Bruce T. Mitchell
Interviewed by John Sillito
7 May 2007
Oral History Program
Weber State University
Bruce T. Mitchell
7 May 2007
Copyright © 2011 by Weber State University, Stewart Library
The Oral History Program of the Stewart Library was created to preserve the institutional history of Weber
State University and the Davis, Ogden and Weber County communities. By conducting carefully
researched, recorded, and transcribed interviews, the Oral History Program creates archival oral histories
intended for the widest possible use.
Interviews are conducted with the goal of eliciting from each participant a full and accurate account of
events. The interviews are transcribed, edited for accuracy and clarity, and reviewed by the interviewees
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recording so researchers can gain a sense of the interviewee's voice and intonations.
The Utah Construction Company/Utah International Inc. Oral History Project was created to capture the
memories of individuals associated with the company. Several of the interviewees are family and
relatives, others are personalities involved with Utah Construction Company/Utah International Inc. and
some of the company’s prominent figures.
Oral history is a method of collecting historical information through recorded interviews between a
narrator with firsthand knowledge of historically significant events and a well-informed interviewer, with
the goal of preserving substantive additions to the historical record. Because it is primary material, oral
history is not intended to present the final, verified, or complete narrative of events. It is a spoken
account. It reflects personal opinion offered by the interviewee in response to questioning, and as such it
is partisan, deeply involved, and irreplaceable.
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It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
Bruce T. Mitchell, an oral history by
John Sillito, 7 May 2007, WSU Stewart
Library Oral History Program, Special
Collections, Stewart Library, Weber State
University, Ogden, UT.
Bruce T. Mitchell
Abstract: The following is an oral history interview with Bruce T. Mitchell. It was conducted
by John Sillito of Weber State University on May 7, 2007, in Mr. Mitchell’s office on
225 Bush Street, San Francisco, California. Mr. Mitchell worked with Utah
Construction/Utah International from 1957 to 1987, during which time he also served
as secretary of the company. In the interview, Mr. Mitchell discusses his recollections
of Utah Construction/Utah International, and the personalities with whom he
JS: I’d like to start with a general question. Tell me a little bit about your background and
how you got involved with Utah Construction.
BM: I was born on Bush Street in San Francisco, not too many blocks from here. I was
raised down on the peninsula and went to high school there. I went to Stanford
University—both for undergraduate and law school. From there, I went in the Navy.
After I got out of the Navy, my wife was expecting, so I went right to work in the first
job I could find. It was in the trust department of Crocker Bank. That job seemed to be
going nowhere, so I started to look for a better paying position. I talked to the Stanford
Law School placement service. When I was in the Navy, I was in Naval Intelligence,
then I belonged to a reserve unit, and I let my friends there know that I was looking. A
gentleman with Pacific Gas and Electric Company told me to go see their general
counsel who was Richard Peterson. He later became chairman of the PG&E board
and he is still a good friend of mine at the Pacific Union Club. He had nothing there,
but he told Larry McDonald, a member of my reserve unit, that there was a position
open at Utah Construction Company. And so I went over and interviewed with the
general counsel. In March of 1957, I went to work for what was then called the Utah
JS: You mentioned that you had gone to Stanford several years after Ed Littlefield. You
told me a story about running into Ed on the train.
BM: Well, Ed Littlefield rode the train every day, and at this time I’d only been working for
the company a few weeks. I got on the train and he was there with his wife, Jeannik,
and he spotted me there and told me to come up and meet her. I had a nice chat with
JS: I’m getting the feeling that that was fairly typical of Ed Littlefield.
BM: That definitely was Ed Littlefield! Marriner Eccles brought Ed Littlefield in because he
just wasn’t happy with the present administration.
JS: Before we move to Marriner, I’d like to ask you a couple questions about Littlefield’s
management. What do you recall from that crucial period in 1957 and 1958?
