Dallas Execs Vote Perot
America may have its doubts, but high-tech leaders think he’s tops.
A D Magazine survey of Dallas technology executives reveals thai Dallas” Ross Perot-not Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, or local boy-made-billionaire Mark Cuban-is their high-tech hero. Are we missing something?
Probably. While most folks focused on Perot’s Quixotelike presidential bids in 1992 and 1996. including his homemade visual aids on Larry King Live, savvy high-tech executives were watching Perot quietly build a computer services company from scratch that closely resembles a smaller version of Electronic Data Services, which Perot sold to General Motors in 1984 for $2.4 billion.
Eleven years ago, Ross Perot and a band of former EDS employees, including Mort Meyerson, started Perot Systems. The firm designs, operates. and maintains computer systems for Fortune 500 companies. Today sales approach $1 Hi 1 – V lion annually and ^ profits are increasing at a rapid clip. But Perot isn’t satisfied. Or particularly democratic. When performance stalled two years ago, Perot stepped in personally to refocus his employees’ attention on the bottom line. He immediately ordered new employees read his management book. My Life and Principles for Success; and eliminated such new economy benefits as chair massages and Starbucks coffee. Perot then began a program of daily e-mail messages to all company employées, which alternate between scoldings and exhortations.
For the moment “business casual” is safe. So is Ross’ spot at the top of the high-tech ticket. For complete results of our Dallas high-tech survey, see page 122.
“It’s ironic that a newspaper…would threaten to sue someone who’s exercising their freedom of speech.”
-John Janney, of the Muslims Against Defamation, on the threatening letters received from the DMN about its website, dallasnot-news.com.
■The players may score the goals-and the girls-but the real MVP of the Dallas Stars is GM Bob Gaine
■Judge Jerry Buchmeyer finally did the right thing, upholding a Dallas ordinance that prohibits topless bars from operating within 1,000 feet of each othe
■The Dallas License and Permit Appeals Board promptly ignored Judge Buchmeyer and granted an operating permit to sleaze-joint Baby Doll
■O’Brien Rottman Studios, which we exposed as a legal fraud in “Glam Scam” [March] has high-tailed it out of town. Beware of its reappearance under a different name. To be safe, follow our story’s advice: Never, ever, pay money up front to any “talent agent” for any reaso
■The Boy Scouts’ local CircleTen has been fudging the numbers to bolster its growth story, which seems to be a contagion among Dallas nonprofits [see “Has Success Spoiled the Family Place?” June]. Now, repeat after us, “On my honor…
■American Airlines needs to take a deep breath. Put its head between its knees. Take a Valium. Lie down. Apply a cold compress. Have some milk.Take a warm bath. Relax. Be calm, be happy.
Can a Dallas Cowboys J Cotillion Be Far Behind?
Our cheerleaders are beautiful and well-mannered.
“TWO BITS, FOUR BITS, SIX BITS I a dollar. Which one’s my salad fork? Whisper, don’t holler!”
For the past six summers, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have offered camps for young girls who want to learn how to entertain football fans just like the big girls, The best campers make the Junior Cowboys Cheerleaders team and perform at a Cowboys game.
Campers learn how to wield blue-and-silver pom-poms and perform synchronized dance routines. But this year’s campers will gel more for their money- they will attend a special seminar on etiquette. When we heard about the etiquette seminar we wondered: What could cheerleader etiquette be? How to smooth out the seat of your shorts in front of 60,000 people without causing a stampede? How to share camera face time?
“It is really a Miss Manners kind of thing.” a friendly woman from the cheerleaders” office told us. “We leach them how to set a table, which fork to use. We teach them to say ’yes, ma’am.’ ’no, ma’am.” ’thank you,” and ’excuse me.’ How to write a thank-you note. Every camper has to write a thank-you to the person who sent them to camp.”
THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST
THE BEST SCHOOL IS THE SCHOOL THAT IS RIGHT for you,” says Hockaday headmistress Liza Lee, and we know she’s right. But we wondered how many students of Dallas’ top schools are going to America’s top colleges. Of course, the U.S. News list of best colleges is only one magazine’s opinion. Also, some colleges are still, at press time, accepting from their waiting lists, and some students are still being wooed by scholarship offers. (St, Mark’s, for example, had several Johns Hopkins’ acceptances who were lured elsewhere.) In doing the survey we stumbled across a phenomenon we’ll revisit in a future issue; Some of the best students are turning down the best colleges to pick programs they want to pursue, such as film school, design, and, in one case we heard about, bio-med-ical engineering. With those caveats, here’s the pick of the litter for the class of 2000.
Number of consecutive days over 90 degrees required for the National Weather Service to declare an official heat wave.
Consecutive days during which the average temperature is above 90 degrees in Dallas between June 6 and Sept. 12.
Temperature at which the sidewalk becomes hot enough to fry an egg.
Number of days when the | temperature was 105 degrees or greater in Dallas during the summer of 1999.
