International Telephone & Telegraph World Headquarters - New York City
For six years years I commuted from nearby Dulles Airport in Virginia to New York
City. My wife and children stayed at Miskel Farm near Sterling, Virginia. I
would depart Dulles on Monday morning at 8:30 pm and return Fridays at 6:30
pm. I had an apartment in New York City just two blocks from ITT Headquarters
at 320 Park Avenue.
My job as World Wide Product Line Executive for commercial aviation electronics
and marine electronics included annual business planning for 13 ITT subsidiares
in 12 different countries around the world, helping these companies establish
research and development programs, assisting these companies with their
marketing programs and most importantly, reviewing their performance and profitability.
The ITT subsidiaries that I had responsibility for were located in: Denmark, Norway,
Sweden, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Greece
and the U.S. My first big coup with ITT was selling the manufacturing rights
of our British and German aviation navaids manufacturers to a U.S. firm for
almost a million $. They included the ground based navaids of VOR, DME and
ILS for manufacture and sale in the western hemisphere a business ITT did
not wish to enter in the U.S. It took a half dozen trips to Europe to pull it off.
From thereon in I was ITT's golden boy.
On the last Monday of EVERY month, ITT Headquarters chartered a Pan American 707
to Brussels, Belgium for the ITT senior staff. We returned to New York on a
chartered Pan Am 707 the following Saturday. ITT Europe Headquarters was in
Brussels, Belgium. On Tuesday morning I would fly to whatever ITT subsidiary
I was to visit that month and then return to Brussels on Friday evening. For
Europhiles this sounds like great fun, but for 6 years it becomes a bit much.
I also made separate trips to Iran, the Shah was still there, Japan which was
fun and three trips to Russia which I enjoyed. The Vice Minister of Civil Aviation
was a good friend. I had a chance to fly on a few Russian executive jets and
visited their supersonic, TU-144, airliner factory which was fascinating.
The ITT Headquarters aircraft fleet based at La Guardia and Kennedy Airports
consisted of six Grumman Gulfstream I turbo prop exceutive aircraft and one
very long range, 6000 miles, Boeing 727-200. A Grumman Gulfstream cockpit is
shown below. I flew on one to Grand Bahama Island with a friend for a
Sailfishing Tournament. The ITT custom Boeing 727 could fly non stop from
Hawaii to New York with its custom long range fuel tanks. It had three forward
cabins for four people, and 20 first class seats in the rear. When I was aboard
and returning from Europe I always phoned home to Virginia when we were over
Greenland. The ITT Boeing 727 is illustrated at the bottom of this page.
Some fun and fascinating perks came with working for Harold Geneen, President
of ITT. In the fall we would fly down to Georgia in one the Gulfstreams and
visit a 1000 acre private game preserve. Every morning we would shoot skeet
for an hour or so and then go hunting. Then with guides, our shotguns and
hunting dogs we would go grouse shooting. The birds were cleaned and frozen
for us to take home. I regularly took home 50 deep frozen grouse for friends
and family who were warned to avoid an occasional birdshot that the cotton
picking pluckers had missed.
Harold Geneen kept a large houseboat anchored in the Florida Keys near
Marathon Key about a two hour drive south of Miami. To say that the
houseboat was luxurious would be a gross understatement. A friend and I flew
down to Miami for a weekend's bone fishing in the shallow waters near the
key. Our guide would stand on the front of our shallow draft fishing boat
and point out where he saw a bone fish. With fly rods we would then try to
drop our fly near the bone fish. With lots of luck we managed to catch a few
which were immediately released back into the water.
After retiring from ITT I took up assembly language programming, first for the
Intel 8008 micro, then the 8080 micro, then the Zilog Z-80 and finally the
Intel 8088 through Pentium family. For many years I wrote all the IBM InfoWindow
Touchscreen programs in assembly language for my son's company Lexitech, the leading
U.S. touchscreen firm.