The Lidow file Featured

7:53am EDT June 30, 2006
Age: 51

Born: Los Angeles

College: Bachelor of science degree, applied physics, California Institute of Technology, 1975; Ph.D., applied physics, Stanford University, 1977

Who has influenced you most in your career?
I have so many influences. I have been in this business for 30 years. Certainly my father [Eric Lidow]. He has been in this business since 1939 and has had the greatest long-term influence on me.

As a CEO, what is something you can’t stand?
I can’t stand somebody who really isn’t engaged. If you’re not engaged in the business, find a business you can be engaged in. Let’s not have any placeholders.

What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
On the first day I came to work at IR in 1977, my boss was this crusty guy, very experienced engineer and marketing guy, and he didn’t even say hello. He looked at me and he says, ‘What is the definition of an engineer?’

I have a Ph.D. I’d gone to the best schools in the world, and I didn’t really know the answer to that. So he looks at me and says, ‘An engineer is someone who can do for 50 cents what any fool can do for a dollar. Now get to work.’ And I think he was right.