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Working at CCI / ICL
1988 - 1993

After being laid off from Paravant and not finding a job in the Melbourne area (see Job Hunt 1988), Julie suggested I look in the Washington DC. area as she thought she would like to move back there.  After looking the the Washington paper for a few weeks I lined up two interviews, one with CCI and another with another company (I think it was Lockheed).  They both made offers but I liked CCI in Reston Virginia the best and accepted the job and started in April 18, 1988.  Julie and Anne stayed in Florida that first year as Anne was in her last year of high school and Julie in her last year at UCF.  About once a month I would travel back to Florida.

CCI, Computer Consoles Inc., was a company of a few hundred employees.  The software group was based in Reston Virginia  and the hardware group, that made computers, was based in California.   CCI line of computers were based on the Motorola 68000 processor and was the "Power" series.  CCI and its computers were one of the early adopters of the Unix operating system.  The Reston based software group (originally RLG) developed an office automation production called OfficePower.  The main user base for OfficePower was law firms in the US but the product was translated into several other languages and sold internationally as well. 

PowerWindows Group
Power Windows Design Team
(back, left) Bruce Morgan, Rich Goldschmidt, Alan Miley; (front, left) Cynthia O'Connell, Steve Converse; (seated) Scott Thurlow; (right) Larry Mixson, Jan Tax, Tony Stuart

OfficePower was a host based office automation product consisting of a word processor, calendar several other minor office applications.  Connected to the Unix based CCI computers were "smart" terminals which provided some basic functionality to support OfficePower.   With the advent of the IBM PC and Microsoft Windows running WordPerfect, CCI recognized that host based applications was coming to an end.  I was hired by CCI to integrate PCs running Windows 3.1 and WordPerfect into the OfficePower suite of office products.  To do so I managed a team of that developed a product aptly called "PowerWindows".  PowerWindows communicated to the CCI system across the network.  From a terminal emulator program running under Windows it would launch WordPerfect but then save the files to the OfficePower host via NFS.  The other host based OfficePower applications could also be used in on the PC in the terminal emulator program thus "integrating" the PC with OfficePower. 

The first couple of years at CCI was really a lot of fun and a good group to work with.  My manager was the first woman I had worked for and she was really great those first few years.   My second year there I got a "Manager of the Year" award.  As CCI and OfficePower became more successful CCI was bought by STC, a UK based company, in January 1989.   Our OfficePower group became part of the STC division called ICL.  My wife Julie, then came to work for ICL as a project manager.  After this point things started to go down hill.  They gave my development group to another team leader and made me a project manager.  They then hired Frank to be a manager of the project managers.  Julie and my previous manager who was then the director never saw eye-to-eye and begin to have conflicts.  It wasn't just Julie for I also had issues with the director and many other did as well.  It became so bad at one point they sent her (the director) off to some course on how to get along with people. 

In the end it was clear that host based applications like OfficePower were losing out to PC based applications.  On Friday August 4, 1993 they called everyone (about 60 of us) into the conference room and laid everyone off.  Years later when I was working at AOL I got an email from one of the people I worked with at CCI/ICL. The email had quite a few of old CCI'ers on the CC list of which about six or so all worked for AOL.  The email was about Frank, my manager the last couple of years at ICL.  It turns out he died of cancer.  He was only a few years older then me.  One of the brightest persons that ever worked for me was Scott.  Scott went on to work at Microsoft and became the manager of the Microsoft Outlook product.  I have received an occasional email from Scott over the years.

Larry 9/7/2008

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