Richard Egan, an MIT graduate and former Marine Corps helicopter pilot, died yesterday. With Roger Marino, he had founded EMC, the most successful technology company remaining in Massachusetts. Through creative design and problem-solving, he created tens of thousands of jobs worldwide and enabled the construction of information systems that save people a lot of time and effort. He was known in Massachusetts for giving friends and employees helicopter rides from the company parking lot.
Egan seems not to have been a saint. In 2006, the Bush Administration IRS forced him to pay a lot of taxes that the accounting firm KPMG had tried to shelter with an exotic Irish-based scheme. With or without that tax shelter, however, the guy paid tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes over his lifetime and the people that he employed were nicked for billions more.
We should mourn Egan if only because we will need another 5000 guys like him if we are ever to pay off the debt that our local, state, and federal governments are accumulating on our behalf.
More: AP story; local newspaper story; Boston Globe (note that the Globe reporters have not been as kind to Egan as they have been to Ted Kennedy; Egan being disciplined for being AWOL at age 18 gets a larger percentage of coverage than does Ted Kennedy’s killing of Mary Jo Kopechne when he was 37 years old, married with three children).