In January 1970, Dr. Coleman became the first person from outside of San Diego to join Dr. J. Robert Beyster’s fifteen person company (then known as SAI) in La Jolla, California. In his early years at SAIC Dr. Coleman focused on the development and application methods for analyzing nuclear phenomena including the characterization of nuclear radiation environments from various sources. These efforts related to a variety of applications including human safety, measurement of materials concentrations, detection of weapons (buried mines to high altitude nuclear explosions) and radiation therapy. Dr. Coleman participated actively in the early culture of SAIC which called for not only technical prowess, but also project management skills and the development of new business. Above all else, the hallmark of SAIC was entrepreneurship. Later he was a key developer of, and managed, the company’s marine technology and services organization which provided services in ocean engineering, physical oceanography, naval architecture, computer science and data processing to commercial, national and international clients.
In his later years at SAIC Dr. Coleman was primarily engaged in the development and marketing of selected science and technology intensive business areas. This included penetrating new markets and expanding existing businesses. Business areas included: combating terrorism, development and delivery of next generation information networks, management and technical support of major health research and development programs (including operation of the National Cancer Institute’s Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research at Ft. Detrick, Maryland), and management and support of large, complex toxic material disposal projects. Generally, these endeavors were conducted on a national scale and occasionally they involved international activities.
Interviewed by Helen Weiss, Historian