Oral Histories

Interview of John E. Anderson

President and owner of Topa Equities, Ltd., a holding company with lines of business in beverage distribution, automotive retail, insurance/financing, and real estate.
Entrepreneurs of the West: John E. Anderson
Entrepreneurs of the West
Biographical Note:
President and owner of Topa Equities, Ltd., a holding company with lines of business in beverage distribution, automotive retail, insurance/financing, and real estate.
Johnson, Gigi L.
Anderson, John E.
Persons Present:
Anderson and Johnson.
Place Conducted:
Anderson's office in Century City, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Gigi Johnson; B.A., Cinema-Television, USC; M.B.A., UCLA.Johnson prepared for the interview by reviewing articles written on Anderson's 1987 donation to UCLA, reading his listing in Who's Who in America, and consulting Therese Curtis, Anderson's corporate secretary and director of Topa Equities, Ltd., for additional information about Anderson's personal and business history.
Processing of Interview:
Virginia Carew, assistant editor, edited the interview. She checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed.Anderson reviewed the transcript. He verified proper names and made minor corrections and additions.Teresa Barnett, editor, prepared the table of contents and index. Lisa White, editor, prepared the biographical summary and interview history.
5 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series is a cooperative venture between the Oral History Program and the MBA Program in UCLA's John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management and has been further supported by the Price Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.
Learning the importance of work as a child; attending UCLA and working at North American Aviation; business advice from A. V. Rasmussen; Harvard Business School; marriage and military service; becomes a certified public accountant; Loyola Marymount University, Law School; meeting James H. Kindel, Jr.; Michael J. Clemens; teaching at Loyola; Anderson obtains tax exemption for a Catholic school thrift shop; partnership with Kindel; seminars for the Young Presidents Organization; the importance of athletic activity; enters the beverage distribution business; trusting employees; recruiting law school graduates to the Kindel and Anderson law firm; acquires the Topa Topa Ranch in Ojai; the growth-management system; expansion of the Ace Beverage Company; Therese Curtis begins to work with Anderson; Anderson's second wife, Marion Redding Anderson; establishment of Topa Thrift and Loan Association; involvement with Summit Health; William Pierpoint; Anderson acquires beverage distribution companies in the Virgin Islands; a short-lived involvement with retail business; buying real estate; acquisition of A. H. Riise; Carib Vendors; Anderson's life insurance business in the Virgin Islands; expands business interests in Hawaii; the importance of the people ingredient in business; Anderson's trucking companies; how to structure the sale of a company; advantages of a private company; Anderson's public speaking; community involvement and donations; respect for capital; the Marion and John E. Anderson Foundation; the future of Topa Equities; learning from failure; guidelines for taking on new businesses; annual planning; reasons for Anderson's success; government regulation of business; a sense of satisfaction with life; promoting innovation in a firm; cultivating a broad outlook; Anderson's greatest accomplishments and disappointments; the value of time; the future of Southern California and its business community; quality of UCLA's John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management; the future of the United States; employer responsibilities in nonunion companies.