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Lockport, Illinois

b. 1936

My Push and Pull Experience

There was general agreement at this time among the founders that I would be KineticSystems' first employee, which meant quitting my job at NAL---now called Fermilab. I had three small children and a new house mortgage, which is why such big changes in life often need both a push and a pull. The pull came from the desire to start and operate a company before I was 35, and I was now at 34 years and 9 months.

The push developed as frustration grew with my current job at Fermilab. Lowell and I had decided to use CAMAC to implement computer control of the booster accelerator. A directive came down from the Fermilab directorís office that the various groups should agree on the means for interfacing computers to the various parts of the accelerator. There were six different groups doing it six different ways and the discussion soon became CAMAC against the others. I represented the CAMAC way and it became a daily battle. With a new company beginning to take shape I had the option to quit, and I took it. Soon after that, the Lab Director himself decided that the lab would standardize on CAMAC, as did government labs all over the world. KineticSystems had an almost instant worldwide market for its products.

There are a lot of things you need to start a risky venture. Among them are push, pull, timing, capital and catalyst. Itís also good to have a vision and to do planning. You could throw in luck, but I think luck is another name for these previously mentioned items.