Mr. James Olson

Lunch & Learn July 23

Please join us Thursday, July 23, 2020 for our monthly Lunch & Learn program featuring Mr. James Olson, former Chief of CIA Counterintelligence.

Mr. James Olson
Mr. James Olson

Mr. Olson will take the audience into the world of espionage as he lived it during his 31-year under cover career. The theme of his presentation will be “Traitors I Have Known,” a discussion of his personal experiences with American spies who betrayed our country for money, ego, or sex. He will describe why these traitors did what they did, how they operated, and how they got caught. Mr. Olson will leave time at the end for questions about his career, the CIA in general, current events, or anything else on the audience’s mind. He will also provide an overview of his new book, “To Catch a Spy: The Art of Counterintelligence.”

When the Soviet Union dissolved in December of 1991 many academics, media commentators, and even senior government officials declared that the Cold War was over and that we were in a new era of Pax Americana. Jim Olson was not one of those who was deluded by the changing currents of international affairs.

From his post as Chief of Counterintelligence for the CIA to his professorship at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, Jim has studied, analyzed, and tracked the intelligence activities of hostile intelligence services as the international community evolved. He has warned of the continuing focus of the intelligence services of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and Cuba on the United States. These hostile services are not only penetrating our government and its military and intelligence services, but are also focusing on economic and cyber-attacks.

Professor Olson in his new book, “To Catch a Spy: The Art of Counterintelligence”, demonstrates the devastating success of hostile Intelligence services against all elements of the U.S. government. He has also shown the evolution of U.S. counterintelligence activities and the positive nature of these changes while acknowledging the difficulties of effective counterintelligence in democratic societies.

“This program promises to be an interesting dive into a world few of us know anything about. It will be informative and entertaining. Mr. Olson has previously presented at one of our events and the audience response was very positive.” says Bill Herman, President, Silver Fox Advisors.

Mr. Olson is our featured speaker on July 23 as part of the monthly Silver Fox Advisors Lunch & Learn. The program will be in webinar format. Please register in advance.

Shellye Arnold

What’s Happening at Memorial Park?

Houston’s Memorial Park is one of the crown jewels of Houston’s unique culture. Join us on June 25th as we hear from Shellye Arnold, the President & CEO of the Memorial Park Conservancy. The mission of the Memorial Park Conservancy is to preserve, restore, and enhance Memorial Park for the enjoyment of all Houstonians, today and tomorrow. Memorial Park Conservancy is a private, nonprofit organization that operates and maintains 1,100 of the Park’s 1,500 acres.

Shellye joined Memorial Park Conservancy in 2013. Since then, Shellye and the Conservancy leadership team have grown the organization from 3 employees to over 30 and from a $500,000 annual budget to over $30 million in operating and capital expenses. Working closely with partners, Shellye and the Conservancy developed a long-range Master Plan for Memorial Park in 2015; initiated capital improvements and transitioned management and operations of 1,100 acres of Memorial Park to the Conservancy in 2016; and in 2018 secured approval for a plan to deliver over $200 million of capital improvements in Memorial Park by 2028.

Fundraising is underway for this Ten-Year Plan for the Park, with catalyst funding from the Kinder Foundation. This is one of the largest urban park restoration efforts underway in the U.S.  Project Partners in this public-private partnership include the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Memorial Park Conservancy, Kinder Foundation, and Uptown Development Authority.

The team is focused on:

  • Restoring the Park’s ecological systems and creating greater resiliency
  • Reconnecting the Park’s land, waterways, trails, and people
  • Consolidating compatible uses together in appropriate areas
  • Tending to the land and the Park’s cultural history, maintaining balance through responsible management
  • And enhancing the overall Park experience and amenities

Shellye brings a background in executive leadership and change management from her nearly 20 years at Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer Corporation and McKinsey & Company. Having studied public policy,

Early Career

Shellye spent the first part of her career with the Texas State Legislature, the Texas Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. She previously worked as a volunteer in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru delivering public health programs and speaks Spanish fluently.

Shellye holds a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. As a native Houstonian, Shellye cares deeply about Houston’s parks, bayous, green spaces and the wildlife that inhabit them.  Shellye volunteers in animal rescue and from 2011 – 2019 served as a leader for Girl Scout Troop 21, the nation’s only Girl Scout troop composed of women with differing learning abilities.

From the President of Silver Fox Advisors

Silver Fox Advisors’ President Bill Herman stated, “Memorial Park is actually larger than Central Park in New York City and is a Houston gem that is going thru a significant enhancement.  Come and learn about Memorial Park’s long-term vision.”

This special presentation will be held via webinar rather than the Silver Fox Advisors normal meeting format at the Houston Racquet Club. You must register for event by clicking here.

Henry Florsheim

The Silver Fox Advisors Add Henry Florsheim

Today the Silver Fox Advisors announced their newest member, Mr. Henry Florsheim. Mr. Florsheim was elected a member at the May 14th Membership meeting held virtually.

Bill Herman, President of the organization welcomed Mr. Florsheim by saying “Henry has an extensive and highly recognized career as former Managing Director of Houston’s ABC-TV Channel 13. His passion for the community and its growth are well known.”

Mr. Florsheim is retired from ABC-13, but is involved in numerous community activities including board seats with Interfaith Ministries of Houston and DePelchin Children’s Center. He is a former board member of the Houston Food Bank and Theatre Under the Stars. He volunteers with BakerRipley and serves in various voter registration activities for Harris and Fort Bend counties.