BM: Well that was a very important period, and Ed got to know everybody around the
company. I mean he knew me and I was just brand new in his legal department,
number three at that time. But he knew who I was and came back to say, “Hello, glad
to have you on the train.” But he always did that. We moved to our newer building at
550 California in 1960—that’s not new anymore. We were in the Shell Building at first.
When we moved to the new building, he frequently rode the elevator most of the
people were using, and then walked to his office instead of taking it directly up from
the garage because he wanted to see the people. And he came around to other
people’s offices. He wasn’t summoning them to his office: he’d just come in and sit
JS: I guess the office was small enough that it was possible in those days.
BM: It was, no question about it. In the Shell Building, I think we were on two floors, and
three or four floors when we first went to 550 California. The company was definitely
small enough that he could know everybody. We all knew everybody. Granted, the
number of employees that would be out on the projects would be something very
different. At that time, it was mainly a construction company. There were people who
would work temporarily for the company, and that was most of them—except for the
project managers—who would be regular employees.
JS: There seems to be a kind of a “Stanford Connection” in terms of employees.
BM: Yes, quite a number came from Stanford. I think Allen Christensen went to Stanford. I
know Ed did, and certainly Ernie Arbuckle did. He was Ed’s roommate, I believe. He
was later chairman of Wells Fargo Bank. Arjay Miller came from the Stanford Business
School. Of course, Bill Hewlett went to Stanford. Bill Kimball went to Stanford; there’s
a Kimball Hall. There’s also a Mitchell Hall—no relation, I’m sorry to say. But, there’s a
Ruth Wattis Mitchell Earth Sciences Building. No relation. She was a Wattis and
married Shepard Mitchell, an attorney in Los Angeles. He was on the board for many
years. That was before I was secretary. I knew him casually, but I didn’t ever interact
JS: Why Stanford? Was it coincidence, or was that a place that was thought of as a
training school for business folks?
BM: Stanford Business School was very highly thought of. I think it’s primarily a
coincidence, but in our legal department we ended up with three from Stanford Law
School. It was probably more my doing. I called Stanford Law School placement to
see if they had somebody who was interested. So that’s how that happened in my
particular case and I think some of the others did the same. And it was all across
management: Keith Wallace, the senior vice president, went to Stanford for
undergraduate and graduate school. Jim Curry went to the business school. You’re
undoubtedly going to interview Jim. He was a key in the merger with General Electric.
They relied on him.
JS: He’s still in the Bay Area?
BM: They live in Hillsborough, but they also have a place in Brisbane, Australia, because
he was in charge of the project down there in Queensland. They bought a place on
what they call “The Gold Coast” down there.
JS: Well, I’d be happy to interview him if it’s in Australia. [Laughter] You mentioned
Marriner Eccles a few minutes ago. I’d be interested in your recollections of Marriner.
He was still in pretty much full vigor at the time you joined.
BM: Oh, he certainly was. Unfortunately, Marriner loved to talk. He especially loved to talk
about the history of the company and on any given day I would love to listen except
the night before the board meeting when I brought him his agenda book. That was the
busiest day of the year for me—I wanted to make sure the agendas were all out and
ready to go, and he always wanted to chat about the history of the company.
How often do you read about somebody in your economics and history class
and then get to know him personally? I got to know him well enough that I called him
Marriner and actually went to his home for cocktails one night. He and his second
wife, Sally, lived on Telegraph Hill. They had what was the old Ghirardelli apartment—
the top two-floor apartment out there. I got to know them both. While I was president
of the Commonwealth Club, he came to speak to the Club. I got him in to sit at the
board table on occasion. So, I got to know him. He was very bright, there’s no
question about it. Very alert and very bright. I was a little worried about his physical
health. I’ll never forget the day we were walking from the Bankers’ Club after a board
meeting. Ninety-one year old Val Browning was helping Marriner cross the street and
Marriner would not walk up to the corner to cross the street with the signal. The cable
car was coming and on California Street it was both ways. So I helped him cross it.
He was very determined—a very strong personality.
JS: I’m sure that came through on those board meetings—that he was strong and forceful.
