Categotry Archives: Business


Dorothy Harmsen


Categories: Business

Dorothy Harmsen, a Colorado farmer and candy maker who helped launch a confection empire, died on Aug. 29 from a heart attack. She was 91.
The Minnesota native was in her mid-20s when she met Continental Airlines pilot William D. Harmsen Sr. on a blind date. The couple wed, moved to a 10-acre ranch outside of Denver and tried to farm the land. When their fruit and produce crops failed to turn enough profit, the Harmsens opened a soft-service ice cream shop in Golden, Colo., called The Jolly Rancher.
The store did well during the summer months, but ice cream sales dropped in the winter. To supplement their income, Dorothy began making chocolates and hard candies inside the family barn and selling them at the store. Candy profits soon became the lifeblood of the business, allowing her to become a stay-at-home mom and full-time candy maker. Over the next 50 years, Dorothy and Bill would expand their candy product line and work force, and become a major competitor in the confections market.
Although Dorothy created scores of original candies, the Jolly Rancher Candy Co. hit its stride in 1950 with the release of the Fire Stix. The translucent, cinnamon-flavored taffy, made with Colorado beet sugar, released an intense flavor that appealed to children and adults alike. However, the company’s trademark product was the Jolly Rancher, a hard candy produced in 24 tart and tangy fruit flavors. The bold flavors used in these rectangular jewels were later imbued in fruit chews, gummies, jelly beans, lollipops and sours.
The Jolly Rancher Candy Co. was always a family affair, one that produced 1 million pounds of candy each week. Dorothy managed the company’s finances, Bill marketed the products and their three children worked in packaging and taste testing. The family also gave away free candies on Halloween, an event which caused traffic jams to form on nearby Interstate 70. The company is currently owned by the Hershey Chocolate & Confectionery Corporation.
In addition to being candy makers, Dorothy and Bill were avid art collectors and the owners of one of the nation’s largest private collections of American Western art. They acquired paintings by George Catlin, Robert Henri, Victor Higgins, Georgia O


John Money


Categories: Business, Medicine, Writers/Editors

Dr. John William Money, a sex researcher and the co-founder of the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic, died on July 7 from complications related to Parkinson’s disease. He was 84.

Born in Morrinsville, New Zealand, Money studied psychology at Victoria University of Wellington and at the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his doctorate at Harvard University after writing a thesis paper on hermaphroditism.

Money was the first pediatric psychoendocrinologist at Johns Hopkins University. He designed the school’s curriculum in sexual medicine and served as a professor of medical psychology and pediatrics for 50 years. In the mid-1960s, Money co-founded the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic with Reed Erickson, a wealthy philanthropist and female-to-male transsexual, and performed one of the first sex reassignment surgeries in the United States.

Money soon gained a reputation as an expert in the sex reassignment field, and was frequently called to testify in court that such surgery was appropriate therapy for people suffering from gender identity disorder. Also known as transsexualism, GID is a psychological condition where a person experiences “strong, persistent feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one’s own assigned sex.”

Money believed that gender identity was determined by environment and upbringing as well as biology, and thus could be changed in the first few years of a person’s life. He promoted genital surgery to make intersex infants look more “normal” and social conditioning to alter their gender belief systems. Money put these theories to the test on David Reimer, a Canadian boy who suffered from a botched circumcision operation when he was 8 months old. Money persuaded Reimer’s parents to turn him into a girl, and so David underwent a radical sex-change procedure. He was given female hormones and psychologically trained into believing he was a girl named Brenda.

The experiment was widely considered a success in medical circles. Money published several journal articles about the case, as well as the book, “Man and Woman, Boy and Girl” with Anke Ehrhardt. However, Reimer suffered greatly as the guinea pig in Money’s research project. He was teased by classmates, confused by his gender identity and clinically depressed for many years. After learning the truth of his past, Reimer underwent surgery and testosterone therapy. He changed his name to David and returned to living as a man.

Reimer’s life story served as the basis of John Colapinto’s 2000 book, “As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl.” He appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and in several documentaries in order to save other children from a similar fate. In 2004, Reimer committed suicide at the age of 38.

Despite criticism from the media, psychologists, scholars and other members of the medical community about the Reimer case, Money refused to alter his gender identity theories. “I don’t mind being wrong a few times because I’m right most of the time,” Money said.

The controversial researcher also theorized about the origins of sexual orientation (which he believed were formed by both biological and environmental factors), and on the nature of attraction (what he called “love maps”). In his testimony before Attorney General Edwin Meese’s pornography commission in 1985, Money stated that sexually explicit photographs and films were not detrimental to minors. That same year, he received the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology.

In 2002, Money entrusted his personal collection of papers and published works to the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University, and established the John Money Sexology Scholars Library Fund to help pay for the preservation of archives and collections from the sexological community.

