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Interview with Derrick Sherman, June 16, 2004 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Derrick Sherman, June 16, 2004
June 16, 2004
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Sherman, Derrick. Interviewer: Hayes, Sherman. Date of Interview: 6/16/2004. Series: Southeast North Carolina (SENC). Length: 56 min


Hayes: Today is June 17th, 2004, this is Sherman Hayes, University Librarian, part of our Oral History project at UNCW, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Randall Library, and we're interviewing Derrick Sherman for the second time, not to redo it but to add value. And Derrick we were trying to cover nearly 90 years in two hours galloping through your life and you’ve asked to come back and just recap and go over a few other things right.

Sherman: I want to tell you some other things in which I was involved, which I didn't speak to before.

Hayes: Right we were all getting a little tired I think after two hours of talking. So what were some of the ones that you wanted to put on the record for us today?

Sherman: Well uh.. I had not said anything about any kind of volunteer activities in which I was engaged.

Hayes: Oh excellent.

Sherman: And uh.. one of those was the Boy Scouts, as a committee man in New York, in Flushing Queens where we lived, and then as a Merit Badge counselor in Pittsburgh.

Hayes: Were your sons going through at the time?

Sherman: My son was going through at the time.

Hayes: And so you got involved like many Dads do.

Sherman: Yes.

Hayes: And how many years did you stay in that then?

Sherman: Oh I was involved uhm.. even beyond when he became an Eagle Scout.

Hayes: Oh he was an Eagle Scout wow.

Sherman: Yes, yes, and I actually had uh.. only one more merit badge to go and he would've had uh.. two- two palms I think it was, whatever they call the advance beyond eagle.

Hayes: When somebody becomes and Eagle Scout, does that put a lot of pressure on the parents to do a lot of extra, or is mostly on the child to do that work?

Sherman: No, the-- well you obviously have to have the environment to encourage them to do it. But that’s no great burden, and uh.. he was very interested, and uh.. you know, there are many times they say that uhm.. they go into Boy Scouts until they wake up there are girls around <laughs>. And uh.. that was not the case with him. Uh.. but he and I both had a good time uh.. in the Boy Scouts.

Hayes: So you did all the out in the woods and the camping, or was it more city?

Sherman: Well we did camping, well we-- this was in Milevin [ph?] in Pennsylvania, which is a s- 40,000 uh.. inhabitant uh.. suburb of- within the south hills of Pittsburgh. It's a very fine community.

Hayes: Did you ever go to one of the national camps out in the west, is it Fremont?

Sherman: He went to a camp out in New Mexico, and uh.. I'll never forget uhm.. we- course they went out by bus, he went with a couple of friends, and uh.. I said don’t forget when you go to Kansas City, if you can do so, have a Kansas City sna- steak, steak. So uhm.. he did that and uh.. when they came- when it came-- he had a wonderful time and when they came back from there we- we met him in Chicago, because we were spending uh.. a few days with friends over on uh.. Lake Michigan, on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. And he was the dirtiest kid <laughs>, I don't know, you know, they- they stopped in Kansas City like you- like I had suggested to him, but then just as soon as they got their steaks the bus driver called out that they were leaving so they had to- they just picked up the steaks in their hands <laughs> and carried ‘em and uh.. to the uh.. bus and went on from there. But he had a great time, and uhm.. I'm sure he valued the experience, this was at uh.. Raton, New Mexico. And uhm.. beyond the scouting I was involved in Milevin in Pennsylvania in the planning commission, uhm.. I was involved in it for 13 years, 10 of which I served as a chairman.

Hayes: Tell me what does that mean, a citizen’s group or?

Sherman: A citizen’s group advising the elected representatives uh.. of the community on uhm.. application of the zoning laws, and things that the community would accept.

Hayes: That sounds kind of controversial to me, was it controversial sometimes?

Sherman: Oh many times it was, yes. Uh..

Hayes: What kind of issues came up there?

Sherman: We had five men, no women at this time, five men but- but we had a female advisor, professional planner, and uhm.. one was an architect, uh.. one was a uh.. a construction engineer, uh.. one was a businessman like I was, he was in uh.. actually in financial services, and uhm.. that’s four, and then there was another one, I've kind of forgotten what he did. But uh.. we uh.. when someone wanted to do a development they submitted their plans to the community and the planning professional staff comprised the director of public works and a professional planner, a lady who was very good at it, and uh.. of course we had the uh.. elected people as well, and sometimes they participated with us and sometimes they didn't. And uhm.. I will say in the whole uh.. 13 years that I was on the planning commission the elected people never walked away from us, in other words they didn't override what we recommended.

