Economist Alan K. McAdams dies at 83

Alan Kellog McAdams

Alan Kellog McAdams, professor emeritus of managerial economics in Cornell’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, died Sept. 14 in Ithaca after a short illness. He was 83.

McAdams’ interests and publications focused on global strategies for knowledge management, environmental management and management consulting. His research focused on models for end-user-owned advanced fiber network infrastructures, the economics of technological change and the strategic intent process.

He served as a senior staff economist with the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and as chief economic consultant and expert witness for the government in United States v. IBM. He had been a consultant to industry, government, the Ford Foundation and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, especially on matters of science and technology policy. He was a senior member of the IEEE and founder of the fledgling Institute for Advanced Fiber Networks.

Born in Houston in 1930, McAdams earned a B.A. at Yale (1952), served four years on the USS Gatling and was engaged in the Korean conflict. Afterward, he earned his MBA (1958) and Ph.D. (1960) in economics at Stanford University. Joining the Cornell faculty in 1960 as an assistant professor in managerial economics, McAdams taught for some 50 years. In 1996 and 1998, Johnson graduates selected McAdams for the Russell Distinguished Teaching Award.

After retiring in 2010 as professor emeritus, he went on to serve as a visiting associate professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

He is survived by his wife, Ann, three sons, a brother, a granddaughter and many members of his extended family. A family memorial service to celebrate his life will be arranged at a later date.

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Joe Schwartz