Bil Walters spent 25 years with the US subsidiary of Swedish car maker Saab, doing what he had wanted to do since he began working on cars and building his hot rod Chevy Six (how's that for an oxymoron) as a teenager. This lighthearted book shows how much fun life with Saab was, and what neat things happened to him as he traveled those 25 years.
The book is about those experiences, the products I helped bring to market, folks I worked with, many of whom became good friends, and my bosses...from the truly forgettable to the truly terrific. For the latter, think Bob Sinclair and Sten Helling.
I learned a lot over the years, much of it the hard way, and so have tried in each chapter to work any "lessons learned" into the story. However, at the end of the day, I felt privileged that I had played a part in helping to start a systematic approach to product planning, and take satisfaction in the fact that Saab could now spell the function Product Planning.
Further, I hope these stories will give you a feeling of what Sweden and its people were like during the 25 years I travelled there, and why I so loved that country and the folks I met along the way.
And as far as the stories go in this book, they are as accurate as my aging, musty brain will allow. Please forgive me if I missed something or got a few details wrong here and there. Bil Walters
About the Author
A little bit about me, and my darling wife Christine. In his previous life as an executive with Saab in the United States, Bill Walters (aka Bil) was an accomplished writer long before starting this book. Traveling to Sweden four times a year, he would write long and magnificent trip reports, and other analyses, that were read by perhaps as many as five to seven people at Saab, including his secretary and members of his department.
After retiring in 1992, he decided that his reports really were dull, and not so magnificent. In 1998, he turned his attention to writing Christmas Letters that were in retaliation to the "over-the-top" chronicles of the lives of friends and acquaintances, and of course their beautiful children, which he would receive each year.
Following some success with his letters (these were being read by some 50-plus folks a year, a vast improvement over his Saab reports), he found himself goaded by his friend, Bill Reed of Misty Valley Books into writing poetry for the Annual Poetry Night, which Bill and his wife Lynne hosted every summer. Since Bil was by no means a poet, he has called his writings "pomes" so as not to disgrace the art of poetry.
Over the years, other whacky and not so whacky ideas popped into his head, which are included in his first book, Bil's Mutterings.A couple of years after his first book, he decided that maybe some folks would like to read about his adventures, and misadventures, in his 25 years with Saab. In this case, he decided that the book shouldn't be quite so whacky, but fun and whimsical nevertheless.
So there you have it. Bil lives with his wife Christine Tattersall in the beautiful village of Grafton Vermont, along with their two kids, Tom (Tommy) Sawyer and Huck (Huckie) Finn. Huckie even contributed to part of Bil's first book when Bil had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and couldn't type one of his Christmas letters. He did pretty well at it, and may be on his way to a career of his own.
We will have to see.