BM: Right, I don’t think there’s any question about it. As I say, at the time I became
secretary, Ed was chairman so I didn’t sit on most of the board meetings when
Marriner was chairman.
JS: What did you do as secretary for the company? Obviously getting ready for the board
meeting was a major responsibility.
BM: Yes. I prepared the agenda and made sure the agenda books were passed out, and
the memoranda were sent to the board in advance of the meeting. I did not send out
the quarterly report. Well, sometimes I did, and sometimes it went out from the
treasurer’s department. We tried to coordinate that so they didn’t get too many
JS: Did you have a staff of several people?
BM: No, I had just one young lady working for me. We were not that large of a company;
we didn’t even have an investor relations person until just before the merger.
JS: It was pretty decentralized?
BM: It was. We did have a stock transfer agent. Once we took over the Lucky Mc Uranium
Corporation, then we really became public. The company was definitely a family
company. Actually, when I came to work with the company, I said, “Gee, I’d like to buy
a little stock in the company.” It didn’t need to be very much. It took me a year. A guy
in my Naval Reserve Unit, a broker, said, “I have ten shares.” So I got ten shares of it.
When we merged with Lucky Mc in 1960, we started becoming more public. The First
Security Bank of Utah was our transfer agent. I worked with them on that—becoming
our transfer agent.
JS: So for that three or four years the shares were still tightly held.
BM: Even after that, we did issue some convertible debentures and gradually the company
became more public. I talked to my broker and he started to handle the stock. He said,
“There’s not enough float” and gave up. I was told later that Paul Wattis was busy
buying the stock whenever he could get his hands on it. I don’t know if you are going
to interview the Wattis family or not, but Phyllis Wattis lived in San Francisco.
JS: I had the opportunity to interview Phyllis Wattis about a year before she died. She was
an amazing woman.
BM: Oh, absolutely an amazing person. I’ll never forget the time after GE took us over. I’d
get a call from GE about what the dividend was, and so I let Ed Littlefield know, of
course, then I would call Mrs. Wattis’ office. One time she said, “Bruce, what am I
going to do with all that money?” [Laughter] I have never forgotten that because she
was so generous. She did wonders for San Francisco’s cultural life, there’s no
question about it. We had dinner in the Wattis Room at the Symphony Hall one
Saturday night, and that was the last time I saw her in the Wattis Room. She
remembered me when I saw her in her wheelchair.
JS: An amazing woman. I meant to ask you one other question about office operations.
When the company merged with GE, did you stay on as secretary of the board?
BM: Yes, I was still secretary of the board. We had no public stockholders then. I was also
senior counsel of the legal department, doing a lot of other things besides being
JS: I see. And when did the senior counsel part start?
BM: That was before I was secretary. I became assistant secretary when Johnny Horrigan
was the secretary of the company. I helped him a great deal with stockholder meetings
and things of that sort. Then Albert Reeves became secretary when Johnny retired.
When Al was getting ready to retire, he brought me in. I had attended several board
meetings before I became secretary.
JS: Let me ask you about a couple of other people who were involved. What is your sense
of Bud Wilson as an individual? What role did he play?
BM: Well, he was more of an operations man than Ed was. I don’t think he had quite the
people skills that Ed did. Bud was really an operator, and a good operator. He did not
have any real role in the merger. The merger was done by Ed Littlefield with Reg
Jones first, then they brought in their financial people. This thing was kept very, very
quiet. There was no movement in the stock of any kind whatsoever. The only people
who knew about it here, in San Francisco, were Ed and Jim Curry because Jim did the
I do know that Ed first brought the thing to the board when it was in executive
session, which meant that I was not there as secretary; nor was Bud Wilson, as a
member of the board; nor was Bert Ladd, who was head of Ladd Petroleum, which we
had taken over. None of the three of us were in the meeting. But when the merger
was presented formally to the board, Ed indicated it had been discussed in executive
session and that they had approved it.
