Dodging Elephants tells the story of how a contented teenage soda jerk from Tahoka, Texas, with no plan for his future, found his way to higher education, landed a research job at Texas Instruments, and, over three decades, helped move that company from a small, oil-searching firm to a worldwide electronics giant. From the start J. Fred Bucy was a tireless, driven manager who turned failures into successes. Taking on TI’s government equipment division in 1963, he successfully championed ingenious new designs. In 1967 he moved to the company’s volatile, ever-expanding semiconductor division, establishing factories worldwide. Meanwhile, he had become an influential advisor on U.S. government export regulation. By 1976, when TI was competing in the consumer market, he was the company’s president. Bucy left TI in 1986 after a brief, controversial term as CEO. His autobiography is rich in anecdotes and unsparingly honest.
Growing up on the rural High Plains of Texas in the years of the Great Depression, Dust Bowl, and World War II, Fred Bucy learned the value of self-reliance and hard work. He seemed headed for a farming career when his life took an abrupt turn. Against substantial odds, and with a family to support, he earned two degrees in Physics and, in 1953, joined a young but promising company, Texas Instruments Incorporated.
I wish I knew more about my ancestors. What I do know is interesting, perhaps even inspiring.
Grandpa Townes, my father’s father’s father, came to Texas from Tennessee when he was about eighteen years old. He settled on the Red River. Later, he and a group of fellow Tennesseeans established the town of Joshua, about thirty miles south of Fort Worth. Grandpa Townes had an interest in medicine and a modest practice along the Red River.