Super Man On The Move

(Excerpts from the Chapter 6 of the Book)

400_img_0531In April 1972, he founded General Associates, Inc. Once again, he wanted to be his own person and experience the challenge of growth. He started by representing other companies’ products in the field of data communications. During a sales visit to a large client, he noticed a bid offering from the Western Union Telegraph Company on the client’s desk. He asked the client about the offering and was told that they had no interest and he was welcome to the bid offering.In 1975, Western Union placed all of the teleprinter inventory up for bid. Western Union was moving in a new direction of business, utilizing satellite services. General Associates was the successful bidder and acquired twelve thousand teleprinters for pennies on the dollar. Now, he had a business! He was in the used and refurbished TWX and TELEX teleprinters business and became the distributor of teleprinters and parts, to leading global communications companies throughout the U.S.

Four thousand units were stored within travel distance of the General Associates location. The other eight thousand units were located at various major hubs throughout the country. The majority of these units were large and weighed hundreds of pounds. Shipping was out of the question. He had a major problem and he had to solve it. He was in a vulnerable position and had to do something fast. How was he going to deal with this? He handled it as he handled all other challenges in his life. The “can do” attitude surfaced. He couldn’t afford to take possession and move eight thousand machines, so he had to be very inventive. Most of these machines were manufactured in the early 1950’s and had electronic printed circuit cards in the control sections, which contained gold traces. Gold was used in those days, because it provided best conductivity and was very inexpensive. He collaborated with a foreign government to scrap and process thousands of the circuit cards and share the profits of the gold meltdown. He was very fortunate that year, because gold had multiplied twenty times in value. He now owned all of the machines at no cost. However, he still had thousands of pounds of scrap metal that had to be disposed of.

With careful investigation, he discovered that the metal teleprinter cabinets contained large amounts of chromium. At that time, a foreign car manufacturer needed chromium for its automobile bodies. What a great way to dispose of the thousands of pounds of scrap metal. They took care of the overseas shipping. Ron had the balance of four thousand very valuable teleprinters that he could refurbish and sell to his clients. What could have been a complete catastrophe became a very profitable venture.

This was a real challenge. I was innovative and turned a negative into a positive.