Tim Malone, MCSE Camarillo, CA (818) 257-0513 tim@3tcm.net

Over 30 years of managed expertise in computer technology     INDEX

 

Link to technical addendum with specific hardware and software supported at Brandon.

 

Note: Brandon-Intl.com is no more – Brandon was purchased by BradyID in 2007

 

 I joined Brandon International in the fall of 1995 as the ‘Computer Dude’.  Yes, that was the official title on my business cards and in the HR records of the company.  Brandon is a small manufacturing company located in Baldwin Park, CA.  I found out about the unadvertised job opportunity through the office manager at my previous place of employment.  David Welker’s wife had worked as the HR manager at Brandon International and still kept in contact with the controller, Connie Fong.  Connie needed someone to take care of the computer needs of the company that had grown beyond what she could manage.

 

When I came on board, Brandon had no network, no servers, no email, no connection to the internet, no web page and a whole bunch of very old outdated DOS and Windows 3.1 computers.  Flush with cash from the sale of one company, Brandon had just purchased two other companies and needed to merge the systems from each of the companies.  A few months before I joined Brandon, Nurit, the owner’s wife had hired PC Systems Design, a computer company in Brea to install a Novell network at one of the purchased companies, a tag and label printing company also located in Brea.  Simon Burrow, the owner of Brandon had also purchased a company called 3rd Planet, which made custom bags for musical instruments.

 

My first task was to build the network at the Baldwin Park office.  The company was using serial port wiring to connect a half dozen Wyse terminals to an old 486 running SCO Unix and an accounting system called Genesys, written in Unibasic, a Business-Basic derivative which used to run on the old IRIS OS on Point4 computers.  I contacted Don Burden, the president of Point4Data, and revitalized the support for the old accounting system.  I hired Point4 to come in and do some training for our accounting staff, answering many long-time pent-up questions and resolving many of their concerns.  We even upgraded the system to a newer Pentium-based server, a newer release of the SCO operating system and the latest version of the Genesys accounting system.

 

Instead of using dumb terminals, I purchased all new workstations for the accounting staff, evaluated and purchased a multi-user license for terminal emulation software called Tiny-Term from Century Software, and connected them all to the new server via TCP/IP instead of through the serial ports.  This was a major adjustment for the accounting staff.  Believe it or not, most of them had not used a personal computer before.  I found myself having to give lots of instruction on Windows and decided to put together a small classroom of six computers in the conference room just to save myself the time of having to do so much one-on-one training.  They especially liked the feature of being able to cut and paste data from the terminal emulation software to Word or Excel.  I ended up doing most of my training in this way.  It was very successful.

 

In addition to the new SCO server, I purchased and installed Novell Netware 4.1 on a new server that I built.  This became the main server of the company for several years until we upgraded to NT Server in 1997 or 1998.  Although I had been working with Novell for over ten years, this was the first time I had worked with 4.1 directory services.  It added a lot to the file sharing capabilities of the company.  I also installed a Netware server at 3rd Planet and tied all three of the servers and networks together via 56K leased lines and FastComm routers, which allowed us to route IPX as well as TCP/IP.  I hired a company to professionally wire the building with cat5 cabling and purchased separate hubs for the accounting, sales and engineering departments.

 

About this time I hired a junior technical support staff member and trained him to take over the day-to-day responsibilities of the support problems associated with a growing network.  Anybody who has been in tech support knows that the majority of support problems have to do with printing and lost files.  It never ceases to amaze me how many times the same individual will call over a six-month period of time claiming that the server ate her file.  It takes a lot of time and patience to help this kind of individual, which is why I was so glad to have a junior member of the staff to help out.  This allowed me to concentrate on building the network and getting it connected to the internet.  I contracted with TSTOnRamp, a local service provider to get us onto the internet.

 

At first we used a dial-up 56K modem connection and sent everyone through the Unix server.  That was quickly overloaded so I installed 128K ISDN and a new NT server.  We considered installing Exchange server but it seemed like overkill for only 35 to 40 users so we let TST handle our email for us.  Besides, I was having a hard time convincing the long-time employees that ‘real’ email and internet access was better than AOL.  To this day, there is still a mixed email system in place at Brandon with some die-hards insisting that AOL is the only way to go.  So now we had three servers in place with SCO Unix, Novell Netware and Microsoft NT Server 4.0.

 

Another project was to establish a professional web presence for the company.  I spent several months designing and writing raw HTML pages and getting feedback from key individuals throughout the company about how they would like to use the web for business.  After a while, it became obvious that I could spend full time working on the web so I turned it over to my assistant and asked him to switch to Front Page to manage the site.  I believe we hosted the page with TSTOnRamp for as long as I was with the company.  After I left, Brandon had the web page redesigned once or twice more.  I’m not sure where it’s hosted today.

 

With Y2K coming up, the company needed to upgrade the old Genesys accounting system or switch to a more modern GUI-based system.  After many months of evaluating various options, we decided to switch to Macola Progression accounting – now Exact Software.  I spent my last six months at Brandon installing Macola and converting their accounting data files from Genesys to Macola.  Converted all their G/L, customer, vendor and inventory files.  It required a lot of careful testing to get the files just right, especially since accounting decided to change the chart of accounts at the same time.  We installed a new NT server to run the Macola system with its Btrieve database and a Citrix server to support our remote users in the three Mexico plants.

 

I took full charge of the training for the transition and re-implemented the classroom training I had used years earlier when I first joined Brandon.  I set up the curriculum for each of the departments and we went through intensive training for several months before the cutover.  I hired Computer Solutions, the value-added reseller to conduct the training both in the classroom setting and one-on-one as needed.  It was a very successful transition.  I became very familiar with Citrix Winframe and NT Server throughout this process.  By the time I left Brandon, I had installed a complete wide-area network, five new servers, had upgraded the company accounting system, designed and created a professional web site, and got the entire company connected to the internet.

 

This online resume of Tim Malone, MCSE is at http://3tcm.net or https://3tcm.com