Hayes: But sometimes you disagreed with their recommendation, did they recommend something to start with?

Sherman: No, uh.. they submitted the plans to the professional staff and this professional staff submitted uh.. to the planning commission. And of course the professional staff took note of whether or not they uhm.. met the law, requirements of the law, uh.. and the zoning law, this- of the uh.. town, and uhm.. so uhm.. we simply reviewed what these people wanted to do and uhm.. also to see if it within the requirements, legal requirements, and uhm.. we then would recommend uh.. whether or not approval should be given to the developer by the elected representatives. This was a five person planning commission, and uh.. elected by various sections of the town, representing the 40,000 people that lived there.

Hayes: So that was another group that you recommended to?

Sherman: We recommended to the elected representatives, and the elected representatives then had uh.. well we had a public hearing, and <clears throat> drew our own conclusions from that based on a public hearing uhm.. and our own uh.. technical analysis we recommended approval or disapproval to the elected representatives. And as I said, they never in all the time that I served there, and I don’t attribute this to anything I personally did, but in the planning commission recommendations were never turned down. For example, uh.. we had a case here in New Hanover County, I noticed a few years ago, where the elected representatives got rid of the first planning commission because it didn't like the recommendation, and then they got rid of another one that they didn't like the recommendation, so finally they got one that woke up to the fact of what the commissioners wanted and then they approved it, so.

Hayes: So the group that you recommended to were like our county commission, that kind of thing?

Sherman: Yes.

Hayes: The politicians?

Sherman: Yes, it was like the uh.. council of the city of Wilmington.

Hayes: But there has to have been tremendous pressure for the developers on you folks, could they sue you if you didn't agree?

Sherman: No, no, well I guess they could've, but we never had any problems with that. Uh.. I remember one particular situation there was a developer, his name was Ryan, and he built uhm.. Ryan Homes, he would acquire a large track of land and then he would build homes to go on that, and many people in this community, some of whom were just outright snobs, uhm.. looked down their noses at the product- product of the- this developer by the name of Ryan. And they uh.. were not happy with the way he did things, and uh.. although there was absolutely nothing wrong with what he did uhm.. but the houses that he made were not quite as expensive as some of the other houses, and people didn't like that. So there was a situation that uh.. occurred where he got a piece of property right in the middle of a number of more expensive homes and he proposed to develop it, and it was a horseshoe shaped-- created a horseshoe shaped road uh.. and it was somewhat on the side of a hill. Of course there are many hills in Pittsburgh. So uhm.. the neighborhood were aroused, they were against him developing anything there, and so we had our professional staff bring out the assessed valuation of the nearest neighbors, each of their houses, and when we had the public hearing we had that information posted in front of our table, and the people who came in said that’s dirty pool, you shouldn't do that. Well anybody can go to the public record and <laughs> see what the assessed valuations are so we didn't do anything that was wrong, but uh.. we got that-- we- we approved it and uhm.. the commissioners approved it and it's been developed and it's a very fine location and the houses are every bit as good and in some instances better than some of the neighbors, you know. So.

Hayes: What kept you going all that time, you weren't making any money on this, why did you do it?

Sherman: It was a volunteer activity.

Hayes: But many people would run away from one that had controversy involved, you just felt a civic duty?

Sherman: Well I guess it must’ve been, but I never thought much about it, it was a job I liked doing and I continued to do it. And uhm.. going beyond that I got involved with the United Way in Pittsburgh, uhm.. the uh.. chairman of our company at that time, Aiken Fisher by name, was deeply involved in the creation of the United Way and uh.. in the hospitals and-- so any kind of civic activity that uhm.. the uh.. officers of the company uh.. saw fit to be involved in, it was welcomed by the company. And uhm.. I was uhm.. on one of the committees, one of the finance committee, the budget committee, and then I was treasurer of it, and later on uh.. in one of the agencies the uh.. Alleg- Alleghany County Rehabilitation Center where they trained uh.. handicapped people, and also produced goods uhm.. I was first vice chairman of that board and then I was chairman of that board for a year. And then that was just prior to my retiring and so course I left it after one year. But uhm.. it was also a fun activity, and uh..

