David W. Baker

David Baker

Present Position

Senior Vice President, Field Services for AT&T (Retired)

Chapter Affiliation

Colorado School of Mines

Background Information

Biography

Statement

I’ve been a full member of Sigma Xi since 1979, a life member since 2003, a member of the Committee on Finance since July 2012, and Treasurer/Chair of the Committee on Finance since July 2016.  My educational background includes a BS and MS in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University (WVU) and a Ph.D. in Mineral Economics (specializing in Operations Research) from the Colorado School of Mines (CSM).  I’ve maintained close ties to both WVU and CSM, including election to the WVU Academy of Industrial Engineers in 1995, serving on the Visiting Committee of the Industrial and Management Systems Engineering department for over 20 years, the Visiting Committee of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources for the past 3 years.   I started my professional career as a system engineer/project manager in the Raw Materials Research and Development Division of Weyerhaeuser Company.   

I spent the next 23 years in a variety of increasingly responsible financial management positons, starting  as an operations research analyst in the Finance organization of Getty Oil Company, doing statistical risk analysis and parametric financial analysis of major ($100 million+) domestic and international mining investments.  I joined Hughes Aircraft Company (subsequently Hughes Electronics and ultimately DIRECTV) in 1985 in a financial position, and quickly rose to division controller and by 1994 was Group Controller of the Hughes Space& Communications Group.    As Group Controller, I was responsible for all financial management, internal controls, and reporting of the $1.6 Space & Communications Group, including managing approximately $80 million per year in research projects related to satellite communications technology.  In that role, I developed expertise in Federal Acquisition Regulations and the associated Cost Accounting Standards, because we did a mixture of both government and commercial work in the same facilities under the same cost centers.  This was an unusual arrangement in the industry at that time that required exceptional financial controls for compliance and attracted a high degree of continual audit scrutiny from the Defense Contract Audit Agency.  

After serving as the corporate project manager for the $9.5 billion divestiture of the non-space defense business of Hughes Aircraft Company to Raytheon in late 1997, I moved to Tokyo to assume the position of Chief Financial Officer and member of the Board of Directors of DIRECTV Japan a few months after it started broadcasting.  After several years that business ultimately failed, and I negotiated the sale of the subscriber base in exchange for equity in our primary competitor and liquidated the remainder of DIRECTV Japan for less than 50% of the Board-authorized liquidation budget of $600 million.  I then returned to the U.S. and spent a year as the VP of Financial Planning at DIRECTV Latin America and then joined the DIRECTV Corporate Legal Department as VP of International and Special Projects, where I managed several foreign ventures, a number of acquisitions and divestitures, and the highly successful $2.4 billion restructuring of DIRECTV Latin America in Chapter 11.  I left DIRECTV at the end of 2005 (following its acquisition by News Corporation), spent 2 years as an independent restructuring consultant, then re-joined DIRECTV in 2008 as Senior Vice President of Field Services, running a $2.2+ billion network of approximately 15,000 installation and service technicians in all 50 states.  I retired from DIRECTV (now a part of the AT&T family) in December 2016.

My experience with not-for-profit financial management is based primarily on my experience at Tusculum College, where I’ve served on the Board of Trustees for the past 7 years, including the Finance, Buildings and Grounds, Enrollment, Executive, and Audit (which I presently chair) Committees, plus my experience on the Sigma Xi Committee on Finance for the past 5 years and a recent 2-year term on the Audit Committee of the American Heart Association.  Although some of the accounting conventions and reporting requirements are different than for-profit organizations, the basics of non-profit financial management are very similar: 

  • Conservation and growth of investment assets

  • Thoughtful, timely, and comprehensive planning and analysis

  • Integrity and transparency in transactions and recommendations

  • Conservatism in accounting and reporting

  • Good stewardship of all assets (including but not limited to financial assets)

  • A long term perspective in decision-making

Sigma Xi has made significant financial and operational improvements in the past several years, and is now on a path to growth and financial strength.  I was excited and proud to join Sigma Xi in 1979 and I have enjoyed being part of the team that has recently moved Sigma Xi onto a healthier path.  I would like to have the opportunity to continue using my financial, analytical, and change management skills to see Sigma Xi through on its journey to growth and financial health by serving as its Treasurer.

Sincerely,

David W. Baker
Sigma Xi Life Member
 #790770028