William E. Halal

Dr. William E. Halal

Faculty: Emeriti

Professor Emeritus of Management, Technology & Innovation

William E. Halal was born in Lebanon and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was five years old. He was raised in Cleveland, and attended Purdue University. He recalls that when he set off for college, he was unsure what he was going to major in: “I didn’t know what I was going to study, but I liked airplanes…so I thought I’d study aeronautical engineering.”

After college, he served in the Air Force for five years and upon returning as a Major from serving in Europe and the Pacific moved to New York City and worked for Grumman as an Aerospace Engineer on the Apollo Lunar Module. “Another marvelous experience - I’ve been very fortunate,” Halal asserts. “I remember going to meetings where we would be briefed by scientists about what the composition of the soil on the moon was like so we could design landing gear…they really didn’t know, and that’s what was so fascinating about it.”

“But I got bored … all those acres of engineers…working in big, bureaucratic organizations,” Halal recalls.“  I was looking for something else and the free speech movement at Berkeley caught my attention. I had never heard of students at American Universities protesting before and it really intrigued me, I was fascinated by it, and I loved the San Francisco area, so I thought, ‘Why not go to Berkeley?’ Halal studied business, economics, and social science and achieved both an M.B.A and Ph.D. in his six years at Berkeley. He feels that being part of the free speech movement was an important part of his education, as it made him think about structural inequity and obsolescence and allowed him to engage in “pure learning.” 

“The west coast is marvelous,” Halal notes, “but I missed the seasons,” and so he decided to move back to the east coast and landed in Washington, DC.  After an assistant professorship at American University, Halal came to the George Washington University in 1979, a decision he claims he has "never regretted." He describes GW as "truly a cosmopolitan institution.” He was hired as full professor within a year based on his stellar publishing record. 

“I call myself a professor of management, technology, innovation,” says Halal. “but my main interest is …changing the world. That’s always been my interest, including a number of subfields that all contribute  --, forecasting, study of the future,  strategy technology, knowledge, and institutional change are all fields that I am knowledgeable about. They all revolve around this historic transformation that we are all a part of.”  At GW, Halal introduced a number of new courses including an Emerging Technologies course. He explains, “It’s about the technology revolution - the most exciting event of our time- transforming the world before our eyes.”

Halal's favorite activity outside of the classroom has been writing. He is the author of six books and hundreds of articles and asserts that "...every one was a joy" to write, and noting that writing is an “opportunity to be creative and learn things you didn’t know. When you write, it’s a process of self discovery…” For his 1979 article “Beyond the Profit Motive,” Halal won the Mitchell Prize and an award of $10,000. His books include: The New Capitalism, Internal Markets, The New Management, 21st Century Economics, The Infinite Resource, and recently Technology’s Promise.

Aside from his publishing and teaching at GW, Halal has done extensive consulting work with organizations ranging from Asian Development Bank to the EPA. He has published numerous op-eds , including in The New York Times and The Washington Post. He has also organized multiple conferences and holds a visiting appointment at Bangkok University in Thailand.

As an emeritus, Halal continues to run a company called TechCast Global, which utilizes the internet to pool the knowledge of experts from around the world to develop forecasts and strategies for our rapidly changing world. Halal notes that “TechCast has established itself as an institution of merit” and says of a recent flattering full page spread in the Washington Post, “I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I’d get a full page in the Post - that was a real thrill.”  Halal also continues to write: “My next book is about consciousness…I’ve come to see that that’s the next great frontier.” 

Education

B.S., Purdue University, Aerospace Engineering
M.B.A, University of California, Berkeley, International Business & Economics
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, Aerospace Engineering 


 

 

Audio Clip from Interview