Hayes: Do you think that some of this- You’ve been involved in churches your whole life, do you see this as just a normal extension of somebody who is religious, committed? The Reform tradition is that you also contribute to your community is that a logical statement?

Sherman: Oh yeah, I think so.

Hayes: I'm not trying to put values into your mouth.

Sherman: I was a Deacon and an Elder in the Dutch Reform Church in Flushing, New York, which is the first church we went to. I had spoken about that church uh.. in my previous uh.. tape. And uh.. <clears throat> then uhm.. when we got to Pittsburgh and one Presbyterian church, the Beverley Heights United Presbyterian Church, I was an Elder in that church, and superintendent of the Sunday School. And then later on we chose to leave that church and go to another Presbyterian church in the same town because <clears throat> the first one was much too conservative for us. And uhm.. so uh.. I soon became an Elder in the Second Presbyterian church and uh.. then was head of the personnel committee.

Hayes: Was that the name of it, the Second Presbyterian Church?

Sherman: No, it was the South Minster Presbyterian Church.

Hayes: Haven't you see that sometimes in a town where they'll have the First Presbyterian and the Second Presbyterian and the Third Presbyterian. I always find that…

Sherman: Well we had uh.. in this town we had, uh.. let's see, we had four of ‘em, four different uhm.. they weren't numbered. The first one I was talking about was Beverley Heights Presbyterian Church, the second one I'm talking about was South Minster Presbyterian Church, and there were at least two others besides that. Course Pittsburgh is this heart of Presbyterianism in the United States, because the Scotsmen came over there to build- to make steel, and that’s where the uh.. Presbyterian Church really was the bedrock of the community, despite the fact that there were 19 or 20 different nationalities of people uhm.. who have been uh.. whose- whose families had emigrated into the Pittsburgh area.

Hayes: There's really a melting pot because of the factories and so forth right?

Sherman: That's right, 'cause they were there to make steel and glass, which were the big uh.. industries, of course uh.. the H.J. Heinz Company is there, which is a food processor, and uhm.. there were two Presbyterian theological seminaries and when- one was the original United Presbyterian Church, which was a uh.. very conservative Scottish denomination. And then when the uh.. merger of the north and the south took place then they merged the two uh.. theological seminaries into the Pittsburgh Theological Cemetery-- Seminary, which it is now.

Hayes: It's still there?

Sherman: It's still there. And uh.. much like the one up in Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, which is a Presbyterian uhm.. it's a Union Theological Seminary, it's uh.. adjunct with uh.. Colombia University in New York.

Hayes: Right, that’s different.

Sherman: And uh.. <clears throat> that trains ministers for several different denominations. These that I'm talking about trained ministers just for the Presbyterian Church, like the one at uh.. <clears throat> in at Princeton, because it's not part of Princeton University, but it is Princeton, New Jersey. So uhm.. I was involved in that for several years and uh.. until I moved to uh.. to uh.. Herington south of Chapel Hill in 1983, and I wasn’t active there but then when I came down here in 1988 uh.. we joined the First Presbyterian Church here, down on uh.. South uhm..

Hayes: Fifth isn’t it?

Sherman: Yeah, well it's South Third Street, uhm.. 125 South Third Street. And uh.. I- I got involved with the- the uhm.. building and grounds committee there, and also later the personnel committee. I'm not involved in any of it now and I don’t plan to be involved in it.

Hayes: Now I’m always curious, cause I’m in the same kind of position. If you're in a management type position organizations always want you to do that, but you still enjoyed it, some people would say they wouldn't want to do that because it's different.

Sherman: It was not a burden, it was something that I enjoyed doing.

Hayes: Because you really were in management anyway.

Sherman: Yes.

Hayes: That's what you did all day long.

Sherman: Well I was in the world of work I uh.. became a vice president of the company about 1960, I guess it was, and uh.. and I retired- when I retired I was in the senior management, still vice president, but in the senior management of the company. And uh.. I had a great time, it was a fun activity, and uh.. going on and doing things in the community uhm.. and in the church was uh.. something that I enjoyed doing, and I did a lot of work in there.

