09.11.03 Although I wasn't close to anyone who died September 11, my dad was. His friend John Willett, a former grad school classmate, had started working for a Cantor Fitzgerald subsidiary only a couple of months before September 11. I'd met John only once: on a car ride to the airport, but my dad had high praise for him, even when he teased about John for his crush on another classmate.
This is what my dad wrote about John two years ago:
Friends – I just found out that John Willett was one of the victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy. Some of you know John from the Fisher MBA pre-req days. He was a member of my pre-req study team.
John finished the pre-req program. But, with a masters degree in economics, John decided to take the plunge into "Finance Central" and try his chances in Manhattan rather than go on for his MBA at Fisher COB. The following is one of his recent messages to me:
"After goofing around at Chase for a year, I have got a real job! I started a couple of weeks ago, I am working for co2e.com, which is an environmental brokerage, and a wholly owned sub of Cantor Fitzgerald. We're on the 102nd floor of the World Trade Center, which is very cool.
"When people ask me what I do there, I tell them I do everything. It's a dotcom, so it has a very flat, cooperative environment. Technically my job is to set up the financial controls, something like a corporate treasurer, and help with deals that we are brokering. I also have duties with the website that relate to marketing. Never a lack of work!
We have employees in NYC, Sydney, and one in Toronto. We will have a London and Paris office soon. The sun will never set on our company, which is great for deals because everything just gets handed off to the next shift on some other continent. It's a great study in teamwork."
John was a good guy, a hard worker, had brilliant business sense. He was funny and reveled in his bizarre - and sometimes bad - tastes. Most importantly, he remained idealistic to the core. He lost a job and career in politics because he decided to blow the whistle on corruption in Missouri. He lost many weeks and weekends when he could have been studying or putting a new career together because he continuously had to return to Missouri and testify against the bad guys.