At the young age of 39, following an extensive career in aerospace and electronics management, Donald Beall became President of Rockwell, a diversified high-technology company with global leadership in aerospace, electronics and automotive markets. Ten years later, in 1988, he became its Chairman and CEO, making him one of the youngest among Fortune 500 CEOs.
Under Beall's leadership, Rockwell doubled its revenue to nearly $12 billion in the early 1990s. He spearheaded the transformation of Rockwell by moving aggressively into numerous commercial electronics markets. His focus on cutting-edge technologies and managerial leadership was exemplified in aerospace programs such as the Space Shuttle, B-1 Bomber, GPS satellites, ICBM and nuclear submarine precision navigation systems. His leadership also catapulted commercial businesses such as factory automation controls, avionics, telecommunications and communication semiconductors.
Beall's professional achievements are directly related to the skills he learned in his formative years. His parents, neither of whom attended college, worked at Montgomery Ward and J.C. Penney to save enough money to develop an oil distribution business. Growing up in Crescent City, California, a small coastal town near the Oregon border, Beall worked in his father’s business and in the local lumber industry.
Encouraged by his teachers to pursue college, Beall attended San José State."San José State offers a first-class education to many, many young people, particularly those of limited means." While at San José State, Professor Ralph Parkman recommended an accelerated MBA program at the University of Pittsburgh, setting Beall on a path of business management early in his career.
Able to combine both technical expertise with business acumen, Beall recognizes an essential component to professional success: people. His greatest career accomplishment "was developing people and seeing them reach their full potential. People development is key." In today's dynamic and competitive world, Beall's remarkable career testifies to the importance of studying the bigger picture and developing leaders for the twenty-first century.