The Superfund job delivered my dream goal of automating the hazardous waste program. More importantly, it provided me with some providential relationships. I mentioned that my first glimpse of my wife, Nancy, left an unforgettable impression. The same thing happened the first time I met Dave Newton, the Superfund lead from the Booz Allen Hamilton. Dave had the presence of an old world aristocrat, minus the pomposity that the word can conjure up. He delivered his studied dress and manner with a casual light-hearted flair. He was physically imposing but soft spoken with bright eyes and a ready smile. He wore three piece suits and starched white shirts set off with staid stripped ties. He pulled off a goatee long before (and after) they were fashionable. And he smoked a pipe until he realized how bad it was for his health. Then he carried it with him, unlit, often clenched between his teeth.
While these impressions built up over time, they were also the ones that struck me the first time I laid eyes on him. I remember thinking ‘a consultant’s consultant’ the moment he walked into the meeting room. Everything about that first meeting told me that I had come to the right place. And in this case, the right place was very large boardroom overlooking the Potomac River. Another eminent consultant, Amy Marasco, held the chair. And there were two dozen other people from half a dozen firms scattered about the room.
Over the course of the next two years Dave and I became fast friends and I relished his mentorship. I always appreciated that he took my brash behavior with good humor. He knew how to use patience and logic to calm me down. Still, despite his constant tutoring, my brash behavior marked me for a first class jerk.