Silver Fox Advisors are proven business leaders who advise, consult, and mentor business leaders, CEO Roundtables, and entrepreneurship programs.

Silver Fox Advisors have been sharing their knowledge, experience, and skills since 1986. For more information visit:

Gerald Merfish was elected a Silver Fox Advisor

HOUSTON, TX (August 8, 2019) – Today the Silver Fox Advisors announced its newest Silver Fox Advisor.Gerald Merfish was elected a Silver Fox Advisor at the organization’s August 8, 2019 Business Meeting”, announced Bill Herman, President of the Silver Fox Advisors. Herman added. “Gerald has an extensive varied background in the business world and specifically in supply chain distribution and the steel pipe industry. In …

Read moreGerald Merfish was elected a Silver Fox Advisor

New Member – Joseph Tung

HOUSTON, TX (June 13, 2019) – Today the Silver Fox Advisors announced its newest Silver Fox Advisor. Joseph Tung was elected a Silver Fox Advisor at the organization’s June 13, 2019 Business Meeting”, announced Bill Herman, President of the Silver Fox Advisors. Herman added. “Joseph has an extensive background in the business world and specifically …

Read moreNew Member – Joseph Tung

Rand Wall

New Member Rand Wall

HOUSTON, TX (April 11, 2019) – Today the Silver Fox Advisors announced its newest Silver Fox Advisor. Rand Wall was elected a Silver Fox Advisor at the organization’s April 11, 2019 Business Meeting”, announced Bill Herman, President of the Silver Fox Advisors. Herman added. “Rand has anextensive background in the business world and specifically in …

Read moreNew Member Rand Wall

Electrical manufacturing

Organization & Marketing


The Company is a five million dollar Houston-based manufacturer of toroidal transformers for specialized electrical equipment applications. Their markets are medical, telecommunications, audio-video, computer and lighting industries (300 customers). The higher price ($85 average) and manufacturing complexity of toroidal transformers dictated that the Company work with their OEM customers in the custom design and manufacture of these components. The Company was profitable but wanted to grow to $10.0 million in revenue in three years. 


The problem was that attaining this $10.0 million revenue objective rested with the President and a senior sales manager, both lacking the experience and time to “run the business” and to grow it. The marketing problem was that the Company could not effectively identify, sell and service new applications. 


The Silver Fox Advisor convinced the President to shift responsibility and accountability for profitable sales growth to the sales manager. The sales manager then hired and trained more Company sales engineers and independent field representatives. In addition, the Silver Fox Advisor recommended an outside (research, marketing, planning and advertising) firm to define, quantify and communicate with new target markets. 


The result has been that with new prospect industries, product applications, and a successful sales organization, the Company has reached its $10.0 million revenue goal. An economic side benefit has been a simplified product mix with far better manufacturing productivity. 

Business Start-Up & Organization

Advice from an experienced Silver Fox Advisor concerning what not to do is as valuable as guidance and suggestions on what should be done!!


Four people who knew each other well (a saleswoman, a commercial artist, a copywriter, and a physical fitness instructor) shared a common interest in their own physical fitness. They wanted to capitalize on the current trend toward health and fitness by building and operating a facility to function as a Ropes Course. They were located in a large city with many companies and people as prospective customers. A very favorable location was available but satisfactory terms were not yet worked out. All were to be equal partners. Adequate capital was available from outside investors. A general division of responsibility for operating functions was agreed to between the four potential Owners. 


The challenge was to initiate a business plan and begin operations as quickly as practicable. 


As planning and negotiations for location and equipment continued, two Silver Fox Advisors were called in. Although there was much discussion, no practical or complete business plan ever came together. It soon became apparent that none of the individuals, other than the fitness instructor, was planning to quit their other job to devote full time to this venture. And to him, it was just another job, not an entrepreneurial opportunity. 


The Silver Fox Advisors were able to convince the four potential Owners of the new Start-up Company that, on the basis of their overall commitment, the operation would never succeed. Although much time was spent in arriving at this conclusion, very little of the potential Owners’ money was spent, and no investor money was accepted or wasted. A business disaster was avoided!

Manufacturing & Costs


A well-known Company in enamel-on-steel cookware was the first to bring color, tempered glass lids, stay cool stainless steel handles and high quality non-stick em1 to the market. Their customers include quality retailers and mail-orders who require dependable, timely shipments and service. The assembly and warehousing of the Company’s cookware line is accomplished in their 40,000 square foot facility. 


The problem was that the assembly and warehousing costs were increasing and “expedited’ orders were causing high labor costs. Finished goods production was not responsive to delivery needs. The market for the Company’s cookware was highly seasonal causing variable manpower demands. The Company had little information on assembly production output or projected production needs. They just knew that their costs were out of control!


The Silver Fox Advisor was asked by the President to study the problem and to make a recommendation for improvement. In a short time, the Silver Fox Advisor analyzed the problem and set a course of action with a timetable and related costs.

Working with department heads, the inventory plan was revised to be responsive to customer needs. Forecasts were made to recognize seasonality; item bookings were measured against forecasts; and production levels were set to meet overall sales forecasts. Selected time studies were made on the assembly lines with recommended changes to improve the output per hour. Utilization of contract manpower was improved.


Responsiveness improved. Key factory managers were trained in the new system. The Company was very pleased with the results. Cost improvement was 24.5% within the first six months, significantly increasing the overall profitability.