A place to enjoy
from my deck.
Since I first programmed in 1965, you can say I’m a living history of the modern day computer.
In 1965 I worked for Univac in the Twin Cities. where I did software development for the 1218 and 1219 Computer Hardware and the Trim Assembler group.
I changed our software to improve its performance and to run on the customer’s peripheral devices. I would install the changed software on the purchased computer at the customer’s site and trained the customer’s programmers on the use of our computer system. Two of my installations were JFK Airport in New York and Jet Propulsion Laboratories on Long Island.
In college, I worked on the IBM 1130 Computer as I studied to get my BS degree in Math and Philosophy. They granted me the first computer science minor from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse.
After graduation, I worked for the La Crosse Garment Company. I started as a programmer analyst on their Burroughs computer equipment. The main challenge was to calculate factory payroll based upon operator piecework. Since the La Crosse Garment Company was a more complex union shop, it made the system more complex because it had to support the bargaining agreement.
I joined Peerless Chain Company who had sales of 12 million dollars a year. The president hired me to set up a data processing department which included hiring people, buying equipment, and designing the systems to replace the Flexowriter order entry system.
Our first computer was a Honeywell batch system. We upgraded to online processing with the innovative Tandem Computers based on my recommendation. The Tandem Computers were a non-stop computer system. If one computer or a disk drive failed, another computer would take over automatically without the user knowing the system had faulted. I spent 20 years at Peerless, leaving in 1990.
After retirement, the internet came into existence. Using my technical and management skills, I developed websites for diverse companies such as a stained glass manufacturer, a retail jewelry store, a restaurant, a music studio, and a retail surplus store.
The La Crosse Garment Company promoted me to Manager of Data Processing, beginning my supervisory experience. We had several keypunchers who worked two shifts entering plant operator piecework data. Besides the keypunchers, I supervised one programmer analyst. As our systems increased, we upgraded to an IBM 360. I supervised the upgrade.
Peerless Chain Company, in Winona MN, hired me several years later. I worked for the president of the company and my immediate directive was to automate the order entry system. We purchased a Honeywell Computer System. Then I designed the order entry system, hired a programmer analyst and a computer operator and two additional programmer analysts.
Over the years, our systems evolved to support sales, accounting, purchasing, production, and manufacturing. About this time they promoted me to Director of Data Processing. In this capacity, I worked with the division senior managers to support corporate objectives. Because of my efforts, Information Systems became a corporate division. As a result, they promoted me to Vice President.
At the same time that I started the data processing department at Peerless Chain Company, I began a non-profit corporation, Group Homes of Winona (GHW). GHW provided residential services for the mentally handicapped. During my time as president, we established 2 residential facilities and an apartment complex. By that time we were serving 100 clients with an annual budget of several hundred thousand dollars. For this volunteer work, I received the Outstanding Minnesota Volunteer award by the Minnesota Association of Retarded Citizens. The Board of Directors of Group Homes of Winona named one of their residential facilities, Iverson Court, in my honor.
After retiring from Peerless Chain Company, I worked part time for Reinarts Stained Glass Studios in Winona, MN. The company was on the brink of failure. I revived the company by redesigning its marketing and sales information, purchasing a new customer list then computerizing the direct mail system. I spent the next few years in internal sales and customer service. During this period I sold one of the company’s largest stained glass window restorations projects of $250 thousand dollars.