Marriott Alumni Magazine

Summer 2012

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Page 36 of 51

Alumni News Success from the Trenches Jerry Koenig knows a thing or two about working in the trenches. In his more than sixty-six years of job experience, Koenig has been no stranger to challenging tasks, as he has used his dedicated work ethic to achieve great success. Born in the depth of the Great Depression, Koenig started his first job at the age of twelve as a newspaper delivery boy for Newsday. At age twenty his work at the New York Telephone Company was halted when he was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army. After his discharge two years later, Koenig attended BYU, where he graduated in industrial management in 1960. Koenig knew exactly where he wanted to start his career and submitted only one job application to his company of choice: IBM. He was hired as a facility planner in the Data Systems Division, and it was there that Koenig faced one of the largest challenges of his young career, which turned out to be his proudest moment. IBM had recently shifted its strategy to make all of its technologies compatible with one another, an initiative they called System/360. Koenig was promoted to manage the facility, planning for the huge increases in manpower and facilities that would determine the success of System/360. “Failure on my part could have seriously impacted this vital project,” he recalls. Under pressure of thousands of new employees and equipment needing space to operate, Koenig planned and completed the new facilities so the project could stay on schedule. System/360 would become one of IBM’s most successful projects, and Koenig prides himself on his contributions. “This project showed the impact the people in the trenches can have on a major company when they put forth the effort,” he says. Koenig stayed with IBM for decades, working in numerous design and logistical positions. Toward the end of his time there, Koenig was approached to help the company prepare for tradeshows, and he fell in love with event management. A few years after his retirement from IBM, Koenig and his wife, Sami, started their own event planning business, King Services. For seventeen years they have put on conferences and trade shows in nearly every major U.S. city for a number of public and government entities. With no other staff besides hired help in each new city, King Services has run the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Food Show for the past eight years, one of the biggest military tradeshows. “It’s a complex and challenging event that involves working with the nation’s leading food producers,” Koenig says. “But it is an outstanding event because of the great purpose it serves in feeding the military.” Although the economy has slowed the number of events in recent years, Koenig has no plans on the horizon to retire, even after decades of work. The Koenigs have two sons and live in Marietta, Georgia. He enjoys spending time with family and is currently writing a book about the Bible. New Calgary Chapter a Success Early in 2011 a group of professionals in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, were trying to think of ways they could network with other LDS businesspeople and help their unemployed associates find jobs. Then in walked Chet Harmer with a proposition: Why not form a BYU Management Society chapter? As a member of the society’s steering committee, he helps new chapters get started. Harmer was visiting Alberta on business and stopped by Calgary’s LDS Employment Office to ask if they had an organized group of LDS businesspeople. Harmer met with representatives from Calgary stakes and explained the purpose of the Management Society. Those in attendance realized a chapter was exactly what they had been looking for. A month later Harmer started the chapter with twelve members. Today, the N. Eldon Tanner Management Society chapter in Calgary averages

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