We had an interesting board…there were some very well-known people like Bill
Hewlett, Arjay Miller, Ernie Arbuckle—I’m forgetting names—then there was the head
of Wells Fargo Bank, Carl Reichardt. There were representatives of the families.
Tommy Dee, Val Browning, Paul Wattis, Jr.—well, Pat Wattis was on it and when he
died his son Paul Wattis Jr. came onboard. Oh, and George Eccles, of course. He was
a very strong man. He was head of the audit committee and a very strong individual. I
thoroughly enjoyed George Eccles.
JS: How did George differ from Marriner?
BM: I think he was a little more relaxed. One time we needed something for the
stockholder’s meeting, so I sent my assistant, Joyce Schlegel, a very pretty blonde, to
get it from the office. She’s a very pretty blonde and she was carrying all this stuff—
George just laughed. He thought it was funny. He just got the biggest tickle out of it.
JS: I guess he and Marriner would butt heads every now and again.
BM: Oh I’m sure. They were strong personalities, both of them. They were very, very bright
and, of course, Marriner…you know all the history of the Eccles family, the two sides
of it and all of that, I don’t need to go into that. But it was because of Marriner that
there were the “wealthy” Eccles and then the “other” Eccles.
JS: That’s right. It is interesting what you said a few minutes ago about being able to
associate with somebody you’ve read about—even Spencer Eccles credits Marriner as
a big part of his graduate education.
BM: Oh, I just loved it when they’d sit there in his office and I could listen to them talk.
JS: Except the day before the board meeting?
BM: Except the day before the board meeting! That day I couldn’t do it, and I just didn’t
feel like I could walk into Marriner’s office and sit down—he would tell me about
JS: So, what you’re saying is Bud Wilson was an operations person?
BM: Yes. And I don’t believe he knew about the merger until the day before the board
meeting. Bert Ladd found out about it the same time I did, I think. And he was a bit
concerned because he talked to his people at Ladd Petroleum, and had joined Utah
because of Ed Littlefield running the company. He knew Ed and he knew the way he
did it and he knew that they would still run the show. And, of course, under Reg Jones
we still ran our show out here. It wasn’t until Jack Welch came along that people
moved in on top of us.
JS: So, you were associated with the company between the time of the merger and the
sale to BHP?
BM: Oh, yes. I was associated with the company from 1957 to 1987. The BHP people
came up here. Jack Parker stayed on the board; Reg Jones went off the board. John
Burlingame from GE was on the board for a while, too, but he did not stay. I think only
Jack Parker stayed.
JS: You mentioned Ladd was a little concerned. Was he concerned that it would
adversely affect his company?
BM: Well, his company’s people. He had formed his company—it was called Ladd
Petroleum—and he had some good people working with him. I worked with them
mostly by phone, especially during the merger because I handled the in-house legal
department in part of the Ladd Petroleum, LVO, and GE mergers. I also worked with
Margaret Gill, who was a partner in Pillsbury Madison and Sutro. She is a very bright
attorney. She was the second woman partner at what we called “PM&S.” She was
easy and fun to work with. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Margaret.
JS: Was Utah an enjoyable company to work for?
BM: Yes, very much so. There were times when the general counsel that we had…I liked
him, he was capable, but he didn’t ever work hard and he was not ambitious. I
wondered whether I should go elsewhere, but I didn’t want to. People did not leave
often because it was a fun place to work. It was a very honest company, which was
nice because you see all that’s going on in management today at some places. I’m
sure it’s not typical across the board, but there’s certainly just enough of it. There was
never anything of that sort at Utah.
JS: That’s one thing that I have noticed, that there wasn’t a lot of turnover. People stayed
for a long time.
BM: People did stay, and people would come into my office. One said that somebody had
proposed something in Indonesia—a kind of a bribery thing—and he wouldn’t have
come visited me if he wanted me to not say no. I had two or three vice presidents who
came in and brought it to me, and they knew I’d say no, which I did. They were
pleased because that’s the reason they had come.
JS: You gave them the answer they wanted to hear. That leads to another question.
