My second career started while I was attending Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Oregon. I needed to supplement my student loans with a part time job while attending college so I thought what better place than the Campus Computing Services Department. Once the Director of Computing Services, Rich Pickett saw my previous experience on my resume working as an Electronic Technician and also saw that I graduated with an AS degree in Electronics Engineering Technology in 1982, I was quickly hired. I worked between classes, school brakes and summers. I quickly became a lead technician and trained other student workers. We took care of anything related to computers, computer labs, network, installed software, repaired computer systems, made cables and trained other students and instructors on new computer systems.
The staff at OIT apparently liked my work because upon graduating in 1987 with a BS in Computer Systems Engineering Technology, and receiving job offers from Boeing and Amdahl Systems, the college decided that they need me to stay on full time and offered me a job as a Systems Network Analyst. I stayed with the college for the next several years where I worked with a staff of student technicians where we continued to support the campus student labs and academic computer systems. Management then decided that all these isolated network labs across campus needed to be connected so I then headed up the task of rolling out campus wide network.
With the college having limited budget for computer resources we had to do everything we could think of to cut cost. We did everything from running the thick and thin coax to soldering on BNC cable ends. We ran a thick-net backbone across campus in one of the utility tunnels which runs under the campus. We then linked front end backbone to run cable to the eleven building across campus. We spent the entire summer running cable, setting up hubs and configuring computers and servers. This was back in the day of Arc-Net, the college just didn't have the money to spend on $800. Ethernet cards for each system. Once the campus was complete and we had all our networked computers bridged into our Sequent computer running Unix and Oracle as well as our legacy Harris main frame running Cobol. Most academic users gave up their old terminal for a new computer system where they could telnet in to their legacy systems.
With the campus network running well and basically in maintenance mode I decided to take on a new challenge and took a job with Microware Distributors in Beaverton, Oregon. Microware was a fast growing computer hardware distributor with eleven warehouses throughout the US. I was hired on as a Senior Network Analyst with supervision over two other Network Technicians. Microware was running a Sequent Unix box and all the offices were linked in with full t1 links. I was responsible for setting up servers for the remote offices, managing the T1 links, trouble shooting any problems and bring new offices online. Like a lot of fast growing companies Microware used it's vendor credit to expand their business but when the bottom fell out of the computer hardware market an prices fell drastically, Microware found the had warehouses chuck full of hardware that the were loosing money on just to get rid of. They soon found them selves in trouble, layoff continued so I was able to land a job with another fast growing company just down the road, InFocus Systems in Tulatin
Infocus Systems was one of the first companies to manufacture and market projectors. I was hired on as the Senior WAN/LAN Network Analyst responsible for their LAN and WAN network links. Everything was done on Novell file servers, most of the engineers were running Windows PCs but the Technology Department at the time was all Macintosh. Back then InFocus only had about 200 employees and the stock options were great. We all worked long hours, nights and weekends and loved every minute of it. While at Infocus they started a joint venture company with Motorola called Motif, I was tasked with setting up the network, servers and computer systems for the new company in Wilsonville, Oregon. Shortly after the completing of the joint venture project I decided to cash in some of my stock options and take the next six months to see what I could do as a consultant.
I worked for various small business setting up networks, servers and troubleshooting problems until I decided that a full time job was more to my liking especially with a growing family so I then took a job with CH2M Hill in Corvallis, Oregon. While at CH2M Hill I was the Senior WAN/LAN Analyst for the Oregon Pacific Region which included two offices in Corvallis, one in Portland and one in Honolulu. My primary responsibility was the servers in the Corvallis office which was the home of about 500 engineers but I also spent one or two days a week in the Portland office which at the time had about 300 engineers. While at CH2M Hill we migrated from Novell to Microsoft Windows NT. I was also responsible for implementing RAID Level-5 on all servers. The Corvallis office had an old coax network so I implemented and completed a network consisting of a multimode fiber backbone with switched CAT5. I was also called upon to help out with various client projects, one such project involved setting up a network for our project office for the City of Detroit, Michigan. CH2M Hill had several engineers that worked in the field so I was responsible for setting up remote dial in using Microsoft NT RAS. We also setup VPN for those users where they had internet access. Another project that I headed up and completed was setting up desktop facing so that users could send and received faxes via their Windows desktop.