Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My fascination with computers

I always had a fascination with how things worked starting with automobiles. In high school I learned how to be a mechanic. My dad let me tune-up my family cars. Every chance he had he would take me outside and we would would work on our cars. My parents only one new car in their life so I had lots of opportunity to learn!  In truth I really loved repairing and building things!  The fact is that I loved helping people especially girls with repairing their cars. Later in life I got great enjoyment out of building furniture. I credit myself with being a master mechanic and carpenter. I do seek to be a perfectionist! 
I was introduced to computers while stationed in Germany by an officer who just bought a PC. He taught me the basics. I immediately applied it to the Army computer that handled all the maintenance records in our repair shop. I was the officer in charge of a 150 man company whose mission was to repair equipment of our customers who owned tents to tanks! On the battlefield there are killers and lovers, my company was behind the line of battle so we were lovers. He he. Most of my customers were killers.
All my customers were frustrated with the kind of service that we provided. Part of the problem was our written support plan on what we would provide them in terms of maintenance. Simple things like hours of operation to more complex support like when we were out on maneuvers what support they can expect.  The written document needed changes and then redistributed.   It took a while to get it just right but by the time I got it out, my customers were extremely pleased. That was my first success and I was hooked! Using computers for the good of business. When I got home from Germany the addiction continued. As computers grew in numbers and power I tried to keep up with the latest system.  I was self taught on how to write computer programs.
My first computer was a Commodore 64. now a days all cell phones have more power than my first computer! 
After the Army I was hired because of my experience with computers by the Department of Defense. The project was building the very first tactical maintenance systems computer for the Army. The other reason why I was hired was my maintenance experience. I loved that project because I worked with soldiers again. As I learned more about how do operate computers I would teach others what to do to get better results. I love teaching! After the D. O. D. job we moved to Memphis for another job with computer software development with FedEx. 
I started out being an analyst of business systems and then was promoted to adviser  After a few years I got the opportunity to become a manager of 14 people. Here's  a picture on my last day working. My boss and our V. P. Are beside me. 

It was wonderful traveling around the country with my job both with the D.O.D. and FedEx! When I was with the D. O. D. I got to go back to Germany! Being there as a civilian was incredible! I loved being back and I introduced my traveling companions to many restaurants and tourists places that I loved. Also I went to fabulous places like Hawaii, Panama City and Alaska! Hing and I had a second honeymoon in Hawaii! That was grand. With FedEx I went back to Alaska via traveling in the cockpit of a FedEx jet! Before Sept 11th we were able to fly with the pilots. That was spectacular especially flying in the cockpit with the giant windows and you could see the brilliant stars at that altitude of 30,000 feet! After 9/11 everything changed in the company. It was very stressful. Budget cuts, less traveling etc. I enjoyed working with our users and I learned a great deal in hiring good people and I apply those lessons today when I hire my caregivers.