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Great People In Paging That I Have Met

(In no particular order.)

Richard Freyer AUSTRALIA—cardiologist, software expert, paging visionary
First he became a cardiologist, later while studying advanced cardiology in London, was involved in a very early project to monitor the human heart using a computer. He became frustrated at the programmers' inability to understand physiology, took the computer manuals home, and taught himself programming. He became a world-wide-recognized expert in computer systems. He later became the chief-of-staff at a large university hospital in Australia. Eventually he got bored with medicine and went to Harvard and got an MBA. Then he went into paging and has started and managed many paging companies in several different countries. One time many years ago we were having lunch together in Atlanta. The waitress came to our table and recited the daily specials. He said, "I will take the third one because that one is your favorite." The waitress was shocked and asked him how he knew that particular dish was her favorite. He said, "because you salivated while you were telling me about that one." Before I met Dr. Freyer, I thought only Superman could do things like that.

Bob Webb USA—paging engineer
A genuinely nice guy. Did his master's work with digital audio which was very new at that time. Founded BBL Industries and for a time had over three fourths share of the world's paging terminal market. His background in digital audio enabled him to design one of the first large-scale, efficient tone and voice paging terminals. A quiet, unpretentious gentleman with a very keen mind.

Suresh Gajwani INDIA - USA—corporate executive, entrepreneur, paging visionary
I was impressed when he told me about graduating from an ivy-league school at age eighteen. I was even more impressed to learn that it was a university and not a high school. By age 21, he was at MIT in a combined (fast-track) MS-PhD curriculum. Got bored and got a job in California. Went to night school and picked up an MBA. Became the youngest corporate president ever in the company where he worked. Left the corporate world and started several very successful companies of his own. Thought paging sounded like a good idea and was one of the first operators in the world on the air with the new two-way paging service. He is a rare example of a genius that does not use his superior intelligence like a billy club when dealing with other people. His social graces are as developed as his intellect. He has the ability to interact with ordinary people without making us feel inferior. A nice guy with a wonderful family.

Ricardo Salinas MEXICO—industrial magnate
The third-generation owner of a large chain of retail stores across Mexico and expanding into several other Latin American countries. Also owns one of the national television broadcast channels in Mexico. The magazines say that before he was 40 he was one of the richest men in Mexico. He hires only the very best specialized managers and engineers. One of these engineers once told me that Ricardo always knows more about each subject and project, than the expert that he hired to run it. The first time that I met him was when he had just decided to get into the paging business. He already knew more about paging than anyone I had ever met from outside the industry. He has an undergraduate degree from Monterrey Tech. (Monterrey, Mexico) and a Masters degree from Tulane University. I believe his paging operation is now the largest in Mexico.

Mike Lu BRAZIL - USA—entrepreneur, marketeer, paging visionary
Another nice guy -- and a good friend of mine. Mike is responsible for what the paging industry in Brazil has become today. He caught the vision, very early, of the future of alphanumeric paging. I showed him a prototype of the new Advisor pager in my office when I was international market development manager at Motorola in 1991. I remember pointing to the pager and then to my computer screen and saying, "Mike don't think of this as a pager, think of it as an extension of your computer." I gave him two or three samples. We had to get the General Manager of Paging (Frank Lloyd was the G.M. at that time) to sign a special form to take them out of the factory. Mike took them back to Brazil, got an appointment with the President of Brazil, demonstrated to him how they worked, and gave him one of the samples. After that, the laws in Brazil changed. The importation of finished products was relaxed and a new 900 megahertz paging concession was granted to Mike -- the first ever. The year before Motorola had only exported 306 pagers to Brazil. Now 40 percent of all pagers in Latin America are in Brazil and Motorola ships hundreds of thousands of units each year. Mike made it all happen. He has a great family and I am willing to bet that his son Marcelo will the next "taipan."

Bob Edwards USA—inventor, industrialist, paging visionary
One of the finest human beings that I know. A friend, a confidant, and a mentor. He has invented several very important products. One of them was this idea for a new type of pager that would display a telephone number. He called Motorola and asked them to manufacture it for him. Motorola thanked him and said that they would not be able to build it because there was no market for this kind of pager. (Of course, it became the world's most successful pager ever -- and in short order.) Bob jumped on the next plane to Japan and guess who built the first numeric display pager? He also conceived the idea of alphanumeric display pagers. At one time he owned Hammerlund Radio Corporation (they built military and amateur radio communications equipment), then later he built the largest paging company in the United States: Radio Phone of New York. This is truly a remarkable man. I love his family like it was my own.

Ron Mercer CANADA - USA—paging engineer, paging executive
I am a little embarrassed in putting Ron on my list since we are such good friends and have worked together two different times over the years, but Ron designed the first dial-interconnect automatic paging terminal while working at Bell Canada. He has been president and chairman of a couple of different paging-related-equipment manufacturing operations. He knows a lot about paging. When I grow up, I want to be just like him! But seriously, he has played an important part in the development of the paging industry and deserves to be on this list.

So what have I learned from these special people? Well, I think that smart, and very successful people are generally very pleasant to be around, they are polite, and they treat other people well. If they didn't they wouldn't be able to attract other talented people to help them complete their visions. They are human -- they make mistakes -- just like the rest of us. The really great ones have humility. I know there are many opposite examples of corporate "tough guys" but I hope they are just short-lived exceptions. I trust you will find a little inspiration in the brief descriptions of these people, the same way that I did in meeting them in person. There are many others that should be on my list: Santos Mateo, Jimmy Acosta, Ricardo Baquero, Jay Moskowitz, and Al Konash -- just to name a few. Maybe someday I will expand the list. For now, this is my way of "sending flowers to the living."

Please note: I am going on my sometimes-not-too-reliable memory. I apologize if I got any of the details wrong, misspelled any names, or if anyone takes offense at what I have written here. It is all intended to be very complementary. I didn't include any of the bad guys, and there are lots of them.

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