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My Story (If You're Really That Interested)

I was born on November 12, 1964 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. My mother Lottie still lives in my hometown (and my father Lester passed away in August 2001). I also have a younger brother Wayne who is a lawyer in Chicago.

I grew up in Sioux Falls, and enjoyed both school and sports. Starting in junior high school I became more interested in math and science and began considering engineering as a future career. I was fortunate to become involved in the Future Problem Solving Program, a nationally-based program/contest that helps promote creativity and problem-solving skills. The four-person team I was on captured the national title twice, and I was also a two-time national individual champion as well.

Besides academics I was active in various sports, playing softball and golf in the summer, basketball in winter, and track & field in the spring (I threw the shot put and discus). In high school I started playing the banjo and guitar, though not very seriously.

I graduated from high school in 1983 and was accepted into the engineering program at Washington University in St. Louis under the Langsdorf Fellowship, a competitive scholarship I was awarded upon acceptance. Since I had taken classes at a local university while I was in high school, my advanced standing allowed me to complete a BS and MS in chemical engineering in four years.

After graduation I was hired by Procter & Gamble and spent two years in Cincinnati, Ohio working in one of their product development groups. I designed Pampers brand disposable diapers and conducted consumer research to evaluate new designs.

In 1990 I was transferred to Japan to help train new Japanese engineers in P&G’s Research & Development site in Osaka. After two more years of project management in Pampers I became the R&D Technical Training Manager, a new position designed to help improve new hire training for engineers throughout P&G’s R&D sites in the Far East. I spent the next three years designing and teaching technical courses on topics such as project management, consumer research, statistics, and ethics. I conducted seminars in India, China, Indonesia, Austrailia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Phillipines.

Besides training work I also helped top R&D management with various organizational development activities such as evaluating performance ratings, promotion rates, and job satisfaction.

In 1994 I left P&G and Japan and returned to the U.S. to begin graduate school. Fortunately I got a great offer from the Industrial Engineering department at Stanford, and in the summer of 1995 moved to Palo Alto. As a graduate student I also found time to play music, and was in an amateur bluegrass band callled the Dirt Clods for several years.

In June 2000 I completed my Ph.D. and taught at Stanford for a year before accepting a faculty position at Babson College. I began teaching here in August 2001, promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2007, and served as chair of the Management Division from 2008-2011 and again from May 2014

I currently teach leadership and organizational behavior at the undergrad and MBA level, as well as Executive Education. I continue my research into newcomer socialization, social networks, and experiential learning. I live in Millis, MA with my wife Kathy Harris, daughter Annie, son David, and two cats.