G. C. "Chris" Heyde in Memorium
G. C. "Chris" Heyde
1914 - 2000
In 1951 as a young graduate chemist working in Unilever
Australia's Melbourne Plant I was called to the front office and
introduced to a strange looking guy, 30 something, dark glasses
and totally bald head. He asked me if I would be interested in
"methods engineering" and explained what was involved. In
accepting (to escape the Laboratory dead end) I did not realize
how this strange guy would influence my career for the next 50
Chris always claimed to be 25% Jewish - to explain a high IQ.
His forbears arrived in South Australia in the 1870's, as
refugees from Germany, by name von der Heide. Wine growing in
the Barossa Valley near Adelaide was their salvation until the
"German hatred" period in the First World War forced a name
change to "HEYDE" (sounding French and allied). Around then a
family branch developed in Sydney and I know Chris's dad was a
Director of the British-Australian Tobacco Company where Chris
found a job in the 30's depression in Australia. He graduated in
Science from Sydney Technical College and subsequently was
appointed by Unilever to start up and head the Australian
component of a new world wide Productivity improvement program
which started about 1950 using American techniques and the
Bedeaux system of bonus payments for staff.
Chris's career with Unilever Australia ran for 20 years and
included sensational improvements in productivity from the work
of his IE team in three cities. He was always involved in change
and helped the company convert from functional complex to direct
profit centers in the 60's.
He left Unilever in 1970 (after the birth of MODAPTS) and set
about researching towards "THE SENSIBLE TASKMASTER" and pursuing
the progress of MODAPTS around the world.
I had moved on from Unilever (to start KPMG 's Industrial
Engineering consulting service in Australia) after working for
three years as 2 IC to Chris in Unilever's Head Office
Consulting Team. He had arranged things at Board level for our
group to consult and train people from non-competitive
organizations and in this way he introduced IE to Australian
government organizations (at no cost to the taxpayers!) and many
other Australian companies.
Through KPMG taking up the Australian franchise for MODAPTS, the
New York office, together with Price Waterhouse soon took up the
USA franchise from the Australian Association for Predetermined
Time Standards & Research (Chairman - G. C. Heyde - who else!)
AAPTSAR brought together the 20 or so engineers involved in the
development and testing of MODAPTS in 1966 - this group
continued to support his subsequent research activities in
By the late 70's, 10 of 16 major banks in NYC as well as many
smaller banks across USA were using OFFICE MODAPTS and a North
American MODAPTS Association had been formed.
Working through the 70's with Paul Carey and many others Chris
produced "WORKABILITY" for functional testing of rehabilitates,
TRANSIT MODAPTS, THE SENSIBLE TASKMASTER, and in 1979 picked up
one of the first PC's (an Exidy Sorcerer - 16 K RAM!) and
started writing computer programs in Microsoft Basic.
I had been in building sub-contracting through the 70's but
returned to the fold when I started up Brian Sullivan Consulting
in 1978 to promote/teach/apply MODAPTS and as it happened to
market the HEYDE DYNAMICS products - soon to become "MODAPTS
PLUS" in DOS then later "MOD++" for Windows written by Dr.
Through the 70's Chris took his "crusade" to the USSR, Japan,
South Africa as well as continuing the links with USA through
firstly Don Gerber in California and then by assigning USA
copyrights to the IMA.
Many thousands of engineers in many countries of the world have
learned to use the MODAPTS system - the system was given free to
many countries through educational bodies (Russia, Japan) and
there are many translations and derivatives of MODAPTS.
Although seriously handicapped by a severe stroke some six years
ago, he continued to make significant contributions in his field
- it is understood he has written yet another text of some 300
pages which is yet to be published. His son Victor continued to
run Heyde Dynamics on Chris's behalf.
This "strange guy" who I met nearly 50 years ago has helped
dramatically to make this world a better place as thousands of
industrial engineers and others will surely testify.
25 October 2000