Michael R. Hallman oral history interview
Museum of Flight trustee Michael R. “Mike” Hallman is interviewed about his life and experiences in the computer, aviation, and nonprofit fields. He discusses his career with International Business Machines (IBM) during the 1960s through the late 1980s and his subsequent careers with Boeing Computer Services and Microsoft. He also discusses his involvement with The Museum of Flight as a trustee, interim CEO, and (along with his wife, Mary Kay) co-founder of the Museum’s Oral History Program.
Table Of Contents
Mike Hallman worked in Sales and Marketing with IBM, as the Boeing Company’s Chief Information Officer and then Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer, and is a longtime trustee of the Museum of Flight.
Michael Robert Hallman was born in San Bernardino, California on June 6, 1945, to Frank and Virginia Hallman. He was the oldest of three children. His father flew B-25s in the Pacific theater during World War II, returning home in 1944 and then serving as a bombing and navigation instructor at George Air Force Base in Victorville, California. Hallman grew up around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and spent his high school years in suburban Chicago, Illinois. He then earned his bachelor’s in business administration in 1966 and MBA in 1967, both from the University of Michigan. While in school he worked summers for the Greyhound Bus Company escorting tours to New York City. He also made a few trips to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he met Mary Kay Johnson, whom he married in 1967.
After graduation Hallman joined International Business Machines (IBM) in the sales and marketing area. He started out in Chicago in 1968. Over his 20-year career at IBM he held several different positions, remaining primarily sales and marketing. He moved among several IBM locations in addition to Chicago including Detroit, Michigan; White Plains, New York; St. Louis, Missouri; and Atlanta, Georgia. By the end of his tenure with IBM he was Vice President of Field Operations with responsibility for half of the country’s sales and service support.
Recruited by Boeing Computer Services (BCS) in 1987, Hallman ran their computer operations for services provided to non-Boeing companies. These included the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford Site, NASA Ground Communications, and the New York Police Department. Hallman was promoted to President of BCS just as Boeing was embarking on the 777 program, which was their first airplane designed entirely with computers. In his time at BCS, Hallman managed the transition from slide rules and drafting tables to the CATIA computer system.
In 1990 Microsoft recruited Hallman to become their President. Joining the company when they were early in the development of personal computers, he managed the company to $1 billion in sales while streamlining operations.
At about this same time Hallman joined the Museum of Flight’s Board of Trustees. In the more than three decades he has served with the Board, he has served as the Museum’s Chairman, Vice Chairman, and as the interim President and CEO during a time of transition. He has chaired the Exhibits Committee, the Communications and Marketing Committee, the Compensation Committee, several gala committees, and has served on virtually every standing committee of the board.
While serving as a Trustee, Hallman’s primary focus has centered on enhancing the Museum’s educational mission. With a vision to record and preserve important stories of people who worked, lived, and shaped aviation, he and his wife created the Mary Kay and Michael Hallman Oral History Program. He also helped establish the Michael and Mary Kay Hallman Spaceflight Academy exhibit. In 2020 Hallman was the fourth recipient of the Red Barn Heritage Award in recognition of his significant and exceptional commitment to The Museum of Flight. His relationship with the late William E. Boeing, Jr. and their mutual admiration for one another lead to his appointment as the only trustee representative of the Aldarra Foundation, the Boeing family’s foundation.
As of 2022, Hallman continues to live in the Seattle area and maintains his involvement with the Museum of Flight.
Biographical information derived from interview and additional information provided by interviewee.