Hayes: I think in the earlier tape we talked about your wife was just as involved in activity after activity.

Sherman: Yes, yes she was.

Hayes: Was there ever a call for a hobby other than this, or was volunteering your other passion?

Sherman: Well I uh.. I took care of a house, uh.. and uh.. I also did woodworking.

Hayes: Really what was that, what kind of woodworking did you do?

Sherman: Oh I made bookgr- bookcases and bits of furniture and that kind of thing.

Hayes: And you said you traveled a lot, that takes a lot of time.

Sherman: We traveled a great deal, yeah. We've been around the world three times, we visit many countries each time, and uhm.. and we were fortunate enough-- I- I had a uh.. superior who uh.. was very uhm.. conscious of family life, and uhm.. our- our son had been recruited from the Harvard Business School by- by uhm.. Citibank and he wanted to be in their international banking, and uh.. within six months they sent him to the Philippines. In the meantime they had their first child and we had not seen the child, he was 15 months old and uh.. so I talked to my boss about taking the time to go out and see the grandson, uh.. great-grand-- no grandson. And uh.. so in due course well we conceived a trip of 35 days, and uh.. along the way I stopped at various agencies that were representing the company, so it was kind of a combination of business and uh.. oh I was more or less a goodwill ambassador. So I visited uhm.. people in uh.. Japan and in uh.. Singapore, and uh.. and a couple of other countries.

Hayes: So your company based out of Pittsburgh had a big international component.

Sherman: We had a- an international operation, but it was based in Pittsburgh. Now it's uh.. quite a different company, and uh.. it operates around the world and when I left it our sales were just under a billion dollars, now they're one of the Fortune 500 companies.

Hayes: And the name again of that company?

Sherman: Fisher Scientific Company. They provide everything for the chemical laboratory, for example the state of North Carolina has a- have had at least, and I think they still do, a contract with Fisher to provide the uhm.. laboratory equipment supplies reagent chemicals to the universities here, as well as any other uh.. laboratory facilities that the state has.

Hayes: In a sense, if it was such a big company did you find yourself becoming an internal consultant so to speak, because you had that background?

Sherman: Exactly, and that was the primary thrust of the things that I did. Uhm..

Hayes: Project oriented almost every time?

Sherman: A lot of it was. On the other hand I managed the uh.. I had the responsibility for managing the uh.. real estate in the city of Pittsburgh, including a 250,000 square foot office building.

Hayes: What does that mean, the responsibility for managing? I don’t know what that…

Sherman: Well, we owned the office building, we occupied it all, and uh.. we had a staff of men and women who maintained it.

Hayes: And they all worked for you?

Sherman: And they all worked through a building manager for me.

Hayes: Oh, what other kinds of real estate did they have, did they own additional real estate as a company?

Sherman: Well we had uh.. we had other real estate in Pittsburgh, we had a number of private houses that were contiguous on the property, contiguous with us, which we owned, and- and those were rentals. And uh.. we also uh.. I also had a responsibility for a 350,000 square foot warehouse over in uh.. Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Hayes: This was one of your distribution warehouses?

Sherman: This was uhm.. a distribution warehouse, a master distribution warehouse. It was the warehouse for our reagent chemical inventories which were in uhm.. the company that uh.. processed those and manufactured ‘em, was in Fairmont [ph?], New Jersey, and uhm.. we uhm.. stocked all of- all of their production and we had uhm.. created an online real time computer system back in the 1960s, and when we brought it online finally it was the only other one other than the Saber system that that IBM had helped develop for American Airlines. We were uh.. we were a prime mover in that field, now it's second, it's all fact.

Hayes: It's all now.

Sherman: Yeah.

Hayes: Did you get pulled into that project with everybody else?

Sherman: I was the leader of the project, yeah.

Hayes: Oh really? What was involved with that? I know it seems like ancient history to computer world.

Sherman: This is back in the 60s, and uh.. I think I would be responsible for conceptualizing it, along with others, but I was the leader in that community, and we traveled to visit other companies who had computer systems, uhm.. the only time I've been in Wisconsin for example was when we visited Racine to see the uhm.. company out there that occupies the building that Frank Lloyd Wright designed, it was a very advanced uhm.. type of office building with all of the troops all scattered all over one floor and then the management was in the balcony above and nobody had a private office but they had conference rooms where they could carry on private conversations they needed to off the balcony. And uh.. this was S.C. Johnson Company, the people who make a variety of products that- with which I'm sure you're familiar. And uh.. we finally uh.. we had had a IBM system with a 1401 computer, but we thought we ought to look around further than IBM, which we did, and we looked at RCA and we looked to uh..

