation services to agents with a customer base
exceeding 20,000 agencies. We also continued the value system of serving the industry as a whole when we contributed our interface
technology to form the Alliance for Productive Technology. None of this could have been done without the vision, financial
commitment, and leadership of Dennis Chookaszian and Phil Engel at CNA, the majority owner of AMS.
If TI had taught
me how to be action oriented, it was our customers at AMS, particularly the AMS Users Group, that taught me to have fun.
The relationships I have built with the AMS customers have formed the basis of lifelong friendships. I could name so many
friends so I shouldn't except I have to acknowledge Jim Phelan, without whom we would never have been so successful. And finally,
receiving the Wade Dunbar (another great friend) Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Insurance Industry was a great honor
coming from these same clients.
In 1996, I was asked to join the senior
staff at CNA as Chief Technology Officer. In that capacity I added the responsibility of the CIO function as well as heading
up CNA's venture group. At CNA, thanks to a great IT team, we were able to modernize infrastructure, reduce costs, and
successfully implement Y2K changes. On the venture side (where we had an opportunity to invest in the healthcare and
consumer insurance Internet space), the returns on a number of investments had a material positive impact on
the company. We successfully sold AMS, which continues to thrive today, in 2000 and I retired from CNA to return to Cape
Cod in 2001.
I have started clareworks in hopes of providing valuable service
to clients and to be able to do so for a long time to come as there are many more things to build and much more
work to be done in the exciting world of technology. But I am also doing this now, at this time in my
life, in the context of becoming a one person company so that I can have the time to pursue a technology based
charitable project that is very important to me. Hopefully this project will some day be my greatest work.