I am the president of Trails End Systems, Inc.
Trails End Systems creates software for businesses and organizations and also provides data processing services.
We make business object modules for common business entities and processes such as Contacts, Events, Documents, Products, Orders, Invoices, Shipments, Accounts, Transactions, etc.
The software is designed with a service oriented architecture to run in the cloud, on local servers, or on personal computers.
We use Microsoft Silverlight for the user interfaces because they can run with a browser or locally as a trusted application, all with the same code. For the database, we primarily use Microsoft SQL Server (and SQLAzure), but we also use MongoDB, and text files (CSV, XML). We also are using HTML5, jQuery, and CSS3 for web-only development.
I graduated from Columbia University in 1972 with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering. I also have a B.A. degree from Marietta College.
My first introduction to computer programming was a Fortran class at Ohio State University in the summer of 1969. We used punch cards in those days, one line of code per card. I could only get one run in per day. If you missed a comma, the whole day’s run was lost. We have come a long way since then.
After I graduated from college, I worked for General Electric on their Manufacturing Management Program. While on the program I had four, six-month assignments: Manufacturing Engineer, Foreman, Time Standards Analyst, and Shop Supervisor. After completing the program, I stayed on the shop supervisor job for two more years. I met my wife, Rachel, and got married in 1975 while working at G.E.
I have always enjoyed singing and playing music. While I was the shop supervisor, I started a musical group with Rachel that played at local restaurants and bars. Our band was popular, so we decided to take some time off and hit the road with the band. The whole experiment only lasted six months, but it was a memorable experience.
After the band, I got a job as Manufacturing Engineer with Janco, in Dover, N.H. I was responsible for their automatic insertion machines which were run with a DEC PDP8 (paper tape loaded). I was moved into a sales engineering position after six months. Janco is a contract manufacturer who makes printed circuit boards, electronic assemblies, vacuum formed plastic parts and plastic assemblies, and matched molded plastic parts. While at Janco, I was also responsible for the IBM System 34 that we used for our business systems. I took the IBM training courses and learned to program in RPGII. I also worked with the Apple II and created a controller card to interface to my music synthesizer keyboard.
In 1981, I decided to go back to work for G.E. at the Battery Business Department in Gainesville, FL. I was hired as a manufacturing engineer. One of my projects was to create quality data analysis charts with a Radio Shack TRS-80. After two years, I was promoted to Technical Marketing, then to New Product Introduction Manager, then to Customer Service Manager, then to Materials Manager in El Paso, TX. While working on these jobs, I continued programming in BASIC on IBM personal computers. I also used Paradox to develop a manufacturing capacity analysis program. While I was customer service manager, G.E. sold the Battery Business Department to Gates Energy Products.
In 1990, I was hired by Aer Energy Products as Materials and Systems Manager. Aer Energy was a startup that developed rechargeable zinc-air batteries. I was responsible for all purchasing and information systems. We implemented Fourth Shift with a PC-LAN system and I did programming for data analysis using Visual Basic and DBase.
In 1994, I decided to start my own business. Since then I have worked on programming, data processing, and system administration contracts for Commercial Forced Air, Motorola, Lithonia Lighting, Harland Checks, Turner Broadcasting, Blue World Pools, and others. I have primarily used Microsoft products for development, but I have also made applications with Oracle databases, Adobe Flash, Corel Draw, Photoshop, and TrueSpace.