Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Francis Xavier McGovern (Frank)
Each year, I interview incoming Fellows and other AIIM Award recipients. Frank McGovern was posthumously elected to the AIIM Company of Fellows. I never had the good fortune to meet him. The words of his co-workers and peers – his friends – make me wish I had.
The following are recollections of his life.
From Craig Rhinehart
Frank spent 22 years in the U.S. Air Force and retired as a Lt. Col. after commanding a fighter wing in the first Gulf War, then serving as an aide to Defense Sec. Weinberger and General Colin Powell. He then served as the Records Officer for the U.S. Air Force staying in the records management profession upon retiring. During this time, Frank led the development of the first DOD 5015 standard which has become the defacto industry and government standard by which all records management products are measured.
In the private sector, Frank was President of the U. S. operations for Tower Software and their TRIM records management software. Tower had success under Frank's leadership and even closed the largest known records management deal in partnership with EDS. A record that may still stand today. With Tower, Frank also helped the FDIC clean up recordkeeping practices of failed institutions during the savings and loan crisis in the 90s among his many accomplishments.
I knew and respected Frank from the industry and his days at Tower. When I got the chance to build a team at FileNet, there was only one guy I wanted to build a team around. I hired Frank at FileNet in 2004 and he was doing demos his very first day on the job (at the MER Conference) the week we launched P8 Records Manager and ZeroClick. The business, and the team, grew fast. With Frank's help we achieved market leadership very quickly ... a genuine business success story. After we were acquired by IBM, he continued lead the records management strategy and marketing efforts. Frank was integral to the tremendous success of IBM's Enterprise Records ... a business that was literally zero in 2004 and is many millions of dollars today. Frank also served on the Board of Directors of AIIM International and was a frequent speaker and highly respected industry expert. Many customers have sought his guidance over the years. Here is just one example of what our customers think of him from Dr. Stephen Chambers:
"Frank was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. When Texas A&M started looking at the Records Manager product back in 2005, it was Frank who made the trip here to speak with us in person and help guide us in our discovery stages. Through his efforts we were one of the first installations of RM. It was with Frank’s guidance, deep knowledge, and unending patience that saw through to setting up RM. For six years we have been running RM and because of Frank’s efforts, Texas A&M has been a reference client to IBM ever since. I have spoken to many corporations, to many executives, and to many record managers about the capabilities of RM, but it is through Frank’s help that brought us to be in that position and pass the knowledge on to others in the industry"
Frank helped define, change and influence an entire industry, IBM and many customers.
Priscilla Emery -- From her original letter of support for Frank to join the AIIM Board of Directors
I am writing this letter of support for Mr. Frank McGovern, president of Tower Software US. Having attended quite a few AIIM Board meetings as a former AIIM staff member I think I have an appreciation for the kind of person that can provide an added value set to the other members.
Frank would bring to the Board an experienced senior management perspective of how a smaller software enterprise deals with the challenges of growing a business in today’s environment. He also understands how global operations work in a decentralized environment since Tower Software US is a subsidiary that has managed to thrive under the technological direction of an Australian-based parent.
Mr. McGovern now heads one of the more successful records management companies in that market but also has a breadth of knowledge beyond the records management space that would give AIIM the kind of pragmatic vision it needs in this era of continual change. Tower Software’s customer retention rate is at 98%, an enviable statistic for any enterprise. I think that has a lot to do with the company’s communication skills with its clients. Frank is respected by both his clients and his employees as a person who knows how to communicate well, set expectations and follow through with results.
And, lastly, but probably most importantly given some of the interesting discussions that go on during Board meetings, he is a genuinely good guy. Don’t misconstrue this to mean he’s a pushover but he knows how to get things done in an ethical manner. I am writing this not as an industry consultant (since Tower Software does not retain my services and they have not communicated any future plans to do so) but as an AIIM member who has spent some time talking with Frank about records management, knowledge management, the industry and baseball (he’s unfortunately from Boston). Nevertheless, I think he would be a valuable asset to the AIIM Board."
Bill Neale – from his letter of support for Frank’s Fellow nomination
I was first exposed to this amazing individual when he was on the AIIM Board of Directors and then worked with him at IBM and FileNet. During that time I gained a deep respect for Frank as a professional and friend.
Mr. McGovern was an active member of both AIIM and ARMA, participating in many conferences and chapter meetings over the years. He not only attended, but spoke at them across the country, participated in panel discussions, and as mentioned, served on the AIIM International Board of Directors. He also provided counsel to me during my term on the Board of Directors, with sound advice and his thoughts on key issues facing the association. Frank was a strong supporter of standardization of records management best practices, and participated in the initial development of DoD 5015.2, the key standard for records management applications.
Frank was a lecturer and advisor on Records Management to many organizations, both as a mentor and customer advocate. He traveled extensively around the world promoting records management best practices for AIIM, ARMA and his employers. He opinion and guidance was widely sought after, and he spoke with great credibility and authority with that classic Boston accent. When he passed away I and others collected a book of tributes from literally around the world that totaled more than 42 pages of accolades from his many admirers. These consisted of physical letters, emails, blogs and tweets.
Frank was a true gentleman and professional and epitomized the spirit of the Company of Fellows.
Jack Frost – from his letter of support for Frank McGovern’s Fellow nomination
Frank was instrumental in nurturing new technologies in the US marketplace with software companies, prospects, and clients. Frank was responsible for major technology implementations in both the federal government and commercial clients nationwide.
His ongoing support of local chapter operations, training, and support was critical to the early success of the National Capitol Chapter of AIIM.
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This post and comment(s) reflect the personal perspectives of community members, and not necessarily those of their employers or of AIIM International