Episode 39A:

by Vince Ciotti

R.I.P: Bill Corum VP McAuto
© 2011 H.I.S. Professionals, LLC

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 vendor HMDS to pay tribute to this truly wonderful man who left an amazing footprint in our industry. ‡ Computerworld ran this brief notice on the right about Bill making VP way back in June of 1981, during my brief stint at McAuto s HSD. Bill started there in 1957 (that s 30 years with the same HIS vendor!) as an engineering draftsman and then advanced to Deputy Director of Computer Ops in 69. He became Manager of Tech Services in 71, the year HSD was formed. He held an MBA from California State College.

Vice President at McAuto s HSD
‡ Contributing author to this textbook, Bill s promotion to VP at McAuto was amazing: ‡ Chuck Barlow was the only other VP there, as the parent airplane firm had hundreds of VPs and was loath to let out too many titles to such a small subsidiary as HSD... ‡ When Chuck took ill in 81, Bill became the interim exec, and led the firm until Chick s recovery

Truly a Class Act!
‡ When I went to McAuto from SMS in 1980, Bill immediately impressed me as a really unique individual in the HIS world: ± Very intelligent easily one of the smartest and most knowledgeable of the dozens of executives at SMS & McAuto. ± Great Leader his troops would follow him off the proverbial cliff 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 vendor world, Bill never had anything bad to say about anybody ‡ His door was always open, he listened to anyone s problems, and always offered honest and usually spot-on advice on issues... ‡ He car-pooled with Art Randall in a beat-up old Chevy II from their homes in Chesterfield, MO, which he drove as hard as he drove 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 in the late 80s, it was acquired by Systems Associates Inc (SAI), which had been acquired by American Express/First Data Corporation. ‡ Bill left McAuto after over 30 years of loyal service, and joined another HIS-tory hero, Dick Schopp, who you may remember from an earlier HIS-tory installment on HIS Inc. in Brooklyn, NY. ‡ Dick was an early sales maven at McAuto who sold scores of hospitals on HFC before joining me at HIS Inc., where he sold several 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 firm called Healthcare Computing Strategies (HCS) and Bill Corum, his old friend from McAuto, joined Dick as VP and together they grew the firm to over 100 employees and $10M in annual revenues by Y2K.

Last Gig Together
‡ Bill was so sharp that when Y2K threatened, we sub-contracted him for 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 review Y2K preparedness, when a Tropical Storm blew in from Galveston. ‡ Shades of the 1915 hurricane, the Meditech reps had the sense to cancel 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 in Brazosport, having to literally wade through water in the lobby! ‡ Ever the consummate professional, Bill took his laptop into the hospital the next day and started his inventory of PCs while the winds howled outside! I left town early afraid of getting stranded, while Bill kept working until he got all the data needed for his report...

Requiescat in pace
‡ Bill retired from HCS in the mid-2000s, and suffered a number of health problems but, in his loving wife Ellen s words: ´..he once
again bounced back. I couldn·t tell you if he felt as good as he looked and acted or whether it was that positive attitude of Bill·s shining through. In our house of yin and yang, he was the energetic, up-beat one always. For over 56 years I relied on him to keep me lifted up.µ

‡ Bill met Ellen when they were 15, and she has taken over the email account that Bill set up and welcomes notes, so if anyone out there who has other reminiscences about Bill, feel free to email her at: ± ellen@corum.com ‡ Or send her a card at: Ellen Corum 12420 Patricia Drive Cerritos, CA 90703

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