Below we highlight prominent systems thinkers and System Dynamicists whose service has been invaluable to the field. Their contributions and memory will live on through the work of the many they touched throughout their lives.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our dear friend, Jim Thompson. He was a light in this world with his wit, humor, and work in System Dynamics education and health modeling.
After graduating from the University of Massachusetts, Jim settled in Connecticut. He started his career at Arthur Andersen and then worked as Treasurer at Kollmorgen. In 1990, Jim chose to make a change and pursue his passion, System Dynamics. He studied at MIT and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland. He also taught other budding System Dynamicists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Jim’s drive to make a difference in the world led him to focus on the development of computer-aided health systems models. He did this locally at Cigna and around the globe. His work served the World Bank, the Governments of Indonesia and Bangladesh, and the Graduate Medical School of the Duke-National University of Singapore.
A life-long learner, Jim enjoyed sharing new insights and contributing to research as an active member of the System Dynamics Society and as an adjunct professor and student advisor at Central Connecticut State University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Jim has been a loyal and active member of the Society since 1988, that is 33 years! He rarely missed our annual research conference and participated as a Modeling Assistance Workshop coach and conference reviewer. He also served on the Policy Council, the Administrative Committee, the Strategy Committee, and the Investment Committee. His colleagues at the Society, students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and all the others he has touched with his work will miss him dearly. His legacy will live on in so many others that he touched with his work.
Dave Packer and Ginny Wiley
David William Packer 1937-2021
Virginia Wiley Packer 1944-2021
It is with great sadness that we share the loss of both Dave Packer and Ginny Wiley during the past month. They were champions of the field and very active in philanthropy generally. They touched many lives in profound ways and will not be forgotten. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Bedford Citizen (TheBedfordCitizen.org) or to The Home for Little Wanderers (TheHome.org). Fall dates are being considered for a combined service to remember and celebrate the lives of these two wonderful people.
Jim Waters was a prominent systems thinker. The System Dynamics Society recognizes his extensive and invaluable service to the field. In 1989 he founded the Waters Center for Systems Thinking, a nonprofit organization dedicated to delivering benefits through systems thinking to school districts, organizations, and communities around the world. As a firm believer in the power of education, he had a profound influence on spreading systems thinking in K-12 education and will be missed. Waters is an industry pioneer and entrepreneur. His legacy will be part of Waters Corporation and resonate in all fields and projects he led.
Mark Paich was a gifted modeler and a generous mentor who made exceptional contributions to the field of System Dynamics. Mark earned his Ph.D. in System Dynamics from MIT, taught for many years at Colorado College, and returned frequently to MIT Sloan as a visiting lecturer. He helped establish the simulation and modeling practice at PwC US when he joined the company in 2010 as Director of Analytics. A recipient of the System Dynamics Society’s Forrester Award and Applications Award, Mark was widely recognized as a leading expert in System Dynamics.
In 2002, Mark and his collaborators earned 2nd place in the Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences for their work, which was published in Interfaces as “A multimethod approach for creating new business models: The General Motors OnStar project.” Mark and this team received the inaugural Applications Award from the System Dynamics Society for the best real-world application of System Dynamics in 2007. As an author of the book Pharmaceutical Product Branding Strategies: Simulating Patient Flow and Portfolio Dynamics, Mark and his colleagues were honored by the System Dynamics Society in 2010 with the prestigious Jay Wright Forrester Award.
3 thoughts on “Memorial”
I’m deeply saddened to hear about Ginny and Dave both passing. My goodness. Their leadership significantly shaped the content and culture of the systems thinking community that I participated in–especially through the Pegasus ST in Action conferences. Both Ginny and Dave were creative and bold in their thinking, as well as kind and oh-so generous with their time and talents. I’m holding their family and friends in my heart today as I reflect on their transitions.
I have a very fond memory of Ginny. When I was new to the Society and trying to pitch Albuquerque as a conference site, way back in 2005. We brought chips and salsa to the Policy Council meeting and made a very short pitch (Aldo Zagonel was with me). The Society president made a comment about us trying to influence the 2007 site decision, something like ‘butter up’ the Policy Council. I was a bit terrified, it was my first introduction to the Policy Council and I must have looked terrified. Ginny Wiley said, “They’re not try to butter us up, they’re trying to spice us up!”. I made room in my heart for her at that moment. Thank you Ginny.
Jim Thompson was a wonderful person. Thoughtful and willing to listen. It was always a pleasure to see him at conferences and just chat. Besides all his contributions to to conferences he also published a great “Introduction to System Dynamics”. It may be hard to find but it is worth the effort.