Do you know what I love? Corporations! Some of my favorites are Raytheon, Unisys, Morton Thiokol, AlliedSignal, US West and Ingersoll-Rand. Have you seen the new Archer Daniels Midland annual report? It's amazing!
I don't know what it is about corporations, but I just can't get enough of them. I love the logos, CEOs and products, and I especially love scouring the media for info about them! In the last issue of Forbes, they listed the corporations to watch in '98, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, one of my all-time favorites, was right at the top of the list! I was so excited, I cut the article out, laminated it, and put it up on my bedroom wall next to my "Dow Chemical Cares" poster! (Not to brag, but I was a fan of Bristol-Meyers way back before they even acquired Squibb.)
When I was a kid, Monsanto totally used to be my favorite corporation. I remember staying up and watching television late into the night just to hear its name mentioned at the end of that commercial for its artificial-turf products. In fifth grade, I had the biggest crush on Monsanto CEO Alan Remlinger, and I even sent him an invitation to my birthday party. I was so devastated when he didn't come! I'm not that into Monsanto anymore, but there will always be a place in my heart for it.
If you're ever in my neck of the woods, I'd love to show you my collection of corporation memorabilia. I've got 11 different Honeywell keychains, as well as ones from American Brands, McGraw-Hill and Lyondell Petrochemical. I've also got three SBC Communications sun visors. But my most prized possession of all has to be my Conoco water bottle with the old blue-and-white logo. We're talking pre-takeover here! I hear it's really valuable, but I don't even care how much it's worth, because I would never, ever think of getting rid of it!
I gave away the Warner-Lambert T-shirt I got on my 1983 summer-vacation tour of southern pharmaceutical companies, and I've regretted it every day since. At least I still have other souvenirs of that roadtrip, like the great photos of me in front of the headquarters of Merck, Pfizer, and Pharmacia & Upjohn. What a trip that was!
(I'd better watch myself, or I'll talk your ear off about my tour of Abbott Laboratories headquarters in Houston!)
If I had to choose my favorite corporation today, I'd have to say it's Applied Materials. It makes the best semiconductors! And Applied Materials' CEO, Robert DiVita, has got to be the coolest CEO ever. I heard that at the last shareholders meeting in Tempe, AZ, he said that he's fully committed to making Applied Materials the world leader in electronic components in the 21st century. Is he awesome, or what?
I'm in the process of organizing a Corporations Lovers' Club so that people like me can have a place to talk with other corporation-lovers. In addition to weekly meetings, we'll also take great field trips to places like Weyerhaeuser's paper-processing mill in Monroe, LA, and maybe even sit in on a Rockwell International policy-review meeting. Wouldn't that be something!
But even if I can't organize the club, that's okay, because there's already plenty on my plate: I've got a tour of the Federated Department Stores headquarters lined up, and, as if that isn't enough, I might get clearance to sit in on the company's annual shareholders meeting. If that comes through, I can die happy. If not, I'm still sure to enjoy my special birthday dinner plans in the employee commissary.