My interest in computers and electronics began when I was befriended by my middle and high school best friend, Ross Fricke. He approached me to build some pieces of a computer (just a counter made from flip-flops, really) in 8th grade . This was the result of a middle school assembly presentation by someone (I think from 3M, named Doug Kinney) on computers. He had two computers with him, one a large-ish decimal arithmetic computer in a rack that he named “Big Ten” and another desktop-sized binary arithmetic computer called, aptly for the time, Little Binary Joe, or LBJ for short. He later revisited our area in high school, and introduced us to the BASIC programming language.
I proceeded through an introductory FORTRAN computer class at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) using the UW Madison’s UNIVAC 1108. I was hooked. I enrolled at UW in Electrical and Computer Engineering (or just EE as it was known at the start) with emphasis in computer architecture, and also took every computer science course I could fit in. After graduating as an EE, I went on to graduate school for a Masters Degree in Computer Science, with emphasis on compilers an operating systems.
While attending UW, I worked for five years at what was then the UW School of Business Data Processing operation located in B5 commerce, operating, programming and then as systems programmer supporting their IBM 1410 computer, which had 40K characters of core memory, with 4 IBM 729 tape drives and an IBM 7330 tape drive, running the IBM PR-155 operating system.
I spent my career at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) as a database administrator, developer, systems programmer, systems integrator, architect and internal consultant, at various times, on equipment including IBM 360/370/3084/3090, Amdahl 470/580, Intergraph/DEC PDP-11, Intergraph/DEC VAX, Intergraph Clipper workstations, HP/Apollo workstations, PCs and servers.