Listen to a Remembrance From NPR
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Harry Olivieri

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Categories: Business

Harry M. Olivieri, the co-creator of the Philly cheese steak sandwich and a Philadelphia legend, died on July 20 of heart failure. He was 90.
Born in Philadelphia to Italian immigrants, Harry was the youngest of the Olivieri’s three sons. He dropped out of school in his teens and learned the carpentry trade. In 1930, Harry and his older brother Pat opened a hot dog stand at 1237 E. Passyunk Ave., in south Philadelphia. One day, Harry grew tired of eating hot dogs, so Pat told him to go to the store and pick up some beef.
Harry returned a short while later, sliced up the steak, grilled it with some raw onions and piled the concoction onto two Italian rolls. Just as the brothers were about to dig in, however, a cabbie arrived for lunch and ordered a steak sandwich for himself. The brothers sold the customer Harry’s sandwich for a nickel, and officially launched Pat’s King of Steaks.
The Philly steak sandwich evolved over the years. In the 1960s, the Olivieris added cheese (provolone, American or Cheez Whiz), and various condiments (hot sauce, cherry peppers, ketchup, mushrooms, mustard, pizza sauce, homemade dill relish). In the 76 years since the sandwich made its debut, Pat’s King of Steaks has sold thousands “wit (onions) or without (onions).” Fans of the original cheese steak sandwich include musicians (Frank Sinatra, Lou Rawls), actors (Jack Klugman, Will Smith) and politicians (Bill Clinton, Al Gore).
Pat’s King of Steaks is now an institution in the City of Brotherly Love. The 24-hour establishment, which sells food on a cash-only basis, was even featured in the film “Rocky,” starring Sylvester Stallone. Lines of customers frequently line up around the small building, even in the middle of the night.
Pat Olivieri died in 1970. Despite a heart condition diagnosed in 1972, Harry continued working at Pat’s King of Steaks almost every day until 2003. Harry’s son, Frank, now runs the restaurant.
Listen to a Tribute From NPR
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Ken Lay


Categories: Business, Criminals, Military

klay.jpgKenneth L. Lay, the disgraced former chairman and chief executive of Enron who defrauded his stockholders and employees of billions of dollars, died on July 5 of a heart attack while vacationing in Aspen. He was 64.
Lay was born and raised in Missouri, one of three children of a Baptist minister and a housewife. To help support the family, he mowed lawns and delivered newspapers on three different routes.
Determined to live a life worthy of Horatio Alger, whose namesake award he once won, Lay attended the University of Missouri on scholarship, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics. After graduation, he worked for Humble Oil and Refining, the predecessor to Exxon Mobil Corp., and took night courses at the University of Houston to obtain a doctorate in economics.
Lay enlisted in the Navy as an economist and served his time at the Pentagon, working on cost-and-performance analyses of major weapons systems. Upon returning to the private sector in 1974, Lay became an executive at Florida Gas, then Transco Energy. His efforts in helping Houston Natural Gas fend off an aggressive investment play by Oscar Wyatt in the early 1980s earned Lay a promotion — to CEO of the pipeline operator. In 1985, he merged HNG with InterNorth to create Enron Corp.
Lay spent the next two decades building Enron into the seventh largest company in America. As CEO of the Houston-based natural gas company and energy trader, Lay joined the highest business circles and befriended the political elite, including Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Enron soon developed a reputation for inspiring loyalty in its employees by paying good wages and offering numerous perks, such as on-site fitness centers and after-hours transportation. Enron also matched employee pension contributions with company stock, and encouraged staff to further invest in its future. Lay’s piece of the pie was significant — he made more than $217 million in four years from stock options, and another $19 million in salary and bonuses.
Under the guidance of Lay, and Jeffrey K. Skilling, who succeeded Lay as chief executive in 2001, Enron aggressively invested in new ventures — from municipal water systems to overseas power plants. Many of these investments bled the company of cash, and then failed to pay off. At the same time, the company engaged in unethical and unlawful practices. During California’s energy crisis in 2000, Enron traders manipulated electricity flows to boost profits. The traders even taped conversations boasting about their misdeeds. Knowing the bottom was about to fall out, Lay began selling off his own Enron shares while encouraging staff to hold onto theirs.
Wall Street knew little of these matters because they didn’t appear on Enron


James F. Conway Sr.

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Categories: Business

To generations of children, the arrival of summer has been heralded by the loud jingle emanating from Mister Softee ice cream trucks. With a hungry response that’s almost Pavlovian in nature, kids have raced after these refrigerated vehicles to order chocolate or vanilla ice cream served in a bowl or on a baked cone.
The Mister Softee empire began more than 50 years ago when James F. Conway Sr. and his younger brother William were working at the Sweden Freezer company in Philadelphia. They devised a plan to bring ice cream to the masses using specially equipped refrigerated trucks and offered the idea to their employer but were turned down. So they decided to go into business for themselves.
On St. Patrick’s Day in 1956, the siblings drove the first Mister Softee truck through the streets of Philadelphia, giving away free ice cream that was dyed green to honor their Irish heritage. Three years later, their mobile ice cream company moved to Runnemede, N.J., where it expanded into a multimillion-dollar business.
James Francis Conway Sr. was born in Philadelphia, the eldest son of Irish immigrants. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Conway, whose favorite ice cream flavor was vanilla, was vice president of Mister Softee Inc. until his retirement in 1998. He died on May 28 of cancer at the age of 79.
William Conway remained president of Mister Softee until his death in 2004. James Conway Jr. and his cousin John Conway now run the company. Mister Softee’s 600-plus franchises currently sell soft-serve ice cream in 15 states.
Download the Lyrics and Music to the Mister Softee Theme Song
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