Where I’ve Worked

My Computing Career

How I Got Started

Environment Canada – Ottawa/Hull

May-August 1973

The Trudeau government had created the “Opportunities for Youth” program to give students Career-related experience, much of it by providing Federal Government departments with summer students paid by the Program not by the Department. I was hired by Gary Grove to document his COBOL programs that managed decades of Groundwater data from across the country. By the time I arrived, however, something more urgent had come up: converting all those programs to run on a completely different type of computer.

Fond Memories

  • Star Trek doors on the Data Centre at Energy, Mines and Resources, where the Control Data CDC-6400 mainframe computer was housed. Opened automatically when anyone approached and closed automatically behind you. Great for Computer Operators carrying a load of tapes or pushing a cart, but unthinkable only a few years later with the focus on Security.

Government of the Northwest Territories – Yellowknife

May-December 1974

University of Alberta – Edmonton

January 1975 – May 1976

The University had created what may have been Canada’s first Help Desk, where Computer users could visit or phone without an appointment for free assistance.  Having used the same software at UBC, I was an ideal candidate to man and later manage Consulting as it was then known:  the term Help Desk was still a couple of years away.  Teaching courses and writing manuals, writeups and newsletter articles was also part of the job; Writeups were 1-5 page how-to’s available for free from racks in the public area of the Data Centre.

Fond Memories

  • The Ship was a staff-only cafeteria in Lister Hall, decorated in a nautical theme.  Although run from the same kitchen as the student cafeteria, the food was excellent and very inexpensive.  Among its patrons, the standing joke was that it was the University’s apology for low wages.

Saskatchewan Technical Institute – Moose Jaw

May 1976-April 1977

Workers’ Compensation Board Alberta – Edmonton

April 1977-August 1978

Horne & Pitfield Foods – Edmonton

August-December 1978

Hardy Associates – Edmonton

December 1978-August 1982

ACCESS Alberta – Edmonton

August 1982-May 1985

Synerlogic – Edmonton

May 1985-August 1987

Self-employed – Edmonton

April 1987-July 2006

Including full-time at AGT/TELUS from August 1996-September 1999.

Edmonton Telephones – Edmonton

January 1988-April 1989

Workers’ Compensation Board Alberta – Edmonton

March 2003-January 2007