Literally, Utah International is operating with hostile governments in Latin America and
sometimes-hostile governments in Australia.
BM: Oh, I think the very reason that Ed made that arrangement to sell the company was
the prime minister of Australia. We always got along very well with the premier from
Queensland, but not with the prime minister, Gough Whitlam. Whitlam passed a
special tax that was applicable only to companies that made above “x” amount of
money—which was Utah. Nobody else, not even BHP, the big Australian company,
JS: So, it was designed specifically to tax Utah?
BM: That’s correct. And, of course, in Peru, they nationalized Marcona. Although we got a
contract on shipping from there and we still owned the ships.
JS: I wonder what the Wattis brothers or even the Corey brothers would think of this little
company out of Ogden, Utah, operating on this international scope.
BM: Yes…I don’t know. I remember Lester Corey. He was on the board, and I’d see him
at times at board meetings. I certainly met him, but I didn’t know him.
JS: He was still on the board that late?
BM: He was still on the board in the 1950s and into the 1960s. It’s come a long way from
the Corey Brothers Construction Company.
JS: What is your recollection of Allen Christensen?
BM: He was a rather difficult person to deal with. I’ll just give one little vignette, which
happened to me personally. Several months after I came onboard, Bill Pier left the
company—Bill was head of the legal department—and then they brought in Albert
Reeves as senior vice president. He was never general counsel because I don’t think
he ever took the bar in California. Al did some legal things, but he never really
practiced law. He was senior vice president. At any rate, Bill decided to leave and
they were right in the middle of negotiations. We built the Stockton Elevators and
there were some problems with them, so Allen Christensen was negotiating the deal
with the head of Stockton Elevators and Pacific Vegetable Oil. Then Bill left and all of
a sudden it came into my lap. I went in to see Al Christensen and he mumbled; it was
almost impossible to understand him. He was a pleasant enough guy but he didn’t
JS: He could’ve never operated in the way that Ed did.
BM: No. He was more of an operating type. The strength of Ed and the strength of the
company…Ed was the financial man, but he also knew the operations and there were
good operating people around him and he listened to them. We would acquire
properties all over the place. But if they weren’t economically feasible, we’d drop
them. We got all kinds of wonderful properties in Alaska, out in the middle of the
boonies, but it was not economically feasible. Ed could see if it was economically
feasible. Ed is the guy who did the arrangements for the thing that got us into the
mining business in a major way: Lucky Mc Uranium. Ed did the banking arrangements
on that with First Security, Crocker, and Bankers Trust. I know that Crocker from
down here was involved. Marriner Eccles was chairman of the Federal Reserve,
chairman of First Security and chairman of Utah at the same time. That would not
JS: What you’re describing, as I understand it, is Ed’s ability to see those kinds of people.
He wasn’t looking for people that were like him; he was looking for people who could
BM: Yes. And he always asked: Is this thing practical? And he was better at working with
people. Marriner said, “I just don’t know what’s going on with the company when Allen
Christensen is running it.” That’s why he brought in Ed Littlefield. And that became the
Executive Committee: Marriner Eccles, Allen Christensen, and Ed Littlefield. That was
when I came onboard.
JS: I gather that the board met quarterly?
JS: Did the Executive Committee meet more frequently?
BM: They met as needed because they were all on the same floor. They were really in
adjoining offices, especially when Marriner was here. Marriner always spent one day
more than six months out of the state. He paid income taxes in Utah, not in California.
[Laughter] He had a place in El Dorado and had the apartment here, but he also had a
permanent apartment, I believe in the Utah Hotel in Salt Lake City. He spent more time
out-of-state than he did in-state.
JS: You mentioned you were president of the Commonwealth Club? Were you president
when Eccles spoke about Vietnam?
BM: I wasn’t president at the time but I was there when he gave the speech.
JS: Tell me a little bit about that.
BM: That goes back too many years for me to really recall his speech, but he was very
forthright in his opinions.
