In December of 1987 I was attempting to drop off my resume to Hallam. I could not locate One Lawson lane (their location at the time…which would change many times over the years) and ended up calling from a phone booth to get directions to the office. Not long after, I interviewed with Dave Hallam for a CAD operator job. I remember walking back to Dave’s office and noticing an existing CAD operator reading a book and occasionally checking the old HP plotter, as you had to in those days, to make sure the pens did not run out of ink while plotting drawings. I thought at that moment how cool to get paid to do that, I can handle that!
I can still remember getting the phone call from Dave Hallam telling me that I had the job and how excited I was. After 4 years since graduating and bouncing from job to job I finally felt that I had a good, permanent job with potential. I started on January 4th 1988. After about 8 months the existing CAD Manager/computer person quit to seek a new career and I assumed those roles. I took all the training that was available to me and in 5 years I assumed the IT manager role exclusively which, had grown into a full time position. Hiring increased at a large pace and I scrambled to keep up with the technology and provide reliable solutions to our growing needs.
I quit at one point to travel to Seattle and start a new life but found that frustrating and pointless rather quickly. I called Dave Hallam from a phone booth on I-80 and asked if he needed a CAD operator. He was delighted to have me back and I was excited to return.
If you have any experience at all with computers you know all too well that they never seem to operate smoothly. I have worked through plenty of IT challenges over the years from the many office relocations to large personnel growth. One day we attempted to connect our new CalComp plotter to our NetWare print server. We contacted CalComp for help on how to proceed and their response was, “we don’t know; we’ve never done this!” After several weeks we worked through the issue and apparently become the first folks to successfully do this.
Another time, we ordered new CAD workstations from Compaq which we could not successfully connect to our network. After repeated phone calls between our local vendor and Compaq technical support, Compaq decided to send a technician to our office from their headquarters to investigate. This guy arrived from Texas in his cowboy hat, fancy suit and boots and solved the issue within 5 minutes. He was not happy!
Over the years I have had lots of support from management. They always encourage me to do my own thing in order to provide reliable solutions to employees. As a result, this sense of ownership and responsibility has created an environment where the entire IT department prides itself on always providing a quick response to all IT related issues as they arise as well as providing reliable services, applications and solutions to all employees.
Being at Hallam has felt very much like being part of a family. I even had the opportunity of working with my then future wife Tammy for several years. We invited everyone at Hallam Associates to our wedding in 1993. John and Marge Butterfield played at the reception with their band. Our oldest son Ethan worked with me assisting in the IT department with various tasks. I’ve organized the Hallam golf tournament for 10 years now which both of my sons have participated in with me. Hallam has been an excellent place to work and I’ve made some great friends over the years. We all attend sporting events, concerts and other events together.
Yeah, I guess I’d do it all over again. I suppose that one would say that since a phone booth was involved in being hired with the company twice that maybe I should use a phone booth to notify my immediate supervisor when it’s time for me to retire or leave. That’s if I can find one!