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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 25, 2003

UI Engineering Lecture On Leadership Scheduled Dec. 4

James A. Ashton, a member of the University of Iowa College of Engineering Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy, will deliver a Caterpillar Colloquium Series Seminar on "Principled Leadership" at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, in the second-floor ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union.

The seminar, hosted by Alpha Pi Mu national industrial engineering honor society and the industrial engineering freshman/sophomore seminar, is free and open to the public.

Ashton, currently chairman of Poco Graphite, Inc. and a partner in Grisanti, Galif & Goldress, Inc., both of Dallas, Texas is perhaps best known for his integrity as a corporate whistle-blower in the 1980s.

Ashton graduated as valedictorian with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the UI College of Engineering in 1964 and went on to earn advanced degrees from MIT and Harvard. He joined General Dynamics Corporation in 1967 as a senior engineer in technical and operations management and, from 1975 to 1980, directed the company's 8,000-person team and several international manufacturing subcontractors that produced the famed F-16 fighter plane. Having earned a stellar reputation, he was dismissed in 1982 from his position as vice president of engineering for the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics when he refused to permit the continuation of waste and mismanagement he had discovered in the production of the Trident submarine and 688-Class attack submarine.

After sharing his story with Congress and the public, Ashton 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, Okla. facility; president of Healthdyne Inc.; chairman of Lanson Industries; and vice president and general manager of the Downhold Sensors Division of Schlumberger Well Services. He also has served as chief executive officer of Fiberite Inc. of Tempe, Ariz. Today, Ashton remains convinced that business must be conducted honestly and ethically.

The Caterpillar Colloquium Series is made possible by grants awarded to the UI College of Engineering through the UI Foundation by the Caterpillar Foundation of Peoria, Ill. The grants comprise the Caterpillar Excellence Fund, which aids student, faculty and curriculum development in the College of Engineering.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. People requiring an accommodation in order to participate in this program are asked to contact in advance the UI College of Engineering at 319-335-5764.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 301, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,