IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - March/April 2012 - (Page 48)

Stop Run An eclectic take on the mainframe world Reflecting on his career, mainframer Clarence Golson says , “It’s been a good life.” A Strong Connection Mainframer Clarence Golson reflects on a diverse career built on a single platform By Mike Westholder F ew careers span as many industries as Clarence Golson’s. Over nearly four decades, he’s worked for state government agencies, banks, a textile manufacturer, a coal-mining company, a hospital and NASA. However, the common thread in these varied jobs was the IBM mainframe. Selectric typewriter as the interface with an acoustic coupler.” His initial project involved creating a multilisting service to help the department of transportation determine comparable value of properties acquired for highway right-of-way. After moving to the department of revenue, Golson worked on a tax-return entry system, which was exceptional in its capability to process returns rapidly. “We never got more than one day behind,” he notes. “I’ve always had a strong connection to the mainframe,” says the recently retired Huntsville, Ala., resident, whose work focused on CICS* configuration, maintenance and programming. “In monitoring midrange equipment over the years … what I’ve seen has justified my belief that mainframes are the best thing out there.” “We were able to take aerial photos of mine sites, and with three known site points, extrapolate a mine plan. Based on that, you could tell how long it would take to mine that piece of property,” he recalls. Eventually, in 1997, Golson went to work as a contractor for NASA in Huntsville. While it might sound impressive, “the actual work was the same I’d been doing the previous 30 years—mainframe Assembler code, COBOL, session managers—providing the customers what they need. I think it appeared more glamorous than it was,” he says. That ’70s Mainframe After high school, Golson moved to Atlanta and attended Computer Career Institute, where his coursework introduced him to IBM Assembler, COBOL* and RPG. Golson accepted his first job in 1970, working for the state of Georgia as a programmer. There, he worked with an IBM System/360 Model 50 with 256 KB of memory. “The very first system I worked on was a time-sharing computer,” he recalls. “It used BASIC and an IBM On the Edge From these initial experiences, Golson recognized he was working with some cutting-edge technology being used in inventive ways. That would be a recurring theme as he helped establish several banks’ first ATM networks in the 1980s. But one of his most innovative projects involved a mining company. Retirement As he prepares for the next chapter in his life, Golson has one specific goal in mind: “Top of my bucket list is to go back to Flathead Lake and go fishing. It’s in Montana, and has nearly every species of trout there is. One species grows to 50 pounds, but I’d like to catch one just big enough to have for supper.” Mike Westholder is managing editor of IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition. 48 MARCH/APRIL 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - March/April 2012

IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - March/April 2012
Table of Contents
Editor’s Desk: Rethinking System z
IBM Perspective: Smarter Computing, Enterprise Modernization and the Mainframe
Insider: Proper Tools Can Bring Flexibility to Application Development
IT Today: Six Things You Didn't Know About the Modern Mainframe
Trends: Seven Reasons IT Projects Fail
Cover Story: Agile Thinking: How to leverage existing technology to gain a competitive advantage
Features: All Together Now: A centralized business analytics environment delivers great value
Improving Upon the Gold Standard: System z pushes the limits of high availability
Tech Corner: Processor Design Innovations Empower the z196
Developer: Accurate Project Scoping Helps Map Out a Faster Route to Success
Solutions/Advertiser's Index: PASSPORT Host Integration Objects - LegaSuite 6
Stop Run: Mainframer Clarence Golson Reflects on a Diverse Career Built on a Single Platform

IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - March/April 2012