Yale Class of 1975

YAM Notes: July/August 2020

By Thomas J. Bourgeois

Amid all that marks this calendar year as strange, what stands out to me is the pace of things—by turns excruciatingly slow and alarmingly fast. In the two months since I last addressed you, the days have plodded on even as events, too often tragic, have seemingly galloped past us. I hope you and yours, dear readers, are staying safe and sane. On a selfish note, though I know I’m far from alone in this sentiment, I could really use an in-person class reunion just about now!

News has come from a couple of classmates I would particularly like to have seen at such an event. As you’ll see, both had our 45th on their calendars:

Mark Capaldini, who faithfully updates us, writes, “I’m a part-time small business advisor and executive coach in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area. Active as a Red Cross volunteer, singer in my church choir, and ‘connector’ for local business execs in transition. Drawing on my long business career, I’ve started writing about ‘The Six Essentials for Effective Leadership.’ Traveling a bit inside the US and abroad, with lots of summer weekends at our lakeside cabin in northern Wisconsin. Planning to attend our 45th reunion in May.”

Dick McLaughlin checks in with an impressively thorough account of his life since Yale, as if to make up for his self-confessed laxity as a correspondent: “As social chairman of JE, I came to enjoy the music business, and with Davis Terry and Hal Oppenheimer, started a retail/wholesale musical instrument business in New Haven. After a year or so it was apparent that it wasn’t going to be a financial success, so I moved back to my home near Detroit and joined the Merrill Lynch retail broker training program. I missed Connecticut; so I left Merrill to join the New Haven office of the small regional firm Moseley, Hallgarten & Estabrook to do institutional sales. All my institutional clients knew more about financial markets than I did, so I decided to go back to school for an MBA. On leaving Wharton in ’81, I came to Pittsburgh and joined the finance staff at Mellon Bank.

“For some reason (maybe I was too busy being social chairman at Wharton), I didn’t think much about consulting as a career in business school, but at Mellon I wound up in charge of strategic planning and hired consultants. It looked like an interesting way to make a living, so I looked to see who had offices in Pittsburgh (I had met my wife-to-be at Mellon and knew I wanted to stay for a while), and came across a small, boutique strategy consulting firm called Beddows & Company, that specialized in the iron and steel industry. Based in London, they had opened a Pittsburgh office with a bunch of likable Oxbridge misfits. Founder Rod Beddows was instrumental in the privatization of British Steel, and the niche had little competition. I thought, ‘I don’t know anything about steel, but this could be fun for a couple of years.’ A ‘couple’ has turned into 30-plus years. After about a decade, the Canadian engineering firm Hatch acquired Beddows, and ten years later I left to become managing partner of the consulting practice of the NYC-based steel research and publishing house World Steel Dynamics. I love my work—I learn something new every day, and I never know what I’ll be doing six months from now. Retirement hasn’t entered my mind yet. Clients include steel companies, raw material and service suppliers, customers, banks, private equity, governments, and unions, and represent every continent except Antarctica; and with 2 million air miles and counting, I’ve been able to take some wonderful family vacations at airlines’ and hotel companies’ expense. . . .

“I’ve been happily married for 35 years to Charlotte Behm McLaughlin, now CEO of PNC Capital Markets. Our children are Allison Lee (YC 2010), data analytics manager for the Pac-12 Conference in San Francisco, and married to Yale classmate Brian Twarek (in September 2019 they welcomed Zoe, our first grandchild); Richard Donald III (Penn State 2015), currently writing software at Infosys in Dallas; and Mary Elizabeth (Pitt 2017), in space operations for the Air Force in Colorado Springs. Now we need the air miles to see our kids.

“My favorite Yale memories are too numerous to count. What a unique community! I cherish the memories of some of the smartest, and kindest, people I have ever met. I think of my roommates and friends—you know who you are—often and fondly. I remember staying up too late, having conversations about the cosmos and our place in it. I’ve been a lousy correspondent. I really appreciate our class officers’ efforts to reach out to all of us. I hope one of my visits to NYC coincides with a class lunch, and I enjoy seeing periodic updates on our class. I’ll be at the reunion this year, and I hope to see many old friends!”

I’ll let that last hope linger poignantly, and I encourage our lurkers to follow Dick’s example and come out of the woodwork. I know you have stories to tell.

Daniel Deudney reports, “Main news with me is publication (in late March) of my new book, many years in the making: Dark Skies: Space Expansionism, Planetary Geopolitics and the Ends of Humanity (Oxford). I’m disappointed in the cancellation of all in-person promotion, but it is fortunately not tied to the current news cycle issues.” Daniel is professor of political science and international relations at Johns Hopkins. In 2010, the International Studies Association gave its Book of the Decade Award to his Bounding Power: Republican Security from the Polis to the Global Village (Princeton, 2006). In praise of Dark Skies, Clive Hamilton, professor of public ethics at Charles Stuart University in Canberra and author of Defiant Earth, writes, “Deudney forensically examines the techno-political worldviews on which various kinds of space expansionism rest. He then systematically takes the arguments apart, showing the dreams of space expansionism to be science fiction, military adventurism, and the vanity projects of billionaires. After his tour de force, we are led back to where we began, here on Earth. An essential book that has been a long time coming.”

As always, I welcome your news.