Simeon Guy Higgins
BS Naval Science United States Naval Academy 1969 BS Aerospace Engineering United States Naval Academy 1969 MS Aerospace Structures Columbia University 1970 Graduate US Navy Test Pilot School Class 68 (numbered sequentially, not by calendar year) Designated Flight Test Officer Harvard Business School Executive Education Seminar Duke Fuqua School of Business, Executive Education Defense Systems Management College -- designated Weapon Systems Acquisition Professional
I have engaged in no political activity since November 10, 2015
Lafayette, CO Senior Advisory Board since 2018 Currently Vice Chairman Lafayette, CO Energy Sustainability Advisory Council since 2019 Lafayette, CO Sustainability Working Group (ad hoc Working Group) 2019 Lafayette, CO Comprehensive Master Plan Advisory Committee since 2018 Hawk Ridge Estates Home Owners Association since 2017 Currently Secretary Naval Academy Alumni Association Colorado Chapter since 2013 Secretary 2013 - 2017; President 2017 - present Naval Academy Class of '69 Foundation Board Member since 2017
As a member of various Lafayette, Colorado, boards, committees and Councils, I have actively represented the interests of, those people that I consider pragmatists. I take the position that it is all well and good to support lofty goals, but it is more important to support those goals that are actually achievable. I have found that a common human failing is committing to some initiative without considering how the people involved in or affected by the initiative will actually respond to that initiative. Human beings behave in ways that satisfy their personal goals and well being - not the ways in which councils, commissions, boards and legislatures want them to behave. I participate in boards and commissions by encouraging my colleagues to engage in thorough discussions of the basic goal and how to achieve that goal. I don't believe in attacking or challenging the ideas of others, but I do believe in asking “why” and “how” questions to get to the very root of the idea and the potential ramifications and consequences of implementing it. Why do we want to say/do that? Does saying that commit us to some course of action? If so, what? How will we achieve such and such goal? What are the measures that will help us understand whether or not we're making progress toward the goal? What is the benefit to the citizens? People are reasonable when they take the time to approach a task cognitively vs. intuitively I believe that I am aligned with intent of the recent ballot initiative to re-draw Colorado’s legislative districts. In redrawing Colorado’s legislative districts, it is vitally important to work from the basis that the goal is the creation of districts that are most fair to the voters in each of those districts – not to make the districts the same “size” or to ensure that they are homogeneous. Competitive districts are fairer because candidates must actually engage voters and present their “platforms” and philosophies of government and allow the voters to choose.
I want to serve on the commission because I believe that every American deserves to have their vote count and not to be chunked into “safe” districts. I believe that every person running for office owes the voters a clear explanation of why they should be elected or re-elected. That means creating districts that are competitive or more nearly competitive. I think that is what the voters of Colorado voted for and why the commission exists. I also very strongly believe in the power of cognitive diversity. Challenges are overcome by leveraging the power of the different ways in which different people see the world, solve problems and make predictions. Cognitive diversity is not the same as identity diversity (diversity based on race, gender, etc.), but it does correlate with it. The challenge is to actually put cognitive diversity to work. That's hard. I've tried and both failed and succeeded as a VP with Boeing and with my own LLC here in Colorado. It takes positive leadership to most effectively address problems and challenges, not directive-ship. For example, extroverts are important to a good team (as important as introverts), but one extrovert, uncontrolled, can destroy the cognitive strength of a team. I want to serve because I've spent well over a decade learning and understanding cognitive diversity and over fifty years as a leader, both in government and industry. I want to help bring cognitive diversity to the challenge and to help leverage the diversity of the team. I can be equally effective as a team member or as a team leader.
I have always strongly disliked the idea of consensus -- consensus is the answer that everyone can live with, and that's usually the “least bad” solution. What we need to do is take ideas and proposals and leverage the cognitive diversity of the commission to build the best possible solution through a virtuous spiral of improvement. Sounds like buzzwordism, but it isn't. By listening to everyone's ideas AND understanding those ideas, it's not only possible but relatively painless to build good solutions. A good redistricting solution is one under which candidates for office cannot rely on some "base" to get them elected, but one under which every candidate must go and listen to and understand his/her potential constituents. They need to appreciate that they are interviewing for a job, not selling some preconceived ideas to the unwashed masses. I'll promote the creation of agreement among the commissioners by actively listening to each commissioner's ideas and concerns, by asking questions to ensure that I do understand and then by working to leverage the best of each proposal to achieve the best possible solution rather than the “least bad” solution we can all live with. Part of that is to help every commissioner understand the power of cognitive diversity and how the team can harness and use that diversity effectively. I believe that the best solutions are those that are arrived at through fact-supported processes of discussing and overcoming challenges. I recognize that I, like all humans, am subject to biases -- biases that, once recognized, can be overcome. Since the best solutions are achieved through the active participation of a cognitively diverse group, it is absolutely mandatory that the inputs and ideas of all members of the group be seriously considered, incorporating them when those inputs and ideas will improve the outcome. To my mind, the outcome, in this case, should ensure that competitive voting districts will make it necessary for candidates to engage the voters and propose solid, logical platforms. That can only be accomplished in an impartial manner. Pushing a pre-conceived agenda on the populous is the antithesis of achieving the best outcome.
I like John Adams' observation when he defended the British soldiers charged with the Boston Massacre, "Facts are stubborn things." The trick, of course is to separate the facts from the junk. As an engineer and a flight-test lead, it was imperative that I was able to conduct my own analysis and to understand the analyses of others. That meant having a working knowledge of probability and statistics as well as an understanding of the limits of sampling and extrapolation. It also means having an appreciation for the power of analytic theories like Bayesian probability. While I'm certainly no expert in Bayesian probability (or statistics), I understand the concepts, can work with them, and understand (most importantly) their limitations. As the Boeing VP for Analysis, Modeling, Simulation and Experimentation, I led a global team of analysts and successfully applied analysis to successfully win new business. I had to both understand the analysts and to explain their findings and recommendations to the most senior levels of the Boeing company.