Sad Day in HIS-tory…• Received very sad new this week that Bill Corum,VP at McDonnell-Douglas Automation Company,passed away at his CA home on January 11.• So we’re interrupting our story on micro vendorHMDS to pay tribute to this truly wonderful manwho left an amazing footprint in our industry.• Computerworld – ran this brief notice on theright about Bill making VP way back in June of1981, during my brief stint at McAuto’s HSD. Billstarted there in 1957 (that’s 30 years with thesame HIS vendor!) as an engineering draftsmanand then advanced to Deputy Director ofComputer Ops in ’69. He became Manager ofTech Services in ‘71, the year HSD was formed.He held an MBA from California State College.
Vice President at McAuto’s HSD• Contributing author tothis textbook, Bill’spromotion to VP atMcAuto was amazing:• Chuck Barlow was theonly other VP there, asthe parent airplane firmhad hundreds of VPs andwas loath to let out toomany titles to such a smallsubsidiary as HSD...• When Chuck took ill in‘81, Bill became theinterim exec, and led thefirm until Chick’s recovery
Truly a Class Act!• When I went to McAuto from SMS in 1980, Bill immediatelyimpressed me as a really unique individual in the HIS world:– Very intelligent – easily one of the smartest and mostknowledgeable of the dozens of executives at SMS & McAuto.– Great Leader – his troops would follow him off the proverbialcliff whenever he led a new program or special project.– Hard Working – part of the “Saturday Club” which at SMS &McAuto was a small group of fools who worked Sat. AM…– Nice Guy – considering the dog-eat-dog corporate vendorworld, Bill never had anything bad to say about anybody…• His door was always open, he listened to anyone’s problems, andalways offered honest and usually spot-on advice on issues...• He car-pooled with Art Randall in a beat-up old Chevy II fromtheir homes in Chesterfield, MO, which he drove as hard as hedrove his troops! I could barely keep up with him in my Porsche…
Later Years• When McDonnell-Douglas finally put McAuto’s HSD up for sale inthe late 80s, it was acquired by Systems Associates Inc (SAI), whichhad been acquired by American Express/First Data Corporation.• Bill left McAuto after over 30 years of loyal service, and joinedanother HIS-tory hero, Dick Schopp, who you may remember froman earlier HIS-tory installment on HIS Inc. in Brooklyn, NY.• Dick was an early sales maven at McAuto who sold scores ofhospitals on HFC before joining me at HIS Inc., where he soldseveral hospitals on a system that didn’t exist at the time!– De rigueur today, but an amazing feat in the 80s…• When Dick left HIS Inc, he formed a consulting firmcalled Healthcare Computing Strategies (HCS) andBill Corum, his old friend from McAuto, joined Dickas VP and together they grew the firm to over 100employees and ≈$10M in annual revenues by Y2K.
Last Gig Together…• Bill was so sharp that when Y2K threatened, we sub-contracted himfor one of our gigs at Brazosport Hospital in south Texas in 1998.• Bill and I had a big date with their Meditech reps one day to reviewY2K preparedness, when a Tropical Storm blew in from Galveston.• Shades of the 1915 hurricane, the Meditech reps had the sense tocancel before getting stranded down those low-lying flood plains…• Bill & I on the other hand, ever eager for work (and a billable day!)sloughed through the storm and met at the Holiday Inn inBrazosport, having to literally wade through water in the lobby!• Ever the consummate professional, Bill tookhis laptop into the hospital the next day andstarted his inventory of PCs while the windshowled outside! I left town early afraid ofgetting stranded, while Bill kept workinguntil he got all the data needed for his
Requiescat in pace• Bill retired from HCS in the mid-2000s, and suffered a number ofhealth problems but, in his loving wife Ellen’s words: “..he onceagain bounced back. I couldn’t tell you if he felt as goodas he looked and acted or whether it was that positiveattitude of Bill’s shining through. In our house of yinand yang, he was the energetic, up-beat one always. Forover 56 years I relied on him to keep me lifted up.”• Bill met Ellen when they were 15, and she has taken over the emailaccount that Bill set up and welcomes notes, so if anyone out therewho has other reminiscences about Bill, feel free to email her at:– firstname.lastname@example.org• Or send her a card at:Ellen Corum12420 Patricia DriveCerritos, CA 90703