EXPIRED: 04/18/10 – Glenn Walters, 85, was just a kid when he got his first job: cleaning chicken coops. And perhaps seeing how chickens were always stuck in that same small space day after day really struck him. Sorta like little cubicles.

Walters graduated from Zeeland High School and then enlisted in the army – this was back in World War II  – training in navigation in the Army Air Corps. Again, he didn’t really like the small spaces of the cockpits, much.

After the war he got a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan, courtesy of the GI Bill, got married and bought a trailer. It was a small confined space, especially for two. But it was home.

They pulled it behind themselves as they drove to Colorado Springs, where Walters took his first sales job, going door-to-door selling furnaces. Another sales job, this time selling church pews, was followed by a more permanent career step.

Walters started with the Herman Miller Company in 1955 as their 7th salesman. And retired as president of the company in 1980. He worked with and learned from designers like George Nelson, Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, and Robert Propst.

During his nearly 28 years at Herman Miller, Walters’ biggest accomplishment – and the one we hate him for – is the one you might be reading this post from.

Walters created the small spaces he himself hated so much.

Walters was responsible for what would become Herman Miller’s most profitable product-to market: the Action Office – the movable wall system.

The Cubicle.



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