Stories Told

Time for new business cards

I start a new job today! I have joined a small software company as their Director of Quality Assurance. I won’t name the company – it’s not top secret or anything, but a lot of what I do is confidential research and development. I will say that this is a very small company getting off the ground, and they want me to build their testing organization. (Programmers write the code, and testers make sure the code works.) It’s a great opportunity for me!

I’ve gotten ahead in my career by moving from company to company, which is typical in the software industry. So over the years I’ve had a lot of different business cards. I still have some from most of the places I’ve worked. Since I don’t write about my work very much here, I thought you might enjoy hearing about my work history as told through my business cards.

My first job after college was for a software company in Terre Haute called Applied Computing Devices. My business cards from ACD are long gone, but they were the only ones to use my full name: James W. Grey, III. Our customers were mostly telephone companies, and we made software (and some hardware) that managed their networks. I wrote user manuals for them. I have never worked with a more brilliant group of people. Too bad brilliance alone isn’t enough to keep a company afloat.

So I moved to Indianapolis to edit …For Dummies books for IDG Books Worldwide.

Card_IDG

I soon learned that publishing-company politics weren’t for me, and so I escaped back to software. Marketing Resources Plus has been around for at least 20 years now, which is a mighty long time in this business. They are now owned by Arbitron, the radio ratings company, and they still make software that media buyers use to place ads on TV, on radio, and in print. My radio background really helped me in this job. I wrote online user documentation.

Card_MRP

I’m bummed out that I can’t find a card from my time at Made2Manage Systems, Inc., because it was a great time in my career. M2M software helped midsize manufacturers run their busineses. This was my first management job; I led their technical writers. After a few years they gave me the chance to return to my technical roots and lead a team of software testers, which is how I broke into that line of work.

Unfortunately, the tech bubble burst while I worked at M2M, and soon the company couldn’t afford to pay me. I spent three months unemployed before AdminaStar Federal, which was owned by WellPoint, the nation’s largest health insurance company, hired me to test a call-center application they were building for the government.

Card_ASF1

After a year, I was promoted to manager over the testers.

Card_ASF2

I built on skills I learned at AdminaStar Federal when I took a position with Baker Hill Corporation, leading their test automation team. In test automation, believe it or not you make software that tests other software! Community banks use Baker Hill software to manage their portfolios.

Card_BHC

Someone who worked for me at Made2Manage had moved on to a company called Aprimo, and she helped me land a quality assurance management job there. Aprimo software helps marketers manage their campaigns and measure return on investment. At Aprimo I’ve led all kinds of testing – manual, automated, performance (how fast will it run?), and security. I even briefly managed technical writers again.

Card_Aprimo

And now I’ll have another business card to add to my collection.

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I sometimes say jokingly that I’ve worked
23 years in the software salt mines.

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22 thoughts on “Time for new business cards

  1. hmunro says:

    Congrats on the newest addition to your business card collection, Jim! Hope your new gig brings lots of wonderful opportunities and fun challenges.

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  2. That’s awesome Jim, congrats and excellent luck in the new job.

    Company logos/text with the rightward slant always crack me up, their way of saying “no, we’re really MOVING, we’re the FUTURE” =)

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  3. DennyG says:

    Congrats and good luck.

    I did recognize one of those names, Made2Manage, as a sometimes competitor of the company (Mattec) where I spent the last 26 years of my working life. We didn’t really have matching products but we were going for the same dollars. Hope we didn’t hurt each other very much.

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  4. It looks to me your commentators never worked in the software/hardware business.
    I happened on it when my high school offered me to join a computer class. I was one of students that figured out what we were supposed to learn the first week, got bored, and was happy to receive a passing grade, a “D”. They put me in college prep.
    I did not to go to college and receive “C’s”. I would not have graduated from high school like many people under the double speak no child left behind. The Monday after I graduted from high I was hired by Bank of America and worked my up the coporate ladder to become a System Analyst then Senior Systems Analyst.
    I then left for Chevron after 10 years. Greated with a smile at the exit intervue I was told I would not receive a pension because I started to work for them to young. 18 not 21.
    Chevron told me to pick a title for it because I would be stuck with it. Since I worked in systems not applications programming in assembly language, did reseach and developent, communications, database internals, operating systems internals I gave myself the title of Systems Programming Analyst.
    After 9 years I quit in 1991 instead of being downsized. Today I receive $300 a month from Chevron. If it was not for my Social Securiy Disability Insurance I paid for I would be homeless again.

    Great carear but nothing to show for it but the beautiful women that dragged me out of gutter saying I have a good heart,

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  5. Jennifer S says:

    Love the retrospective. So interesting how you’ve been able to merge your talents in many different ways. Also, what a great way to keep learning new skills and expanding your interests by changing jobs, fields, companies. I know you’ll be great in this new position… can’t wait to see the business card!

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    • Moving around a lot is typical in my industry. Because of it, I know people in software development organizations all over town. It’s helped me stay employed and move on to bigger and better things!

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