TIC Tech Team: Alan Meyer
Alan Meyer began work with TIC Software in 1990 as a Consultant. He often acted as a project manager, worked on developing custom software for TIC clients, and helped with some of TIC's software products. He retired from TIC in 2015. He recently looked back on Tandem’s unique system capabilities and his favorite career memories in an interview with TIC.
Q: How did you end up at TIC Software?
A: Phil and both of his brothers worked for Tandem Computers in the early '80s until Phil started TIC in 1983. Around 1990, a mutual friend recommended me to Phil and put in a good word about Phil to me. There were a couple of other companies giving me offers, but the projects they were working on didn't seem all that interesting compared to TIC.
Q: What was unique about TIC?
A: TIC is probably the most honest company I have worked with. I have never seen them try to get more out of a client than what they put in. TIC always organized its projects in a way where everyone contributed. I think this collaborative working environment, in addition to a customer centered approach to business makes TIC unique. From the top down, there is a real sense that investing in the client personally, as much as professionally, is of great importance.
Q: Do you have any standout memories from your career with TIC?
A: There were a lot. Working at TIC meant doing a lot of different types of projects, ranging from product development, to customer support. Some of the international trips were good - Switzerland and Brazil come to mind. What I liked most about the trips was meeting the people and experiencing some of the culture of the country. In Brazil, I experienced Brazilian "barbecue," "sun cured beef," and felt my first earthquake. I remember on one trip, I and another person working on the project got a chance to walk around Sao Paulo a bit. We came across a market and I was amazed to see what looked like a lot of colonial silver for sale.
Some of the more challenging projects, such as developing a message switch for NASDAQ, were interesting. I mostly enjoyed working for particular clients: Pape, J.P. Morgan Chase, EDS. I also liked learning the Blueage development platform. TIC always encouraged employees to acquire new knowledge and invest in training, which was greatly appreciated.
Q: What was so unique about Tandem computers back in the 90s?
A: Tandem was a computer company that was a spin-off of Hewlett-Packard. They developed a redundant computer architecture, so that there was no single point of failure in the computer hardware. All of this was supported by their software. The applications that were developed to run on Tandem computers could be written in such a way as to have automatic fail-over and continue on from the point of failure. This was not always easy to achieve. It took specialized programming and the application had to be built in such a way that its architecture supported the fail-over requirements.
Because of its ability to stay running when other computers would fail, Tandem was popular with financial institutions such as banks and stock exchanges, and other clients that considered their "up-time" to be critical.
Q: What have you been up to lately?
A: Since retirement, my wife and I have been traveling a lot more. We have made multiple trips to California, a couple of them by car where we stopped off at some of the national parks in Utah on the way: Arches, Zion, and Bryce Canyon. We also did road trips to Cape Code and Hilton Head. While in Cape Cod we visited our daughter who lives in Boston, and did trips to New Hampshire, and Newport, Rhode Island. While on Hilton Head we visited Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. We also went to Yellowstone in 2018. Internationally, we have traveled to Playa del Carmen, Mexico a few times and this past winter we spent 12 or so days in Panama.
A recent development in my life is buying a used Tesla this spring. We will probably now do a lot of our future US travel by car since it is much more environmentally responsible than flying. It is also much cheaper since we get free charging on the way.
About Transaction Innovation Corporation (TIC) Software:
Founded in 1983, TIC Software was created to address the challenges of keeping Tandem/HP NonStop legacy systems current with ever-evolving “modernization” technology – providing consulting expertise and software solutions designed to keep mission-critical applications up-and-running. Today, we continue to meet these modernization challenges – as well as offer migration solutions to organizations looking to explore other technological options.