I am desolated to announce that Laila Padorr Nilles, my partner of more than 59 years, left this world on August 22, 2016. She often was called the “Mother of Telecommuting”, reflecting the years she has encouraged and helped me in my research on telecommuting, telework and their impacts. Laila is the one who encouraged me to leave my job in the aerospace industry and invent a new one at the University of Southern California; a position that allowed me to set up the first formal research into what I called telecommuting. That was in 1972.
Laila also helped me organize JALA Associates, now JALA International. She is the LA in JALA. She participated in JALA’s activities around the world, giving or assisting in presentations about telework in the United States, Europe, South America, Australia and Southeast Asia. She was part of the management group of the European Community Telework Forum in the 1990s. Through this period her sense of humor, perspicuity and broad outlook helped sustain us though many “interesting” periods.
But that is only part of her story. She was an influential force in many other ways as well. Much of her life was devoted to music. She was a flutist, trained at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, as well as at the Juilliard School in New York and the Ecoles d’Art Americain in Fontainbleau, France. She founded a chamber music trio, the Padorr Trio, in Chicago in the early 1950s and moved it to Los Angeles in 1955.
She co-directed two successive series of chamber music concerts in the Los Angeles area: the first at Mount St. Mary’s College called Concerts at the Mount, the next in Santa Monica called Concerts West. Both series emphasized young artists and new music as well as the important standards.
In the mid-1970s she became interested in recording her performances. As a flute soloist she recorded Music for Flute and Piano by Four Americans in 1976 providing an overview of often neglected American composers. She then switched vocations from performer to record producer with Protone Records. She was co-producer of more than 40 (remember vinyl?) records, cassettes and compact disks, beginning in 1977 and extending to the present. She became owner of Protone Records in 2005.
As part of her efforts to support young musicians she was a director of Design for Sharing at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1984 through 1989. She was a member of Friends of Music at the University of Southern California from 1984 to 1990 and of the Board of the American Youth Symphony from 1981 to 1988.
She was a member of the Audio Engineering Society, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and of Musicians Union Local 47. She was listed in Who’s Who in the West, Who’s Who in Entertainment and Who’s Who in the World, beginning in 1989.
She will surely be missed by all who have known her for her encyclopedic knowledge, her wry sense of humor, her loyalty, her insight and her musicianship. For more details on Laila’s life please visit this site.