Hayes: Do you know if Honeywell was going then?

Sherman: We looked at Honeywell and uh..

Hayes: There weren't too many, I mean it wasn’t like today.

Sherman: And uh.. we looked at uhm.. IBM of course and uh.. there may have been one other one, but I don’t remember what it was.

Hayes: Was Univac going then?

Sherman: Well yes, and we had-- oh and we look at Burroughs too.

Hayes: Burroughs yeah.

Sherman: Yeah. And uh.. we of course looked at Univac, but we finally settled on IBM and designed our system using the IBM equipment. And it was based around some pioneer work that I had done which was what- what I was retained to do when I went to work for Fisher back in 1958. I had spent uh.. the better part of a year <clears throat> introducing uhm.. time standards in clerical work that I mentioned in my previous tape, and uhm.. the uhm.. diagrams I drew of the various procedures that were represented by the time standards were used as a basis for doing the programming for the uh.. online real time computer.

Hayes: And what was this computer system trying to do, track actual orders?

Sherman: Precisely, to mainly carry our inventory, you see we had an inventory uhm.. our catalog, which is still published today, but published in some volumes, I don't know whether you’ve got any of them in the library here or not, but uh.. I'm sure they- they’ve got ‘em in the chemistry department, they’ve got ‘em in the biology department, got ‘em in the physics department, and it's uhm.. the inventories were all done on uh.. cards, and when an order came in the order went past this uh.. inventory setup and the clerk would deduct the amount of the uh.. order from the card and create a new balance and uh.. and pass it on to the next person who had the next part of the inventory records. And so we got that organized so that when we entered an order we entered it in the computer and it deducted the inventory automatically, and also it automatically, 'cause we didn't have the stock items, we didn't stock items in every place, but it would automatically take the order to where it could be shipped.

Hayes: Oh excellent.

Sherman: Which is old hat nowadays.

Hayes: Yeah but it's almost like that early Just In Time kind of inventory, so you didn't have to have as much--

Sherman: That's right.

Hayes: On hand.

Sherman: That’s right. And we tried to tie up uh.. potential customers in- in that kind of arrangement, so that we would be their exclusive source, and then we tried to develop the customer service level that they could count on, and that worked out very well.

Hayes: You were the dominant supplier in the field as a distributor or supplier, some of it was your own material but who were other competitors, who were you up against as far as other companies?

Sherman: Another company would've been E.H. Sargent Company.

Hayes: I think I've heard of that.

Sherman: And uh.. another one would've been uhm.. out on the West Coast, I've forgotten the name of that company.

Hayes: Well what about some of the big American chemical, were they drifting over into your area or not?

Sherman: Well, uhm.. we were selling their stuff. We- we were the distributors for them, for example, we were distributors for Coyne Glass Company’s laboratory glassware.

Hayes: But they didn't decide to set up their own network.

Sherman: No.

Hayes: I don't know if they have since.

Sherman: No they haven't.

Hayes: Would you say that the industry that you were in, this scientific materials and equipment is even though you’ve been gone for 25 years it's still 20 years similar, is it still the same kind of industry?

Sherman: I would say it's a similar industry yes.

Hayes: Of course they have the web now and another step forward technologically.

Sherman: Yes, yes.

Hayes: But the companies haven't decided to distribute their own.

Sherman: No.

Hayes: They still use this--

Sherman: They still use companies like Fisher, and our competitors.

Hayes: And it's expensive to set your own network up, is that what the problem is?

Sherman: Well that’s one of the problems, and then they don’t have the- it's expensive to acquire all the inventory. And uh.. plus the inventory is a huge investment, and we- we manufactured about 25 percent of the products that we sold and the other 75 percent we jobbed or we dis- we distributed them.

Hayes: Was there an obsolescence problem in this area, science changes so quickly, did you have an inventory that you got stuck with on a regular basis or not?

Sherman: We had inventory that we had to write off from time to time, yes. I don't know of any business that doesn't, but uh..

