The past year has been filled with unexpected life challenges and deep heart ache. Many of you know that my mother-in-law passed unexpectedly in September of 2012. Most of you do not know that the following February Meres (Mack), my husband, my best friend, my partner in business and life, was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer. He passed on Sept 28, 2013.
Meres was always a leading edge thinker who enjoyed conceiving answers to problems – often before they were recognized – and working to make his visions reality. He believed in the power of ideas and the bigger the idea the better!
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois he studied architectural design before entering the US Air Force where he participated in early applications of computer technology and information systems to military and business challenges. Meres was particularly adept at long range planning and attracted interest from The Institute for the Future for his thinking about shrinking the time frames for moving data/information throughout a vertical industry.
As an entrepreneur he created a variety of companies in industries ranging from design to food manufacturing to information delivery systems. Often ahead of his time, many of his ideas shaped business information and communications systems that are common place today and known as Real Time Media, Real Time Messaging, and Crowdsourcing.
Some of his accomplishments that meant the most to Mack were:
** Designing a prototype system linking suppliers and healthcare providers by phone (pre-internet!) to expedite prescription fulfillment and participating on the design team for one of the first outpatient surgical facilities to provide physicians an alternative to hospital service delivery.
** Developing pre-packaged frozen entrees for individuals with special nutritional requirements, a precursor to Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers genre of prepared foods.
** Writing, directing and producing a play in Los Angeles featuring 5 leading gospel choirs…that opened and closed in one night. 🙂
** Transforming the vitamin industry from specialty distribution in health food stores to mass marketing through supermarkets as well as on the unique merchandising challenges that supermarkets faced as they attempted to meet the demands of a segmenting consumer base.
** The founding of MediaLink International Corporation a research & development firm focused on the application of communications and information technologies to the marketing and transactional environment of the post-scanner supermarket industry.
** Launching the Food Business Network the first high-speed video/data network for a vertical industry. Linking the food industry (manufacturing, distribution, retail, etc.) together – pre-internet days. FBN broadcast industry information, provided high speed data delivery and messaging and laid the groundwork for electronic data interchange and point of sale consumer services by satellite. Before being purchased Meres expanded the network to reach approximately 20% ($40 billion dollars) of the U.S. Food industry’s total wholesale buying power in less than two years.
** His influence and avocation of the use of electronic debit cards for food stamp recipients in the State of California and on the nation 30 years later. It was as much about creating a more efficient system as it was maintaining the dignity of the card user.
** Initiating the development of a large scale information management system to support joint planning between business and government for disaster recovery.
** Introducing computer-based tools & methodologies for large scale, distributed collaboration to Rebuild LA as part of the recovery process following the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
** Recognizing the need to address the housing and healthcare issues facing the U.S. with the rapidly approaching problem of retiring boomers: too many people and not enough beds. How to use technology to age in place was the focus of the initial research. It was expanded to look at integrating universal/accessible design with technology and AIPatHome.com was born.
It’s hard to convey the who, what and why of a person in a few paragraphs and I admire the people who are capable of doing that. I am not one of them. Recounting some of his achievements in life gives you some sense of Meres but does not adequately show his deep passion for life, his unwavering (sometimes maddening!) optimism, belief in his own “voice” and encouraging others to find theirs and the importance of taking a risk. Putting yourself out there for what you believe. And most of all, that he was a kind, funny, caring man.
Your patience during this time has been deeply appreciated. Next year we expect to resume publishing of the Bulletin while discovering a new rhythm as we move forward with AIPatHome related projects. Specifically, proceeding with the establishment of an AIP Demonstration Home in St. George, Utah for which the groundwork has already been laid.
I wish you the best of everything in 2014,
Meres ‘Mack’ McCarroll, Jr.
March 1, 1942 – Sept. 28, 2013