Source; New Vork Times and National Weather Service
“If you took the moral character of a Chan Gailey and combined it with the coaching genius of a Jimmy Johnson, maybe you could get a Tom Landry. But then again, if you combined the coaching genius of a Chan Gailey and the moral character of a Jimmy Johnson, you’d get a Barry Switzer.”
-Dale Hansen, as emcee at the Father of the rear Luncheon, lamenting the passing of Tom Landry
Swim At Your Own Risk
Could your neighborhood pool make you sick?
The Laura Miller-induced brouhaha over aging Dallas wading pools obscured a major health issue: transmission of disease by swimming pools is up, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Last year, the CDC verified 18 e-coli outbreaks at pools; a child in Atlanta died after swimming at a water park. Because such outbreaks are notoriously under-reported, the true number is probably much higher, says CDC epidemiologist Dr. Michael Beach.
“People don’t think of swimming as communal bathing,” says Beach. “Fecal contamination of pools is a very common event.” At any given time, about 11 percent of the population have or are recovering from diarrhea.Yuck.
Proper filtration and chlorine levels kill e-coli. But on 100-plus degree days, high usage and sunlight break down chlorine. And another diarrhea-related organism, the parasite Cryptosporidium, isn’t killed by chlorine.
Beach isn’t trying to beach swimmers. But he wants them to make sure their pool maintains chlorine levels. Most important: “Don’t swallow the water.”’Try telling that to a 7-year-old doing a cannon-ball off the high dive.
Aussie Girl Gets a Texas Twang
Olivia Newton-John makes her comeback with Fort Worth director.
AUSTRALIAN-BORN OLIVIA Newton-John returns to the big screen after a 16-year absence as “a tough, gum-chewing ex-con” with a Texas drawl in Fort Worth-native Del Shores’ latest movie. Sordid Lies.
Shores premiered Sordid Lies at this year’s USA Film Festival. The comedy revolves around a funeral and a man who desperately wants to be Tammy Wynette. Newton-John, who stepped away from her career after a bout with breast cancer in the early ’90s. does what she does best: She wrote most of the melodies and belts out the title tune.
Janine gets her M.D. in Whoopi Goldberg’s new series.
DALLAS STAR JANINE TURNER returns to television in July with Strong Medicine on Lifetime. The new series from executive producer Whoopi Goldberg is the latest in Lifetime’s all-out blitz to rev up its programming 40 percent from an estimated S192 million last year. Turner, whose breakthrough role was as plucky pilot Maggie O’Connell on Northern Exposure, teams up with Rosa Blasi to portray doctors running a women’s clinic who hold diametrically opposed views on medicine. When series production wraps, Janine plans to take a well-deserved break on her 300-acre Texas ranch with daughter. Juliette.
It’s no surprise that the Volvo C70 convertible is known for safety-it is, after all, a Volvo. And believe it or not, they’ve added yet another safety gadget to the 2000 model-the Homelinko system, a feature that enables the driver to turn on his house lights from the car. The most popular colors are red and white. Starting price is $43,500/Point West Volvo, Volvo Richardson, and Nils Sefeldt Volvo.
The Porsche Carrera convertible is one of the most popular models in Dallas, typically selling out before the car even reaches the floor. The convertible’s hottest colors are black, silver, red, and speed yellow. Starting price is $75.375/The Porsche Store.
The Robb Report named the Jaguar XK8 convertible Car of the Year in 1997. In Dallas, the car has been selling like hot cakes in black, red, and topaz-a popular color with the female driver. Unlike the Mercedes, the wait is much more reasonable-eight weeks. Starting price is $74.595/Overseas Motors.
If you ordered the Mercedes CLK 430 Cabriolet today, you might get it in 2002. But the car is worth the wait. It may look like a two-seater, but it actually has enough room to fit four comfortably. And the new safety features are impeccable-the TeleAid is a device that instantly calls 911 and identifies the car’s location if there’s an accident and the airbag deploys. Starting price is $56,000/Park Place.
“Ohhh, say can you sing…”
The true test of a vocalist’s nerve is warbling “The Star-Spangled Banner” in front of a huge crowd-a cappella. Even professionals have been known to blanch at the prospect of hitting the high notes at the end. These brave Dallas folks have belted the national anthem at Rangers games, in front of hockey fans, and at law enforcement fund-raisers.
★ STEVE GRILLO,
concierge, Four Seasons at Las Colinas
★ GRETCHEN CARLSON,
weekend anchor, NBC 5
★ RICK JAMES,
★ MICHAEL BORTS,
★ ERIC KOLB,
production manager, ClubCorp.
★ CRYSTAL THORNTON,
weekday anchor, WB 33
“I’ve been called to sing a number of times,” says STEVE GRILLO, concierge at the Four Seasons at Las Colinas, who sang the anthem recently at the annual dinner of the Dallas Blue Foundation. “I hope I don’t forget the words.” He calls the melody, which was originally an English drinking song, one of the most difficult ever written. If a singer’s going to blow it, Grillo says, it’s going to be on “rocket’s red glare” or “the land of the free.” Maybe a drink would help.
Dallas Execs Vote Perot