Hayes: I wondered because if it was scientific material if it was a bigger problem, but it doesn't sound like it.

Sherman: I don’t think it's a bigger problem, course I've been away from this business since 1983, so there are a lot of things that I don’t know anything about.

Hayes: And you're not looking to go back into it right?

Sherman: No, no, I'm not. After all I'll be 90 on October 2nd and uh.. enough’s enough, yeah.

Hayes: So, how do you feel sometimes when you go out and see a Fisher product, do you feel pretty good about still seeing those out there?

Sherman: Oh yes, yes, no in 19- uhm.. in 1980 we sold the company to uhm.. uh.. the company headquartered in New Jersey, uhm.. the name of it doesn't come to me at the moment, but it's a big, big company, and uhm.. Fisher was gonna be their fifth major product line. Uhm.. this was uh.. a chemical company.

Hayes: Yeah, I wondered, yeah.

Sherman: And uhm.. then in the course of uh.. several months the company got involved while Bendix came into play, and uhm.. this company thought that they- they suddenly changed direction and thought they'd like to be in the business of being a uhm.. primary contractor to the Department of Defense. And uh.. so in changing direction then they had Fisher, what to do with Fisher, and they had a number of other companies, it was a co- a conglomerate. So one of the men who was in the top management of the acquiring company, in Fisher, he said “Well why don’t I take those companies and I'll create a- I'll take ‘em away from here and I'll create another group and uhm.. headquarter it elsewhere and then uh.. develop it and see where we go from there.” Well, in the course of events they added some other companies to Fisher and they took some away and one thing and another, and then ultimately Fisher was put back on the big board by itself, where it is today.

Hayes: It's publicly traded then?

Sherman: It's a publicly traded company, and it's uh.. a worldwide operation, uh.. they have acquired a number of other companies and uh.. they are ex- expanding to suit the needs of all kinds of scientific businesses, as well as hospitals and K through 12 grade instructional materials in science. Uh.. we- when I was there we had K through 12 instructional materials, but they’ve expanded that materially.

Hayes: I would guess that a growth area of that, hospital and medical must be a huge growth area.

Sherman: It is, it is, and of course laboratory furniture is another big part of their business. And I thought of uhm.. when I was with Fisher we had a big sale of laboratory equipment and furniture to Nigeria, and they were gonna create a whole system of uhm.. junior colleges, two year colleges. And so the products that they were buying, course they were getting the money from the oil that they were selling, the products that they were buying uhm.. and ready for shipment we had, let's see, we shipped 17 DC7 loads of uh.. material to Nigeria.

Hayes: Airplane load, DC7?

Sherman: Yeah. And uh.. the uhm.. packages for the individual junior colleges had to be uh.. fixed so that they could be on mule back to take ‘em to where they were gonna go, and of course then they got into a revolution and all that kinda thing but- but this was after they had bought and paid for the uh.. products that we sold to them.

Hayes: Interesting.

Sherman: And we sold a big lot of laboratory furniture to uh.. Saudi Arabia to equip their huge uhm.. schools that they were gonna create at the university in Riyadh and they had another re- uh.. another university or two. So we sold ‘em all the laboratory furniture for those places. We had quite a s- sizable international business, b- based in New York and Pittsburgh. And uh.. well I spent 27 years there and uh.. I have to say that I had fun all the time, as a matter of fact my whole career I had fun, I always looked forward to going to work every day, and uh..

Hayes: Fun in what sense?

Sherman: It was pleasure. It was pleasure to be on the job.

Hayes: Intellectually challenging?

Sherman: Oh yes.

Hayes: Liked the people?

Sherman: Yeah. And uh.. you also touched on it, I was an internal consultant in the general management of the company, as a matter of fact I was Vice President of Management Services, and uhm.. in the senior management of the company, and uh.. like banks we had a lot of vice presidents, but uh..

Hayes: Hopefully they paid you better than banks.

Sherman: The banks pay pretty well today.

Hayes: Today, but that old story is instead of a raise they gave you another title.

