Psychologist Determined Many Executives' Futures; Businesses in Jacksonville Often Sent Their Applicants for Evaluation by the Industry Pioneer

By Patton, Charlie | The Florida Times Union, November 8, 2005 | Go to article overview

Psychologist Determined Many Executives' Futures; Businesses in Jacksonville Often Sent Their Applicants for Evaluation by the Industry Pioneer


Patton, Charlie, The Florida Times Union


Byline: CHARLIE PATTON

Melvin P. "Mel" Reid, a pioneering industrial psychologist who recommended the hiring of many Jacksonville executives, died Friday after a long illness.

Dr. Reid, who had lived in Jacksonville since 1962, was 79.

He retired in 1999 from the firm now known as Byron Harless Reynolds Kalkines & Buffone. But though his name was no longer on the letterhead, clients continued to seek his services, said Jerry Reynolds, a longtime partner and friend.

"Even now we get calls asking, 'Is Mel available?' " said Reynolds, who described Dr. Reid as "probably one of the three or four brightest people I ever met in my life."

"He always stood as an incredible resource for this city," business executive James Winston said. "Many of the top executives in this city owe their jobs to him. A lot of companies would not hire a candidate for a top level job without his approval. He was a straight-talking, no-nonsense guy."

"He had the ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of professionals better than anyone I ever knew," said Frank Surface, chairman of Community Resources on whose board Dr. Reid served.

Besides being the first industrial psychologist in Jacksonville and one of the first in the Southeast, Dr. Reid was a pioneer for developing a battery of tests for evaluating a workplace that became the industry standard, Reynolds said.

Raised during the Depression in Lake Wales, the son of a Baptist preacher who never made more than $45 a week, Dr. Reid told the Jacksonville Journal in 1976 that he developed a work ethic early and took his first job bagging groceries at 9.

He saw service with the Army Air Corps in the Pacific during World War II, then attended the University of Miami, where he originally pursued an athletic career and thought of becoming a football coach. After an injury, he turned to psychology, earning bachelor's and master's degrees at Miami and a doctorate from Louisiana State University in 1954.

Dr. Reid opened the Jacksonville office of the Byron Harless firm in 1962, demonstrating his work ethic by often rising at 4 a. …

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