Mary Altier
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Published Works

Mary Altier

The Road to Success: Indian Motorcycle Revs Up in Gilroy, by Mary Altier
Published: California CEO

"When Frank O'Connell took the helm of Indian Motorcycle last year, he did so because of a passion for motorcycle riding and a love of the classic Indian brand. He was drawn to the company's Gilroy headquarters from his comfortable home in Vermont, after an active career as 'a manager of life-style brands.' That means, he says, that his philosophy is to combine a consumer/demand driven orientation with a customer/dealer focus.

O'Connell hopes to help Indian, the oldest motorcycle company in the United States, capitalize on its legacy of fine craftsmanship and elegant design. Its retro look and feel has elevated it to near cult status among motorcyclist's worldwide. He estimates that approximately 95% of motorcycle consumers recognize the distinctive Indian brand.

Until recently, Indians were in production for slightly over half of the company's 100-year history. The original company closed its doors in 1953, so it was a momentous occasion when the classic Indian Chief again rumbled onto the American scene in June of 1999. People Magazine soon rewarded its combination of modern technology and the graceful lines of the roaring twenties by naming it "The Year 2000's Sexiest Motorcycle." To reach this point, the company has taken a long and circuitous route."

Mary Altier

Juan Quezada and the Miracle of Mata Ortiz by Mary Altier
Published: American Airlines Nexos (in Spanish)

When Juan Quezada was a young boy, he was fascinated by the ancient ceramic pottery shards he found near his home in Mata Ortiz, a dusty village in Northern Mexico's Chihuahua state. Determined to reproduce the prehistoric pots, he experimented to find out which combination of clay and other natural components made pots most like the pre-Colombian ones.

Today, there are over 500 potters in Mata Ortiz, many of them award-winning artists. The work of Quezada, a vital man in his sixties, is sold on-line and in some of the finest galleries throughout the world. Wearing a straw cowboy hat and boots dusty from his fields, he tells his remarkable life's story from a simple living room filled with elegant pots and numerous awards. He is proudest of El Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes, the highest honor a Mexican artist can receive.

Newmans Own Organics

The Sweet and Salty Success of Newman's Own Organics: The Second Generation, by Mary Altier
Published: California CEO

"A decade ago, Nell Newman had an idea that would contribute to a healthier environment. She suggested her famous father, Paul, expand his food line to include organic products. If Newman's Own manufactured organics, she reasoned, it could continue making contributions of all of its after-tax profits to charity, while making an additional contribution to sustainable organic agriculture.

Paul Newman turned the challenge back to his daughter. He offered to cover one year's expenses for a two-person team to determine the feasibility of an organic product line under the Newman name. The money would be returned once the new division became profitable, so that it could be given to the actor's beloved charities. Nell and her future business partner, Peter Meehan's research on the organic snack food market led to the formation of Newman's Own Organics: The Second Generation."

Plantronics Santa Cruz

Recipe for Success; Plantronics, Incorporated, by Mary Altier
Published: California CEO

"Ken Kannappan, CEO of Santa Cruz-based Plantronics, loves to cook. He is often at his stove stirring a pot of Heirloom Tomato Bisque, grilling salmon fillets for the meal's entree, and testing a Molten Chocolate Cake in the oven. While preparing these dishes, he conducts company business on Plantronics' CT Cordless Headset telephone, which frees up his hands for his favorite pastime.

As the head of the Plantronics' team, Kannappan leads his workforce in dedication to the company's product. Along with stock options, each employee is given a headset for their personal and professional use. The company's slogan, 'Headsets for Everyone,' appears on the back of Kannappan's business card but is endorsed by the entire workforce. Plantronics is dedicated to keeping its place as the world's largest manufacturer and marketer of lightweight communications headset products."


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