UI Distinguished Alumnus Ashton to Discuss Business Ethics Oct. 18

Thursday, October 11, 2012
Dr. James Ashton

Business ethics will be the subject of a University of Iowa College of Engineering seminar from 5 to 5:50 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, in Room W10 of the Pappajohn Business Building on the UI campus.

James E. Ashton, 1964 UI alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, 1996 inductee into the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy, and currently president of Ashton and Associates, will deliver the talk.

A part of the Randall and Barbara Meyer "Grabbing the Globe" Seminar Series, the talk is free and open to the public.

After graduating as valedictorian from the UI, Ashton earned advanced degrees at MIT and Harvard. Early in his career, he wrote three books and numerous technical articles that earned him an international reputation as an expert on composite material.

In 1967, he joined General Dynamics Corporation as a senior engineer in technical and operations management. From 1975 to 1980, he directed the General Dynamics team of 8,000 personnel and several international manufacturing subcontractors that produced the F-16 fighter plane. After 15 years with the company, he had earned a reputation as a hands-on manager who could mobilize a complex work force to get things done.

In 1982, however, he was dismissed from his position as vice president of engineering for the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics when he refused to allow the waste and mismanagement he discovered in the production of the Trident submarine and 688-Class attack submarine to continue.

Applying his leadership, planning, and organizational skills in related industries, he went on to serve as president of Space Services, Inc., of America, which introduced the first private launch vehicle; vice president and general manager of Rockwell International's Tulsa facility; president of Healthdyne, Inc.; and leadership positions in many other companies.

Despite the price he paid in his own career, Ashton holds firm to his convictions that business must be conducted honestly and ethically and has carried that message around the world.

The "Grabbing the Globe" Seminar Series is designed to prepare engineering students for global success. It recognizes UI Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy member and retired Exxon USA president and CEO Randall Meyer and his wife, Barbara.