About

I like to think of myself as a ‘bit-pusher’ by trade.  I’ve always been interested in computers and electronics.

In high-school, I was President of the computer club. We had a teletype that was linked to a time-sharing system running on a PDP-8. After school, I used to perform the backups for the time sharing company, and started learning programming from the staff. After graduation, I worked for them for a summer before going into the Air National Guard.

In the Air Guard, I studied ‘dirt radio’ – the repair and maintenance of any communcations equipment that wasn’t located on an aircraft. After my initial training, I started going to college – first at USF in Tampa, then at UF in Gainesville. I received an undergraduate assistantship from the NSF at Gainesville, and worked with Dr. Jack Lipovski on the design and construction of a new type of computer memory – CASSM. After the assistantship ran out, I worked my way through college via a co-op program – first with a local supplier of television station switching equipment running on Data General minicomputers, then with the State Regional Data Center on campus supporting cross platform development on their Amdahl 470.

I graduated from UF with a BSEE – class of ’77. Moved to Chicago where I worked at GTE on telephone switching equipment for six months, then quit and started working for Bally Manufacturing – Pinball and Video Games.

I started at Bally in ’78 writing software for pinball machines. I eventually started doing hardware design as well, and when the pinball division was dissolved, moved to Bally/Midway designing video game hardware. When I started at Midway, video game hardware consisted of a stack of boards full of TTL logic, EProms and RAMs. The design was done on a drafting table using hand drawn vellum schematics and hand taped mylar sheets of PC board artwork. I was instrumental in introducing Computer Aided Engineering of this process via Daisy Engineering workstations.

When Bally decided to get into the online Lottery business, they purchased Scientific Games in Atlanta. Their primary business was printing rub-off Lottery tickets. A group from the Bally Gaming division (Slots) designed their on-line Lottery terminal based upon a PC/XT clone. This was a spectacular failure with a MTBF of about 1 week. My boss at Midway was eventually put in charge of this group and tasked with salvaging this debacle – he persuaded me to join him in this new division. We designed a new Lottery terminal from scratch, that was eventually deployed into the Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa and West Virginia state lotteries.

The entire time I was working for Bally, my wife and I had a side business selling computer boards to the nascent S-100 computer marketplace. Our company was ADS in Elmhurst, Illinois. I’m amazed that there are photos of some of these products and user manuals on the internet today. My wife and staff did the sales, marketing and manufacturing, and I did the product development on nights and weekends. With the introduction of the PC, the S-100 market dried up, and our foray into the Multibus market was unsuccessful. We closed the company about the time I entered the Lottery group, and divorced shortly thereafter.

At that point, Bally moved the engineering facility that the Lottery group shared with the Gaming division to Las Vegas, and the Lottery employees were given the option of moving to SciGames in Hotlanta. I agreed to a stint of 9 months with the understanding that we would build a new engineering group in Atlanta, then I would depart. The new group was never formed, and after I left, the online portion of the Lottery business was sold to a competitor.

While in the Lottery group, I met my current wife. We dated long distance for two years, and after I left Scientific Games we were married and moved to Sarasota in ’90. I joined my youngest brother, Scott in his business – ACS, which was selling networked computer systems with customized accounting software. This was lucrative for awhile, before the department stores started competing. We then started designing and manufacturing customized embedded industrial controllers, which is what we’re still doing to this day.

Here are links to our websites, where we market our own product lines:

http://www.acscontrol.com

http://www.cfsound.com

The bulk of our business consists of OEM products that we design and manufacture at our production facility.

Enough for now – that’s probably a little more than I meant to write, but once I got started, it was hard to know where to stop.

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