Dr. Donald S. Feigenbaum

Dr. Donald S. Feigenbaum was Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of the General Systems Company, which he founded with his brother, Dr. Armand V. Feigenbaum. General System Company was a global leader in designing and installing proprietary management operating systems to accelerate the competitive business strengths for manufacturing and service companies throughout the world. Donald was one of the acknowledged world leaders in systems management and systems engineering, and was widely recognized as a very effective and pragmatic, “roll-up-your-sleeves” executive who consistently implemented highly successful business results.

Donald earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Union College in 1946. He was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Union College and was recognized by Union as the “Outstanding Engineering Alumnus”. He was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the University of Massachusetts and an honorary degree of Doctor of Science by the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Union College dedicated and named its administration building the “Armand V. and Donald S. Feigenbaum Hall”, in honor of their financial and professional contributions to the college.

Donald co-authored, with his brother, Armand, the book, The Power of Management Capital, which set a new direction for management in the twenty first century not only in industry, but in health care, education, public administration and technology. Reviewers have stated that “rarely has one book had the intellect and authority to change business and the way business is approached and conducted” and “it is about the next great wave of corporate dominance – innovation in business management and leadership.” The book has been translated into Japanese, Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese and Arabic, and published in various languages throughout India.

After service in the U.S. Navy, during World War II, with Far East duty in the Seabees, Donald’s business career began as an engineer with the General Electric Company in Schenectady. Early in his career, he became a pioneer developer of value engineering, the technology approach for designing and producing products in more cost-effective and economical ways, which has become a basic to product design and manufacturing in America. He quickly rose corporately through a series of management positions in several General Electric businesses, moving up to major management responsibility in GE’s aircraft jet engine business in Evendale, Ohio. In 1957, he became General Manager of the International Systems Company, guiding that company to a major leadership position in the systems technology industry. In 1968, he co-founded with Armand, the General Systems Company, and played a key role in creating its international business growth.

Donald was one of the youngest graduates of Union College to be elected to Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honorary, for his outstanding technology contributions. He was a Life Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and a member of many professional societies, including the National Society of Professional Engineers, and was a Fellow of the American Society for Quality. For eight years, he was chairman of the Systems Engineering Committee of the American Society for Quality.

Donald was widely traveled. He was active in influencing management and technology innovation in the Far East, particularly in Japan, China and throughout Europe. In recognition of the influence of Donald and Armand’s activity in the Middle East, the annual Feigenbaum Leadership Excellence Award was established by the Middle East Quality Association composed of major Middle Eastern nations with the objective of encouraging the adoption of Total Quality Management. Donald and Armand were recognized in major events in Brazil and Argentina with an official proclamation of “…recognition to (their) leadership and contributions to the development of quality worldwide, and particularly in South America.”

Donald is well known for his personal, professional and financial contributions to civic, educational and charitable organizations. He was a member of:

  • the Board of Directors of the Berkshire Economic Development Corporation
  • the Board of Trustees of the Berkshire Athenaeum
  • the Board of Overseers of the Hancock Shaker Village
  • the Board of Trustees of the Berkshire Museum
  • the Board of Trustees of the Colonial Theatre Association
  • the Board of Trustees of the Berkshire Theatre Festival
  • the Board of Directors of the Rotary Club of Pittsfield Foundation
  • a corporator of the Berkshire Medical Center

He was active in the Feigenbaum Massachusetts Quality Award.

  • Established the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation at the Berkshire Museum which celebrates the leadership of Berkshire-based global innovators and the principles through which they brought leadership.
  • Sponsored the Hilda Vallin Feigenbaum Lecture at the Temple Anshe Amunim in honor of their mother.
  • Established the Hilda Vallin Feigenbaum Berkshire Authors Room in the Berkshire Athenaeum, which recognizes both 19th and 20th Century New England writers.
  • Developed and sponsored the Michael Walsh Trail on West Stockbridge Mountain, emphasizing environmental protection.
  • Established the Feigenbaum Forum at Union College for discussion of liberal arts and engineering education.
  • Established the Feigenbaum Forum at the University of Massachusetts’ Medical School for improvement in the quality of health care.
  • Major contributor to the Colonial Theatre Restoration in Pittsfield.
  • Awarded annually the Feigenbaum Scholarship in Engineering and Technology to the outstanding graduating senior of the Pittsfield high schools.


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