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Former Hughes Aircraft Company Chief Shares Thoughts on Success

Ken Richardson, former Hughes Aircraft Company president and author, spoke to Santa Barbara community members recently, offering his philosophy for success.

Richardson shared his decades of organizational, management and innovative wisdom with MBA candidates, faculty and community members during Antioch University’s monthly MBA Workshop Series.

As president of Hughes Aircraft, Richardson directed the operations of 80,000 employees with 12,000 products and annual sales of $12 billion, with facilities in 13 states and four nations.

During his time at the company, Hughes produced military advances and took the lead in developing such lifestyle innovations as the laser, digital watches, DirecTV, microminiaturization, and cell phone data processing.

The joy of these developments and successes were evident as Richardson, a self-proclaimed “techie,” enthusiastically described the details and advancements of infrared, missiles, and space exploration technologies.

Describing the ideal workplace and how to build effective teams, Richardson emphasized the creation of an environment that promotes free-thinking, encourages risk-taking, values recognition and reward, and assures integrity.

As an advocate for education, Richardson commended the students on pursuing their education because “MBA people look at the big picture” and are not confined to one area of expertise.

“The information Ken Richardson shared tonight is universal and great advice for our leaders of today,” said Rich Block, CEO of the Santa Barbara Zoo, who attended the workshop

MBA candidate Devin Scott said he was particularly impacted by Richardson’s emphasis on personal and professional integrity and its importance to a company’s long-term success.

“Hearing [Richardson] say that was so refreshing because it feels like that virtue has been valued less and less these days,” Scott said.

— Anna Kwong for Antioch University.

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