10 Questions with Del Foit

November 18. 2013
by Christina Martinez

Del Foit is a familiar face to many around The Rady School.  He teaches for both the undergraduate and MBA programs, bringing his wealth of industry experience to his operations, entrepreneurship and innovation courses. This 4 time Most Valuable Professor awardee is the focus of our first ever installment of “10 Questions,” a new regular blog feature that will help us learn more about the folks who make Rady awesome. Let’s get to know Del a little better!

1.       Who or what most inspires you?

The people who inspire me most are my wife and four men who pushed the envelope:

  • My Father
  • John F Kennedy:  “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”  This was my motto in business – ask not what your company can do for you, but what you can do for your company.
  • Chuck Yeager: A man who didn’t have a college degree, but who was the first pilot to break the sound barrier.
  • John Glenn: The first American astronaut to orbit Earth.

2.       How do you stay motivated?

What motivates me is feeling that what I am doing could make a difference to mankind.  When I worked in the biotech/medical device industry, I managed operations for companies that developed and produced products that saved lives and improved the quality of people’s lives.  Now, as an educator, my hope is that I make a difference for the next generation of young business men and women.

3.       What’s your favorite app or technology tool?

The GPS device in my plane.  I began flying in the mid-1970s and all I had to navigate by then was a radio and a paper map.  In 1999 I put a GPS system with a moving map in my plane – I am amazed by what that thing can do.

4.       What’s your favorite place on campus and why?

My office at Rady.  In it, you will find me at work, family photos, 2 pictures of my plane, 4 Most Valuable Rady Professor awards, souvenirs from my travels, and a gift from one of my students: a picture of the Chinese character for “chaos,” with the quote “Where brilliant dreams are born.”

5.       If you weren’t in your current role/occupation, what would you be doing?

I would probably be a pilot.

6.       What’s your best productivity tip or trick?

My best tip is to keep a daily to-do list that reflects who you are, what you do, and how you think.  In the old days, I had a Day-Timer with a list of tasks, activities and appointments.  Life is different these days, so I keep my list in Outlook and on a simple piece of paper on my desk.

7.       If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would it be?

I would tell my younger self to focus more, be patient, and set higher goals for myself.

8.       What one word would you use to define yourself?

I would have used different words in different decades of my life.  In the 1970’s when I worked for Johnson & Johnson, I was known as the cleanup guy because J & J moved me around to define and implement effectiveness and efficiency through innovations/improvements in various departments.  Now, I would describe myself as adventurous, principled and as a coach.

9.       Quote or life philosophy you live by?

I like to share quotes with my students to get them thinking, so I am a collector of quotes.  Here are a few of my favorites:

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” – Albert Einstein

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory”- George S. Patton

10.   What do you love about Rady?

The energy, the intellectual stimulation, my colleagues (professors and staff), the students, and the feeling that I’m making a difference.