Sherman: Yeah, well, I remember when I first started work back in 1936 a uh.. senior teller in the Bank of Manhattan Company was paid $35 a week, and uh.. of course the leadership of the bank, they were fat cats. And I had a f- very good friend who was my best man when we were married uh.. who became a Bank of Manhattan Company uhm.. teller and he told me about his salary. Well I- when I started to work, and I started work and I told him he'd be bought for $20 a week, and was thankful to have the job. So, in every job that I had, and I had seven different companies that I worked for, 15 of which was Professional Management Consulting, uhm.. the first with uhm.. Ernst-- what was Ernst and Ernst then, now it's Ernst and Wade, and uh.. with uh.. Cressup [ph?], McCormack and Paget, which was a total management consulting firm. We didn't have any uh.. accounting wing at all. Course now having the two of them together is a no-no they're- they're separating ‘em out. Uhm..

Hayes: Because of the conflict of interest issue right?

Sherman: That's right.

Hayes: The recent scandals.

Sherman: That's right. But of course when I was in it they thought the- the uhm.. accountants would see some things that need to be done and would go to the partner’s attention and the partner would talk to the client about the management advisory services that they could provide to sort things out. And uh.. so I've gone into a lot of different kinds of businesses, I've said many times that I've been in all kinds of businesses from making women’s corsets to building locomotives, and uh.. that's literally true.

Hayes: Did we finish volunteers? You know we got off on a sidetrack there.

Sherman: I think I've covered volunteers.

Hayes: I think in the last tape you mentioned that even out in your current residence you signed up for duty right?

Sherman: No I uh.. I've been uh.. I just gave it up, and I've been involved with building and grounds for 12 years at least, 10 of which I've been chairman of the building and grounds committee.

Hayes: It sounds to me like management services is what you always liked to do whether you got paid or not.

Sherman: That's true, that’s true. Now I'm involved in a uh.. committee, another committee where I'm gonna just be the means of getting something done, nothing that I create or anything of the sort, but uh.. we have a uh.. display cabinet and uhm.. we have changing displays in it. The committee that's been doing it for the last two years has had enough, so they’ve created a new committee and they were having trouble getting people to do it and I said “Well, I'll be glad to be on the committee to do the scut work,” and uh.. that’s not a par- that’s not a uh.. term that many people hear.

Hayes: I know, you might explain what that is, scut work.

Sherman: Well that’s the means of getting something done, uhm..

Hayes: Real work.

Sherman: Well, uh.. it isn’t the creative, you know, and I will do what I'm asked to do, I'm not going to create it.

Hayes: You might help put it together though.

Sherman: Yeah.

Hayes: Build the little things.

Sherman: Yeah, I will.

Hayes: Put up the display.

Sherman: I will.

Hayes: Do the lettering.

Sherman: That's the- course the lettering will all be done on a computer and we have somebody to do that. And uh.. <clears throat> so I will uh.. I will move things around and uhm.. arrange uh.. a presentation in a uh.. case and take down the one that was there previously and so forth and so on, uh.. as I said, the scut work, which term doesn't seem to be known around here.

Hayes: I know it, so that’s fine. Other areas that you wanted to cover? We’ve done great with that, any other?

Sherman: Well I uh.. I- I left off after I- I told you about going to work for Ernst and Ernst in New York, then I was recruited out of there, well I moved out of there of my own accord, because I wanted to get paid more money, and it didn't look like I was gonna get it there. So I was able to get a position with- after seven and a half years with uh.. in manage- management advisory services there, I was there in opposition with uhm.. Cressup, McCormack and Paget, which was a relatively new consulting firm, the uh.. Richard Paget had been a partner in Booths Alan Hamilton, and uh.. Mark Cressup had been a partner of Booths Alan and Hamilton, those are consulting firms, a consulting firm based in Chicago, and uh.. Willard McCormack uh.. had a- had been uh.. involved in the navy with uh.. one or both of these men, because uh.. when Richard Paget was 28 years old s- under our uh.. Secretary of the Navy Knox, invited him to come to Washington and be secretary of uh.. to be uh.. management engineer of the navy, which would've been on his staff. So he did that, and Mark Cressup was a uh.. officer in the army and he was directly under General Somerville in the management of logistics for the uh.. army during the Second World War. And uh.. Lord McCormack had worked with Richard Paget in the navy. So when the war was over they decided that they wanted to combine into a partnership and hang out their shingle to do consulting work.

Hayes: After World War Two was that a new industry, an explosive industry as far as growth?

Sherman: Well I think there was a lot of growth in it yes, because they had uh.. there had been those kind of businesses before World War Two.

