Three of my grandparents emigrated to America from Poland, Latvia, and the Ukraine between 1895 and 1905. My mother’s mother was born on July 4th, 1896 in Washington, DC. Somehow, by 1905, all four of them resided in DC. and three generations of their extended families remained in the DC metropolitan area. We never learned anything about economics or politics. Washington was and remains a cocoon, sheltered from many of life’s storms.
I attended DC public schools from 1946-1957; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1957-61); and Georgetown University Law Center (1961-64).
Following completion of my four year commitment as an employee at the Office of Chief Counsel, IRS ( and an LL.M (Tax ) from Georgetown’s night law school), I began to pursue what I thought would be a career as a DC tax lawyer. Four months of interviewing with high profile firms convinced me that I needed a career plan B: “Cold, arrogant, aloof” fairly described how these firms appeared to me.
I was therefore psychologically prepared to talk to the people from the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company when they contacted me for a third time in August, 1968.
Memorable Events at RJR
The best thing that ever happened to me, my wife (Toby) and our two sons (Eric and Steven) was to have lived in Winston-Salem for almost twenty years. Meeting and working with people like John Dowdle, Charlie Frank Benbow, Dave Peoples and so many others too numerous to mention opened up an entire world to us. God works in strange and wondrous ways.
I have written about some of my experiences in a self-published book entitled “ From Race to Renewal. [i] I have talked about some of these and other experiences on a Business Radio.
Arnie Sidman expresses the sentiment of many RJR people who transferred from somewhere else to Winston-Salem and decided to stay. My contact with the legal and tax departments at RJR was minimal, but I had a high respect for their professionalism. Arnie, as head of tax, and I worked together briefly on the Aminoil USA deal and that exposure taught me a few things about the world of corporate tax.
Near the end of my time with RJR, I was made “President of RJR Investment Management,” a title far more impressive than the job itself. This was a small, inhouse investment management “company” that managed a portion of the RJR pension fund. Arnie was on our board of directors. GAH
[i] Sidman, Arnie. From Race to Renewal. A. B. Sidman Publishing, 2014. https://www.amazon.com/s?k= From+race+to +renewal&ref=nb_sb_noss