JS: Well, let me ask it a different way. In general, what was the reaction of corporate folks
to his views of Vietnam?
BM: Unquestionably, a lot of people agreed with him, but what they felt in corporate circles,
I don’t know. What they felt about Marriner being a New Deal Democrat, that would
make a difference, too. He was really the architect of Roosevelt’s fiscal policy, and
then he got in a fight with Harry Truman, of course. It told you a lot about Marriner
because, by golly, he was not going to resign from that board. They couldn’t force him
out, either; he had a fourteen-year term because chairman comes up at five years. He
was a very strong individual.
JS: One other name: Weston Bourret.
BM: We knew him as Wes. He was head of exploration. He’s the guy who went where
Lucky Mc was down at Riverton, Wyoming. He took a look up at the geology there
and he said, “This looks good.” You probably know about Neil McNeice finding the
JS: That was a major turning point for the company.
BM: I was the counsel when we spent one month in Cheyenne, Wyoming, trying the SEC
case [Knauff, et. al., Plaintiffs v. Utah Construction and Mining Company, et. al.,
Defendants]. That was brought against us because of the Lucky Mc merger, which
was very interesting. We started out in the same courtroom in which Harry Sinclair
was tried. Our judge, Ewing T. Kerr, was the third judge of the Wyoming District Court
in the history of the state. It was 1967 and I was chairman of the Republican
Committee for San Mateo County at that time. I always remember that date: that’s
when our congressman died and when Shirley Temple Black ran for the seat.
JS: So, you spent a month in Cheyenne?
BM: Yes. We commuted back and forth every weekend. On Saturdays, we worked with the
files and interviewed people here, then went back on Sunday evening. Every Monday
morning, Ewing T. Kerr would have a lineup of people who had stolen cars in
California. [Laughter] This has nothing to do with the history of the company, but I
thought it was interesting. There would be a policeman stationed at Evanston,
Wyoming; he would watch for cars and he would get plates that were from stolen
California cars. He would radio ahead to Green River and to Rawlings so they’d pick
up the car when they went through those cities.
JS: Well, that is interesting.
BM: But any rate, we went up there and we spent the week up there. Most of management
was up there. Marriner was not, Ed testified. Jack Bates was our counsel. Pillsbury
Madison and Sutro was our general outside counsel.
JS: We’ve talked about people, we’ve talked about projects, and we’ve talked about
operating on a national and international stage. One thing we really haven’t talked
about directly was the impact of Utah Construction on the Bay Area.
BM: Well, we did building projects over in Alameda. We did a fill in Alameda. That may
have triggered the “Save the Bay” group, so there was no more filling of the Bay. We
did Bay Farm Island and South Shore. We developed those ourselves. It was a little
difficult because I also represented Utah at some of the Alameda City Council
hearings—Pillsbury Madison and Sutro represented first, and then later on I did.
We set up reclamation districts. I was a trustee of the reclamation districts.
There were two of them there—one for South Shore, one for Bay Farm. It was difficult
for a company of our size to be a developer, because you get up before the council,
and they will ask, “Will you do this, will you do that?” Well, the vice president in charge
of the project would have constraints on how far he could go—he would have to go
back to the headquarters. It was better to have a developer standing there and saying,
“Yes” or “No.” It just didn’t work that well, so then they brought in other developers as
partners. I think some of the partners still maintain an investment today.
JS: And, Utah was instrumental in building BART?
BM: Yes, we worked on the tunnel under the bay.
JS: Would people in San Francisco recognize Utah Construction as not just a “player,” but
as a good citizen?
BM: They do now. I had never heard of the company before I interviewed. The first day I
came to work, there was a headline on the front of the paper: “Rub a dub dub, too
many men in a tub!” There were a group of guys going out to work on the dredge and
they overloaded the raft. The Coast Guard picked them up. So, here’s my first day and
my wife opens the paper and says, “There you are on the front page.” Oops.
