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Thomas Mitchell Ingraham was born in 1958 into a family that was academic and intellectual to its core.  With a father and an uncle as University Professors his childhood was spent in an environment where knowledge and intellect were the most highly valued aspects of life.  They were both science professors so what they were working on was the most important thing, the ascent of man from beast to master of the universe.

With the typical teenager desire to rebel Tom rejected his intellectual roots and chose a career path in business.  After a mechanical engineering degree and an MBA he started his own manufacturing company and built it up to 100 employees, all with health insurance benefits. 

During his 15 years as founder, owner, and President of Advanced Manufacturing Technology Tom was able to work with people across the country from machine operator, to maintenance manager, to V.P. Operations. As Sales Manager (in addition to president) he had the opportunity to listen to all their political opinions, over lunch, dinner, drinks, or just on the plant floor.  This diversity of interpersonal experience came in an environment where the posters in the conference room demanded respect for the opinion of the all participants.  It was a code, employee empowerment (respect for the opinion of all was just one aspect of the empowerment strategy), that they really wanted to live up to. 

When this was combined with the childhood intellectual roots, a single question emerged:  If everyone really believes that Democracy is the best way to organize a government then why do they have so little respect for the opinions of their political opponents?  There is a very clear logical contradiction, but it is the fact that no one ever talks about it, be it break-room or CNN, that made it a personal obsession.