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What’s Next

It has been two and a half years since I have updated the material for Ethix. That was never supposed to happen. My wife tells me it is a lack of ability to say “no.” I have completed a couple new books: The Purpose of Business (edited with David Gautschi) and just out in paperback, and a graduate text in mathematics: Direct Methods for Sparse Matrices (with two British colleagues). Three others are in the works. I argue that there are too many interesting projects.

However, the connections between technology, business, and society are more entangled than ever, and the new ethical issues keep coming up. I have found two partners to help move Ethix forward. This issue engages both of them, and both are involved in planning the next.

One is David Gill, now retired from his teaching position, and one of the founders of Ethix back in 1998. We are working together on a book project on the topic of Technology and Faith. David is an ethicist, and he has engaged in this issue through an essay on the topic of what is next for “me too.” He also has contributed two book reviews. The other is Mark Neuenschwander, a leading person in health care safety. Together we went to Washington, D.C., to have a Conversation with Francis Collins, former director of the human genome project and now director of the National Institutes of Health. At this stage in the 21st century, the link between health care and technology is both life-giving and challenging. We cover a wide range of topics from the opioid crisis to wellness to designer babies. I have written about the prospects of artificial intelligence finally engaging our lives in both good and bad ways, after decades of unmet expectations. We look forward to your feedback on this update.

What's Up?

This long overdue new issue begins the process of putting updates back on track after more than a year. Among my distractions has been writing and editing three books coming out in 2015. First, The Accidental Executive, draws on past Ethix interviews to examine the career of the biblical Joseph, who spent time at both the bottom and the top of the corporate ladder.

Randy Wilcox is featured in the new Conversation. He spent time as president of two different divisions of Otis Elevator Co. (South Asia and most recently the Americas). Wilcox shares insights from ethics challenges in the global market to innovation (including, safety, the environment, manufacturing, and smart elevators).

What's Up

I had known about Marvin Windows, the product. But I first heard about Marvin, the company, when President Barack Obama, during the campaign, spoke about, “The family business in Warroad, Minnesota, that didn’t lay off a single one of their 4,000 employees when the recession hit, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owner gave up some perks and some pay because they understood that their biggest asset was the community and the workers who had helped build that business — they give me hope.” Then I met Steve Tourek, the chief counsel of that company, and we had a conversation.

Check out the updates to Technology Watch, News Notables, InReview, and Ethix at Work, also in this issue. Next issue will feature a Conversation with Brad Tilden, president and CEO of the Alaska Air group.

What's Up?

This issue features a Conversation with Jack vanHartesvelt, senior managing director for Alvarez & Marsal Capital Real Estate, a real estate private equity and asset management firm. His investment deals in building and operating hotels involve hundreds of millions of dollars, and it would be easy for him to focus on squeezing the last dollar out of each deal. But he takes a long-term view demonstrated in many facets of his work, including how he deals with the housekeeping staff of the hotel and how he negotiates a win-win contract to build or operate a hotel. There are insights here for any business person. In Technology Watch, I review what I have learned about books and e-readers. Check out the updates to News Notables and InReview, as well.

Next issue features a Conversation with Steve Tourek, senior vice president and chief counsel for Marvin Windows, a company that found a way through the economic storm without laying off people.

What's Up

This issue features a Conversation with Jean Bartell Barber, vice chairman and treasurer of Bartell Drugs. The granddaughter of the company’s founder, George H. Bartell Sr., she and her brother provide third-generation leadership for the 122-year-old business. She talks about the benefits of being a privately held company, the challenges of dealing with the myriad of government regulations, and thriving in a competitive, technology-based business world. In Technology Watch, I review the need to “stitch together” the fast-paced world of technology with changes in business and the foundations of ethical values. Check out the updates to News Notables and InReview, as well.