In Memory of Ray Svenson on the Anniversary of his Birth

RIP. July 24,1939 – September 17,2015

Ray was a former Bell Labs engineer. That might tell you a lot. Especially about his intelligence. He was my business partner for 15 years (1982-1997) and was a co-author on a couple of articles (1984) about our methods, and was a co-author with me on 2 books (1994 and 2007).

I met Ray Svenson my 2nd month on the job at MTEC – Motorola’s Training & Education Center (that a few years later became Motorola University – where Six Sigma evolved from a training course) back on July 13th, 1981.

Ray was 3rd in a series of ISD gurus brought to MTEC, a new organization, by Bill Wiggenhorn, our director. The first two gurus were Geary Rummler and Neil Rackham. Ray was doing Strategic Planning for Bill and MTEC – and oriented the new MTEC staff to that – and his concept of Curriculum Architecture.

I adapted his ideas in a project initially titled: The ABCs of Supervision for manufacturing, materials and purchasing audiences (my foci at MTEC). That project evolved into the first Quality Training for those audiences (1981) – and was the project that brought the reading skills deficit of those audiences to Motorola’s management’s attention – leading to a cooperative effort with many local community colleges to address that and other basic, incoming skills deficits needs of the company and its workforce.

18 months later I left MTEC and joined Ray’s 3-person consulting organization – and began an expansion in our product offerings: ISD services. Especially CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design – which became my specialty at R. A. Svenson & Associates. A few years later I became his formal business partner as we expanded the organization and grew to 15-25 staff members.

Here is Ray along with my Motorola – MTEC colleagues, Darlene Gerster and Andrea Moore, at my surprise 30th birthday party at Barbara Warbritton’s way back in August 1982, a couple of months before I left MTEC to join Ray’s firm.

I wrote about him in “My First Friday Favorite Guru Series” – thanking my direct and indirect mentors – Ray Svenson – August 2013 – here.

And when he passed away in September 2015 I wrote about that – here.

My HPT Video with Ray in 2008. This video is 5:56 minutes in length.

My HPT Video with Ray in 2009. This video is 16:42 minutes in length.

I still think about many of the lessons I learned from him – from his approach to Project Plans & Proposals – to how to transport the double-wide flip chart easels and paper rolls through an airport to the airline counter while carrying one’s personal luggage.



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