Hayes: It seems like after World War Two there was lots of government money coming out and companies were trying to get back on their feet.

Sherman: Yes, that’s right. And uh.. Mackenzie and Company, which is one of the leading consulting firms today, uhm.. they had existed uh.. as Mackenzie Kearney prior to the Second World War, and uh.. J.O. Mackenzie had been a one that uh.. was retained by Marshall Field to get them back into profitability, and he had uh.. dismantled their wholesale division and left it with manufacturing in the retail stores. And subsequently they went away from manufacturing, so it became just the retail business. I don't know anything about it today.

Hayes: I think it's a huge industry, I know a lot of it's based out of Boston now, Boston has very, very big consulting.

Sherman: Yes.

Hayes: Many times it's tied to where there's universities, New York, Boston, Chicago, in other words they want the talent.

Sherman: Yes.

Hayes: Your son, did he ever consider consulting as a career move?

Sherman: Well he's a consultant now.

Hayes: He is?

Sherman: Oh yes. Uh.. when he left the chairmanship of this company that he was in in Singapore he went to work in financial services consulting.

Hayes: But he stayed in Singapore?

Sherman: But he stayed in Singapore. And uh.. he has- still has some kind of a tie with the company he was with but I- I think he's a director of the company that he was with.

Hayes: And your daughter’s in publishing right, technology and publishing?

Sherman: No, she's-- well she's in uh.. lab-- or uh.. computer software. She's in the management side of this company. First she was the administrator of the- their operations in Europe, comprising branches in uh.. or headquarters in Frankfurt and then branches in Switzerland and Austria and Spain and England and Belgium and in- and England, in London. And uh.. now she's uh.. she's gonna retire from there, this year, there, the company’s owned by the Japanese, and uh.. she's gonna retire from there and uh.. she'll be uh.. she's coming here to live in Wilmington, as I think I told you.

Hayes: Right.

Sherman: And uh.. right now she's negotiating her departure. But she's gonna be here in October.

Hayes: What do you attribute the fact that your son has such a longevity in Singapore, that seems like such a long ways away?

Sherman: Well I think he likes what he's doing, in a marketplace that uh.. he's very familiar with, because he's working for clients in uh.. Singapore, uh.. in uh.. Indonesia, in Malaysia, in Thailand, in Hong Kong, uh.. in uh.. Korea. And he worked in Korea during the first part of his career, he worked in Thailand in the first of his career, as well as in Japan and uhm.. Hong Kong and uh.. and subsequent to that uh.. he was transferred to Europe and he was head of Citibank in Italy and head of Citibank in Germany.

Hayes: Has he found himself trying to learn additional languages through all this traveling?

Sherman: The language of- the language of business is English.

Hayes: So he's okay.

Sherman: Yeah. His wife is multi-lingual, his wife is a Swedish national, she's now a United States citizen, but she was born and brought up in Sweden, she speaks about five European languages. And when she went out to Asia she made a point of learning the local language so she could talk to the servants.

Hayes: So she speaks a variation of Chinese of some sort?

Sherman: I'm sure she does, she would've picked up in Hong Kong and Thai in uh.. in Thailand and uhm.. the local language in the Philippines and Korean in South Korea.

Hayes: That's great, do you ever look back and wonder, so many children and grandchildren go the opposite way of their parents as far as careers, and here your whole family seems to be very successful business people?

Sherman: Well--

Hayes: It doesn't matter, I'm just saying as a curiosity.

Sherman: I might’ve been influential, but indirectly influential, because uh.. we had a very happy family life, and uh.. still have a very happy family life. And uh.. if you can attribute that or base that somewhat on the occupation the father has probably I get some credit for that.

Hayes: Well I think also it sounds to me like you valued the work itself, which is a lesson that we all can learn from, whatever the field is.

Sherman: Yes.

Hayes: If you value and enjoy that work it's worth everything.

Sherman: As I said, I had a good time throughout my career of some 47 years, and uh.. that doesn't mean that every day was- was golden, but uh.. I- I always looked forward to going to work every day, whether I was home or whether I was away from home. And uh.. I've been very thankful to have had that opportunity, and very thankful for all the opportunities that I- have been presented to me, I tried to make the most of ‘em.

Hayes: That's it.

#### End of Tape 5 ####

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