Reunion registration is now open!
Click here to register.
5 Reasons to Attend Reunion 2014!
1. To eat a lobster on the Quad
2. To connect with old friends and make some new ones
3. To participate in engaging conversations on important topics
4. To Dance the night away - "True, this could be a serious challenge. But the band will be terrific and should inspire it least the tapping of feet at the bar
or a commitment to work out six months before the reunion!" P. Anderson
5. To stay in your old dorm room in Jarvis (They have been renovated!)
DO YOU KNOW WHERE THESE CLASSMATES ARE?
They are LOST or we can not get in CONTACT with them!
John Bailey, Gerry Baran, Bill Barnes, John Corman, Alden Gardner, Dick Hallowell, Bill Hawthorne, Lawrence James, Bob Miller, John Moeling, James Moore, Peter Orr, John Pagnoni, Kenneth Parsons, Robert Peck, Grancis Peckham, Jon Powell, Alan Wallace
If you have any contact information or are any of these folks please contact Kristen Gordon, Associate Director of 50th Reunion Program at email@example.com or at 860-297-2406.
Classmate profile - Bill Burnham
50 years post Graduation
It was the summer of 1963. At 30,000 feet, I was streaking along at 300 MPH over Cape Cod Bay in a T-33 jet trainer with my Air Force flight instructor named Major Hatfield. I was about to have an early term course correction in my pursuit of my supreme desire to fly as a career. The Major put the trainer in a nose dive to strafe a barge anchored in the Bay. We pulled out at 3,000 feet, the g forces pulling on every organ. My stomach emptied and the canopy clouded. I knew that was the end. We landed at Otis AFB. I dragged myself out of the copilot’s seat grasping my little “lunch” bag, saluted Major Hatfield and headed off to another career yet to be defined.
In my senior year I did everything to opt out from the Air Force ROTC program. I had 4 years of service ahead of me. Vietnam was emerging as the next hot spot and our Government did not like playing dominos with Communism. I was told that the Air Force paid for 25% of my college education and I would have to repeat my senior year to earn back confiscated course credits. So, I did the next best thing and entered Columbia Business School as a 2nd Lieutenant under an education deferment. Two years later I graduated as a Captain, having never stepped foot on an Air Force Base.
At Columbia I was given a teacher’s assistant position with the Chairman of the Marketing Department. Afternoons and summers were spent at General Foods in the Maxwell House and Birds Eye Divisions consulting with Brand Managers on the dynamics of buyer behavior and their influences on brand switching. By graduation I had published my first marketing case study on Maxim Freeze Dried Coffee which became a core course at Harvard Business School. In September 1966 after receiving my MBA, my foot dragging came to an abrupt halt. I reported for active duty as a Procurement Officer in Rome….no, not “the” Rome …but Griffiss AFB in Rome, New York. Four years later when I was discharged I was still doing the same job having gone nowhere but to Weston, Vermont where I shared a ski cabin with a bunch of anti-war protesters. Go figure.
In late 1970 I reported back to General Foods to a brand management position promised to me four years earlier. For the next 10 years I thrived in marketing jobs at Birds Eye, Vlasic Foods and lastly at Pepsi Cola Company where I ran brand Pepsi Cola and their aggressive marketing and advertising campaign, The Pepsi Challenge (for which I was the author of another Harvard Business School case study). In 1980, John Scully, the soon-to-be CEO of Apple, and I had our Pepsi Challenge tactical differences. My resignation allowed for another course correction and triggered my entrepreneurial urges.
In 1980 I and my brother bought a small manufacturer of stuffed toys in Norwalk Connecticut called Trudy Corporsation. It prospered with licenses with the four professional sports leagues including the NFL and 70 colleges. It is believed the company was the first to sell T-shirted teddy bears with the logos of sports teams. Trudy grew to become the leading supplier of sales incentives to Fortune 500 companies. It designed and manufactured Charlie the Tuna, Budweiser’s Spuds Mac Kenzie, the Energizer Bunny, the Nestle Quik Bunny, and Del Monte Country Yumkins among others. The Company had 150 employees in Norwalk and 500 contract sewers in Haiti. Animal “skins” were flown back and forth from Haiti on American Airlines every Friday.
In 1987, based on its marketing success in sports licensing and corporate premium sales, the Trudy went public on NASDAQ through an IPO. It continued to flourish until 1990 when, like many U.S. manufacturing companies, inexpensive stuffed toys from China became our Waterloo. After a “Black Friday” of layoffs, the company was reengineered as a children’s educational book publisher. It entered into a semi exclusive license with the Smithsonian Institution to market and sell unique and curatorially accurate stuffed animals based on North American wildlife. The toys were
co-marketed with children’s early reading, science and developmental skill books together with audio readalong tapes under licenses with not just the Smithsonian Institution, but the Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Foundation, WGBH-Boston, Disney and Sesame Workshop.
Revenues grew as the Trudy excelled at international distribution under its Disney educational license. By 2010, the company was publishing in four languages and had distribution in 40 countries. Trudy Corporation was acquired in 2010 by an entrepreneurial private equity firm. I worked for the owners for only six months and at 1 AM one March night in 2011, I was summarily fired by the new owner (who lived in London), locked out of my building (which I owned) and my email address stricken from the web.
Today, I have found a new passion, the hospitality industry. I am a part owner of a boutique hotel, Hotel Zero Degrees-Norwalk, on the former site of our publishing company. My partners and I are about to close on the Putney Inn in Vermont and we have been selected as the developer for West Harford’s one and only hotel in Blue Back Square. This hotel, the Delamar, will have a spa and health club to include a squash court. Yes, Paul Assaiante has volunteered to help design and market the court in any way he can.
I continue to serve on the boards of three nonprofits in Fairfield County, one of which, The Maritime Aquarium, I head the education policies and programs. The most fun and not the least of my passions is consulting with aspiring future business owners under the SBA’s SCORE, an organization of retired business executives that provide pro bono business mentoring. I remember to this day Captain Hatfield, my Air Force flight instructor, and thank him for setting for me a new course.