[Laughter] We were not known. Now, when people say they worked for Utah
Construction Company, they still know the old name—it’s Ed Littlefield’s company. It’s
not known as Marriner’s or Allen Christensen’s, but Ed’s company. He became
president of the Chamber of Commerce here.
JS: In San Francisco?
BM: Yes. He was also head of the Business Council, nationally. Normally, our company
was not large enough to have somebody be head of the Business Council; that’s
generally for very, very large corporations. We ultimately became part of the Fortune
500, but we were way down the list. It probably all happened through Marriner; he had
all the contacts. When I was asking Ed how active I should be in Jr. Chamber, and
whether it was alright to go ahead and do this thing or that, like the Commonwealth
Club, he told me Marriner had encouraged him to become head of the Chamber.
JS: Was the company open to involvement in both politics and business?
BM: Well, there were two of us who were presidents of the Commonwealth Club. Charlie
Travers, who was head of the commercial land development department, was also a
president of the club. They were encouraging outside activity. Not necessarily
political—I think I’m the only one who was active politically.
JS: There was no attempt on the part of the company to say, “We need to have some of
our people involved in Republican politics and some of our people involved in
BM: I’m unaware of it. I was thoroughly involved in Republican politics, as you know, when
I was chairman of the San Mateo Republican Committee. Well, that was nights and
JS: There was not a problem?
BM: Occasionally I’d have to take a day off when we had a state committee meeting, or
when I was an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in Miami
Beach in 1968.
JS: So, you would have been involved during the Reagan years?
BM: Yes. I was county chairman when Reagan was elected governor both times. That guy
was an amazing person. I introduced him at the College of San Mateo when he
spoke. He had the little blue cards which you read about and they were in felt-tip pen.
Some pickets were there and he answered their questions. Later on, when he was
governor, I was president of the Commonwealth Club. He used the same old blue
cards and handled questions quickly. A lot of people didn’t give him enough credit. He
was very smart on his feet.
JS: It was a crucial period here when Brown beat Nixon and then when Reagan beat
Brown. There was a lot of shifting around.
BM: Oh yes. But, I think we got along with everybody. Pat Brown and Jerry both spoke
when I was president of the Commonwealth Club. You never met a more charming
person than Pat. He was a genuine charmer; his son was the opposite. We had
enough Democrats in the company to be sure. Bill Pier, who I talked about earlier,
was a Democrat. Albert Reeves had been a Republican congressman from Missouri.
JS: In Utah, they thought Marriner was a Democrat. When he ran for the Senate in the
Republican primary in 1952, a lot of people said, “Oh, I thought he was a Democrat.”
BM: I always thought he was a Democrat, too.
JS: One of the issues on the board was the question of profit sharing for employees.
BM: That was before my time. That is the reason we went into Delaware. There was a
meeting right before I came to work for the company, and at that time they moved from
Utah to Delaware because Delaware law was much better known and settled.
JS: So, they had their corporate offices there?
BM: Not the corporate offices, that’s another interesting question. Ed said, “Bruce, look at
the records. When did Utah move its corporate offices from Ogden to San Francisco?”
I read everything and said, “Ed, I have no idea.” It was just a little bit more, a little bit
more, and a little bit more. They were in the Crocker Building on Montgomery Street
before they moved to the Shell Building. But, it just happened bit-by-bit. Probably in
part because Christensen lived here.
I didn’t hear this directly, but at one time the company was thinking of moving to
Palo Alto and building a headquarters down there. It was reported that Marriner said,
“If we can go to Palo Alto, we can go back to Salt Lake.” That ended that.
JS: Well, that’s interesting.
BM: It was by osmosis. And it really happened during World War II.
JS: E.O. and W.H. were gone by then.
BM: Yes, those people were gone. Christensen was company president. Ed was not with
the company at the time. He comes later on.
JS: I’m trying to think if there is anything else I need to ask you. You’ve been very helpful
and very generous with your time. I appreciate your willingness to sit down and
discuss the company.
BM: I’m very happy to. It was a wonderful place to work. I’m very proud and happy to have
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