Jim Staikos

Jim Staikos

This article is part of our continuing feature: Recollections of ADL—Stories from Arthur D.  Little Alumni.  We want to capture our stories before they are lost forever!  We thank Kathy Thrun for her hard work and dedication to capturing these stories.

Jim Staikos was born in Brooklyn and raised in uptown Manhattan.  In 1950, in the ADL tradition, Jim graduated from MIT with a degree in chemical engineering.  His time at MIT sold him on the fact that New England was the place to live and work.

Jim’s first job was four years at Monsanto’s heavy chemicals plant in Everett, MA.  One of Jim’s notable  memories (likely by nose) was the sulfur pile used by Monsanto; sulfur was a raw material for industrial chemicals.

He was then “invited” by the US Government to spend two years in the Army.  He ultimately landed at the US Army Research and Development Laboratories in Natick, MA (just outside of Boston).  His project sounded quite “ADLish”—he worked with piglets studying the thermal effects of atomic radiation.

Jim joins ADL

In 1956, Jim was determined to switch tracks and study business management.  However, an ex-classmate and ADLer, Jim Jensen, convinced him instead that a career in management consulting at ADL would provide far better on-the-job training than any business school.

Jim joined Alex Bogrow’s group, dealing with marketing, business planning, and corporate organization.  He started in Cambridge, MA with a group of very bright, very idiosyncratic, and very, very independent colleagues.  This was a time when ADL still sustained and nurtured outstanding eccentrics.

Jim leveraged his industrial-development experience to deliver similar services worldwide.  His work was often a part of broadly based economic-planning studies, such as setting regulatory and commercial frameworks to create an auto assembly industry in Malaysia, or assessing investment opportunities in Finland.  With Harry Foden, Jim worked to determine the viability of the Vienna Conference Center—twice!  The assignments were about five years apart, after the initial plans were downsized.

But his work was not all drudgery.  At various times, it  also involved enjoying Hassan’s culinary creations in Riyadh with Ann and Harland Riker, drinking pisco sours in Lima, Peru with Nick Steinthal, sampling kimchi in Seoul with the local geishas, and almost freezing to death in Winnipeg one winter with James Langley.

In 1970, he again moved, this time to Athens, where he managed ADL’s Greek consulting joint venture with the National Investment Bank for Industrial Development, which was established anticipating Greece’s entry into the European Union. The purpose was to draw on ADL’s array of skills and experience to strengthen and make more competitive the activities and businesses of the country.

Two-and-a-half years later, Jim headed back in Cambridge.  But on the way, he paused briefly in London to visit colleagues—and 18 years later was still there!  He still has regular reunions with the British contingent over a glass or two of warm beer.

From London to Palm Beach

As governments moved to privatize nationalized industries, Jim was again crossing the globe.  After more professional and personal adventures, he eventually arrived in the States with his new and quite lovely English wife-Susie.  They settled in North Palm Beach, FL.  Over the years, he has been both an active participant and organizer of the infamous ADL Florida Reunions, which draw ADLers from far beyond the Sunshine State.

Jim and Susie now divide their time between their homes in London and Florida.  Jim did an ever-decreasing amount of free-lance consulting, and volunteered his services through the International Executive Service Corps (IESC).  He and Susie took on simultaneous assignments in Egypt several years ago, and continue to travel to better know the interesting spaces in between all those many airports he has seen.  They actively enjoy friends, family, and good health, as well as knowing that they have led and continue to lead an amazingly adventurous life.