In 1928 he became the VP of the Eastman Flying Boat company after a career barnstorming after he returned from the Western Front. That year Eastman was bought by the Detroit Aircraft Company and they sent him to California to manage a struggling subsidiary they had just also acquired, Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank. While running Lockheed for the parent company, he found himself a home in aviation and became a patron of the employees at the Burbank plant.
With the stock market crash and the Great Depression, Detroit Aircraft went bankrupt and it dragged Lockheed into the red. No one was sure if Lockheed would survive. A few days before Christmas, he sent the employees home early from the Burbank plant and at the exit, handed each demoralized employee a ten dollar bill (a hearty sum in those days) and wished them a Merry Christmas. All one-hundred ten employees of Lockheed Aircraft went home that evening with ten dollars, all from Carl Squier's own savings which he emptied for his employees. The following January he mortgaged his own car and home to make payroll for the employees. When Lockheed finally succumbed to bankruptcy a few months later, Lockheed only had three employees- his secretary, an accountant, and a stock clerk who doubled as the night watchman for the Burbank hangar of the company.
|Carl Squier with Howard Hughes|
Hal Hibbard and Robert Gross would go on to build Lockheed into one of the giants of American aviation and Kelly Johnson would design some of the most iconic aircraft of the century, but it all started with the passion, generosity, and salesmanship of Carl Squier. It was said that if it wasn't for Carl Squier, there wouldn't be a Lockheed. He retired in 1956 as the VP of sales and flew west in 1967.
Source: The Electra Story: Aviation's Greatest Mystery (Bantam Air & Space Series No. 9) by Robert Serling. Bantam Publishing, 1962, 1991.
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