Greg's Life Since Towers High
After graduating from Towers, I began my College career at Georgia State University. I continued working at the Snapfinger Woods Kroger store (now closed) until the end of November 1976.
December 1, 1976 I began working in the I/O window at GSU's Computer Center, then in the Business Administration Building. From 1976 until 1982 I worked my way through the computer operations group, into the Institutional Support Group writing programs in COBOL and some BAL, and finally into the Systems Programming Group where we took care of all the systems in the Computer Center and wrote mainly in the various assembler languages of each respective machine.
I stayed at GSU until May of 1982 when I went to work for a credit scoring firm, Management Decision Systems, in downtown Atlanta and built their original computer center for them in the historic Grant Building.
After a little more than a year at MDS, I went to Megaplex in the Cumberland Mall area and did digital voice in an answering service type of application for a few years. During this time, I got married and had a son, Bill.
After I left Megaplex I got into the Lottery business with Scientific Games and spent a few years working on various state lotteries. I was on the team that brought up the first multi-state lottery in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. I spent from May through November of 1985 in those states. I had some interesting stories to tell as well as being able to enjoy the simply incredible history of that region. Although the climate is a bit too cold for my tastes, the summer time has a lot to offer and the New Englanders know exactly how to maximize the enjoyment of their area.
I opened my first business, CompuPlex, Inc., in late 1987, after leaving Scientific Games, selling networks and computers and ran it for about 3 years. I was servicing mainly the trucking industry and in 1989 when they had a really bad year, my business failed. While I was working my business, my wife and I split up because, as she stated, "owning your own business was too much of a gamble" for her. She wanted me to have a steady paycheck.
To get back on my feet, I took a job as Technical Support Manager for a computer distributor, Americom Distributors in Marietta, who was in financial trouble. After 5 months of trying, as part of a hand picked team, valiantly to turn the company around (there were great incentives waiting for us if we had been successful) the decision was made to close down. I took a job at Dickens Data Systems doing Technical Support for their premiere dealers mainly on RS/6000 platforms running AIX and networking. After a year or two Dickens moved to Alpharetta and I could not justify that drive for what they were paying me. I left Dickens and went to work for a networking consulting firm called Allied Data Communications.
I stayed at Allied for 2-3 years and really enjoyed it. During my time at Allied, I designed a network for a cast iron pipe company where the total length of the network fiber was measured in miles! I headed up several projects and brought all of them in on-time and under budget. At the beginning of my tenure at Allied, I would be travelling 1 or 2 days a month which worked well for me as a single parent. Just before I left them, they had me on the road 3 weeks solid out of every month which was almost impossible as a single parent. The owners eventually sold the company to Honeywell and the deal didn't sound too good to me so I left and went to work for National Data Corporation (NDC).
Bing Bang, a friend from Towers High, helped get me hired at NDC and I spent about 6 1/2 years there. At NDC I met and married my current wife, Linda. As of November 16, 2006 Linda and I will have been married for 10 years, and we are still going strong. When I first went to work for NDC, the network was mainly Novell and had about 100 nodes on it with a little TCP/IP in the Data Center. At the time of my departure in March of 2000, the network was mainly TCP/IP with a declining Novell usage. There were about 6000 nodes on the network which spanned pretty much all of North America, including several offices in Canada.
I left NDC in March of 2000 to become the Enterprise Network Architect for S1 Corp. At that time S1 had recently been formed from the merger of 5 different companies and it sported 5 different networking philosophies and many duplicated RFC1918 addresses. As it was presented to me, my job was to redesign the network, especially the addressing, to accommodate ongoing growth and to make the enterprise work better. During my 10 months at S1 Corp., I went through 5 CIOs. With every new CIO, my efforts had to stop and be explained and justified anew before I could pick up and begin my work again. This was my most frustrating issue while at S1 because the learning curve and justification cycle took about 8 weeks, just about the average time between CIOs. I left S1 in January of 2001 to go to work at Interland.
Several months before I arrived at Interland Jeff Ehrlich, who headed my division at NDC, had come on board. I spoke to Jeff about the possibility of getting on at Interland and he made some recommendations which resulted in my hiring. I was the Sr. Manager for Network Operations while at Interland. During my tenure there, I worked to build my group back to full strength from the numbers it had shrunken to because of neglect and a power struggle over who owned the group prior to my coming on board. We were 2 positions shy of full strength when I was RIFed after the merger of Interland and HostPro in August of 2001.
After sitting at home and watching the WTC towers collapse on 9/11/2001, I concluded that there were likely not going to be any IT openings for a few years, boy was I more correct than I ever wanted to be! So I decided that I would have to find a way to make money for myself. In November of 2001 I incorporated IDSystems of Grayson, a company that specialized in Photo ID systems, supplies, and accessories. Over the years, the company has begun to grow and on October 1, 2005 the name changed to Recognition Technology Specialists, Inc. This change reflects the broader line of products we offer. Although I am not able to pay myself anywhere near the money I was making pre-2001 in IT, I can see the day coming when I am making 75-80% of those amounts and can live a bit more comfortably.
Well that covers the jobs front. Personally, I have gotten interested in woodworking and have been a Boy Scout leader for more than 8 years now. I have made a few pieces of furniture for my house over the years. I am finding that it is getting harder and harder to keep up with my woodworking given the demands of my job. On the scouting front, I am finding that I REALLY enjoy teaching my skills to the Scouts. Bill is now over 18 and can no longer be a Scout. I continued as a Scout leader at the district level for a few years, but my financial situation finally made me give it up. Before I did so, I earned my Woodbadge Beads! This is quite an accomplishment for an Adult Leader! This process took multiple years and a whopping commitment of time and effort! I really discovered some things about myself during this experience and I believe that I am a better leader (both for scouting and in general) because of my efforts.