Abt Associates
During the school year, the stipend associated with my teaching assistantship supported us in graduate-school sufficiency, if not in anything easily described as splendor. It was clear, though, that this source of income was going to dry up in June. So I asked esteemed mentor Dick Light if he knew any likely sources of summer employment. His response, “Maybe you ought to meet those crazies down on Concord Lane. Tell Clark Abt I sent you.”
And so it came to pass that I met Clark Claus Abt and obtained my first job out of school—while still in school. My employment at Abt Associates Inc. (AAI) in Cambridge would last about fifteen years: I think I left in 1983; the Abt Associates Alumni website makes it 1984.

Clark and I talked about more than I remember clearly, but we definitely discussed policy-oriented simulation modeling, a topic right up the alley in which I’d been scrambling around, of late. AAI was then under contract to the Federal Office of Education to create and exercise a computerized simulation model of the national education system and the government’s role in it: they called it the “OE Model.” Clark showed me some developmental materials; I responded with, as I recall, a fairly critical Forresterian analysis. He hired me on the spot. The correspondence says it was the 3rd of February.

To this day (2019), I count Clark among my friends and very great benefactors. I owe him a great deal. We did good work together; he inspired and directed good things I did. We also found ourselves at loggerheads, from time to time.
In the parenthetical context of a sidebar, I feel constrained to report an insight on which many of Clark’s closest friends and collaborators agreed, in one way or another. His distinctive contribution: ideas. Exaggerating only for emphasis, they say that Clark Abt has a thousand ideas a day. On average, three or so of them are good ideas. As their parent, and as a man with strong egalitarian principles, it’s hard for him to pass judgment on them, but he has made himself a notably successful and wealthy man by surrounding himself with people who can tell the difference and who are willing to say, 997 times a day, “No, Clark, forget that one; let’s concentrate on this one.” Over the years, a number of smart people have contributed to his prosperity and have participated in it.

If you’re tempted to see this characteration as a negative judgement on this remarkable man, please just consider: how many people do you know who have three good ideas in a typical day?
Ed.D 1967-68: Independent Study S.A.C.C.H.A.R.I.N.E. Reunion in Paris Thesis AAI Disaster
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