About Dan (& Henry Ford)

A Quaker upbringing, combined with a business career (in biotech)  have taught Dan the lesson Henry Ford learned almost 100 years ago, when Ford scandalized the business world on January 5, 1914 (but more about that, below).

Dan was born and raised in Richmond, in Wayne County.  His first jobs were delivering the Indianapolis Star and Cincinnati Enquirer on his bike to customers on West Main, and surrounding neighborhoods.  A life-long love of cycling and newspapers are the result.

Dan competed in kite-flying contests at Joseph Moore, and later, in student government.  He was in Miss Arbogast’s algebra class at Dennis Junior High, the day President Kennedy died.

By Dan’s freshman year in college (at Earlham) he realized he wanted to pursue a Business degree, and transferred to IU-Bloomington’s Kelley School.  While still an undergraduate, Dan had his first experience hiring, managing, and meeting a payroll, employing seven fellow students in his Earth Shoe store, in DunKirk Square.  Dan earned his BS in Business, with a focus on Entrepreneurial Studies. (There’s a false report on the Internet that Dan earned a law degree at Harvard.  Not true.  Dan has a certificate from Harvard Law School, not a JD).

Dan’s first job after graduation was managing an Indiana Bell business office.  But most of his career was spent in the Biotechnology industry.  He became a director at Amersham, which was acquired by General Electric, in the largest acquisition in GE’s history.

Dan also participated as CEO at CytoLogic (a medical device start-up), and as a Director at Accuri, a successful high-tech start-up company in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Dan completed his career in Biotech when Accuri was acquired by Becton Dickinson, in 2011.

Dan resides outside of Centerville.  His family includes his wife, Harriet, high-school junior Averi, and Joanne, Harriet’s mom.  Dan’s 98-year-old father, Landrum, is still working (with occasional technical computer help from Dan) and continues to be an amazing inspiration.

Now, back to Henry Ford.   How did Ford scandalize American industry,  and what are the lessons Congress, and American Business needs to re-learn?

On January 5, 1914, Henry Ford earned the scorn of Wall Street and the business community, by doubling wages of his workers overnight.   He was met with alarmist suspicion of being a “socialist”.  But in reality, Ford’s dramatic move earned him the title “Father of the American Middle Class” and simultaneously made him the richest man in the world.  Ford learned that when his employees could afford to buy the cars they made, his business grew exponentially.  

This economic lesson from the “creator of the Middle Class” has largely been forgotten.   

As American wealth becomes increasingly concentrated, the buying power of our Middle Class is reduced.  This extreme concentration will temporarily benefit Gucci, Tiffany, and Rolls Royce, but it harms the overall economy.  

Economic and tax policies that strengthen the luxury market, and weaken the Middle Class, are based  - not entirely on greed – but also on ignorance of Henry Ford’s revelation of 1914 – that a strong Middle Class is a more powerful economic engine, than is a small class of super-wealthy, alone. (When you pay a CEO 400 times what the average worker makes, there’s probably only one CEO in America – Jay Leno – who will buy 400 cars.)  Our economy has always thrived when we have both – a wealthy class, AND a strong Middle Class.

Dan’s career in business has taught him that a strong economy requires a strong Middle Class, and in Congress, he’ll focus on tax, housing and education policies informed by this truth.  A stronger, more affluent Middle Class will actually make the rich even richer, as Henry Ford proved.

"Paying high wages, is behind the prosperity of this country." – Henry Ford

In 2012, paying higher wages also requires a more highly-skilled workforce. Modern manufacturing increasingly requires greater technical and computer skills, which are rewarded by much higher paychecks.  Therefore, deeper and more effective public investments in education are the single most important priority to bring better, higher-paying jobs to the Sixth District.

A final note:  Yes, there are scoundrels in business, as there are everywhere.   Greed exists.  But most business people I’ve met are industrious, extremely hard working, creative, risk-taking, job-creating and often very generous.  They should not be demonized (nor should teachers be demonized). 

However, some of our most successful Americans need a reminder how much Henry Ford was enriched when he created the American Middle Class.

Abraham Lincoln should also be remembered:    “Money possesses no value other than by circulation.”