In the Beginning

When I first built this page the idea was to offer a preamble to my resume and bio.   Then it occurred to me, the beginning is more than simply about my career it is also about the life forces and cultural elements, surrounding each of us.

I was brought up in the metropolis called New York City.

Taking it back to the beginning I was born in Woman’s Hospital on 110th and Amsterdam.  My father, a french speaking Doctor born in Geneva back in 1925, came to the United States in 1950 to do his internship and residency.   My mother was born in Chicago and brought up on Lookout Mountain, TN.   At six months old we went back to Switzerland.  They met while he was working in Chattanooga Tennessee. The plan had always been for my father to return and  start practicing medicine independently or with with his father in the area around  Geneva.  In 1956 they decided to return to New York City.  We lived in Residence Housing on 114th near St Luke’s Hospital where my father completed his studies.  Once finished, we moved  to the the east side and lived right on central park.  I remember going into my father’s office (82nd between Fifth and Madison) on various Saturdays and be sent with my brothers to wander the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  After a time, now a family of seven, we left the Big City and move to suburbia.  Tenafly, New Jersey became home, 10-15 minutes away from Manhattan, without traffic on a Sunday morning.

Those were good times.  Close to the city and very attached, we grew up enjoying the energy and exuberance of that great city.  High School and the fears of the draft led many of us to campaign for an end to the Vietnam War.  As a young lad I attended summer camp while visiting Grandma.   I took my first trip in an airplane, alone, to visit my aunt in the hills above LA.  Each summer mom took us on a journey to far off places, Canada, cross country visiting the Tetons, Yellowstone, San Francisco and LA, Europe, Iberia and Morocco.  The age of Aquarius led many of us to dream of peace and an end to the Cold War.  Israel and Palestine, a cauldron of bias as religions struggled for dominance and control. All in a world  about to change, as a result of growth in telecommunications, computers and the race to the moon.

The first 4 years an on the job computer sciences degree and executive office experience.  the next 5 years I worked as a project / program manager.  I built trading rooms on Wall Street.  Then off to Europe to build trading rooms in Victoria and the City of London.  This created a reputation of delivering cutting edge solutions constrained by tight budgets, limited execution time frames and complex user requirements.

The next phase of my career lead me to position of leadership and operating at the C level.  The focus was to build a world class transaction processing, clearing and settlement systems while upgrading, enhancing, expanding and operating a 120 end point European network.  A network that moved money, servers consumers and supports merchants.  Requiring 5 nines (99.999%) availability and capacity to absorb seasonal peaks (black Friday).  All managed by driving  quality initiatives, enduring EDP audits, introducing information engineering techniques, striving to innovate and assure product leadership.

In 1993 I got caught up in smart cards, EMV, fraud, identity, credential, certificates and cryptography.  By 2008 I could claim responsibility for the technology in 1.4 billion Bank Cards and 20 million merchant terminals.

Through all of this the challenges of management and the cycles of the economy provided a worldview and global context to my life.  On one occasion, right after moving to Shearson Lehman Brothers and as a result of the huge investment made to support the deregulation of the London stock market, I had to engineer a 35% downsizing.  An interesting memory of what we went through then when reflection on history September 15th, 2008 when  Dick Fuld announced the fall of Lehman.

In 1984 I established PA&A and operated under this logo through some most interesting periods of my career.  I successfully helped business, operations and technology executive identity their opportunities and focus on their issues.  The drive always focused on client value, mentoring product and project team and look for stakeholder returns.

In 2008 I began thinking about Mobile Financial Services circa 2009.

In the Beginning