Robert Stephen Johnson

 

Born October 2, 1947 and was the 2nd child of Elmer Wallace Johnson and Doris Marie Genest

 

Stephen was born in Los Angeles, California while his father was going to Aircraft and Engines school and moved to Texas in 1948 or 1949 after his father’s school was over.  He attended several schools because his parents moved around a lot, however, he did get to attend the same high school his final three years and  graduated from Technical High School  in 1965 with a diploma in Radio and Television Servicing.

He had difficulty finding a job in the electronics field because; employers didn’t want to spend any time training him then have him drafted into the Army. (All male children starting at age 18 were eligible to be drafted into the Army during the mid-60’s).  He did find Thomas Electronics that hired him in September of 1966.  In November of that year, he received “An invitation from the government that he couldn’t refuse”, therefore, he enlisted into the United States Air Force where he was guaranteed further schooling in electronics.

On December 2, 1966 he married Janice Elaine Campbell, at Saint Georges Catholic Church in Ft. Worth Texas.  That marriage ended in a divorce in 1972 but not before producing two children:

Ø  Robert Stephen Johnson II born September 15, 1967 in Biloxi, Mississippi;

Ø  Glen Allen Johnson born August 22, 1970 in Anchorage, Alaska

On December 22, 1985 he married Judy Ann (Acton) Baxter (from South Bend, Indiana) in Mesquite, Texas and lived in Mesquite.  In March of 2001 they purchased “Lake Front” property and moved to Cedar Creek Lake, 60 miles Southeast of Dallas, Texas, where they live today.  Judy has two daughters from a previous marriage:

Ø  Stephanie Lynne Baxter born February 13, 1968 in South Bend, Indiana;

o   Stephanie and her husband Eddy Flores have one daughter and one son:

§  Jocelyn Irene born January 29, 2007 in Dallas, Texas

§  Mathew Ryan born September 15, 2008 in Dallas Texas.

Ø  Jennifer Ann Baxter born November 25, 1970 in South Bend, Indiana

o   Jennifer and her husband Jerome Kimbrew have one son:

§  Jesse Daniel born July 3, 2004 in Dallas, Texas

Military Career

Ø  In his own words, Stephen says he spent “5 years, 4 Months, 6 Days, 14 Hours, and 45 Minutes in the Air Force and that was enough”.  During that time he spent time on the following locations:

Ø  Stephen entered basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas on February 2, 1967 in Flight 169 and spending six weeks there;

Ø  After basic training he was transferred to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi where he graduated in the top 1% in the Ground Radio and Electronics School in December of 1967. He tried to get into Computer Programming school but was told he would not make a good programmer because his “Math scores were too low”.  Later that December, he was then transferred to Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida and was assigned to the 2862 Ground Electronics, Engineering and Installation Agency (GEEIA) squadron where He worked at Cape Kennedy (now Cape Canaveral) and the various islands in the South Atlantic where the space shots were monitored.  While at Patrick, he attended a six week course on “Outside Plant” which is training for outdoor Telephone equipment. Climbing, setting and replacing phone poles and installing underground and above ground telephone wires.  He completed the course at the top of his class.

Ø  In May of 1969, he went back to Keesler Air Force Base for specialized training on the AN/FLR-9 in order to be prepared for his next assignment. While at Keesler, he lived through hurricane Camille (A category 5 ) which hit the Gulf Coast on Aug, 19, 1969.

Ø  In late October, 1969 he started a 5 week trip to Anchorage, Alaska to be assigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base where he was assigned to the 6981 Security Group of the Air Force Security Service (USAFSS) squadron.  When arriving at Elmendorf, he was surprised to learn that the three people, which had gone to the FLR-9 school, had arrived at the same time to take the 1 opening in the FLR-9 maintenance shop.  By “Drawing of Lots” he was assigned to one of the other 3 maintenance shops. However, while working in the FLR-9 shop for his 1 week “Indoctrination” and while troubleshooting the FLR-9 when both of the direction finding stations “Locked Up” and would not work, Stephen, after several hours of research, found the problem which was a “Design flow” and designed a fix.  The Maintenance Chief was so impressed that he requested that Stephen be reassigned to the FLR-9 shop and the Maintenance Commander approved the transfer.  The “Fix” was latter approved by the FLR-9 design engineers and was installed on all FLR-9 installations around the world and Stephen was awarded a commendation and $100.00.  A few years later, a “Maintenance Issue” was discovered by some engineers from San Antonio, Texas while doing some special testing. Several groups of engineers and other maintenance personal were assigned to locate the problem; however, after several months of searching, they all failed to locate the cause of the problem.  Stephen was granted his request to look into the problem and after 4 days of studying the schematics looking for a common signal path he located and fixed the problem.  He received another commendation for his efforts.

Ø   On August 8, 1972 he was released from the Air Force at Carswell Air Force Base in Ft. Worth Texas with a Hardship Discharge because his wife had left him and gave him custody of the two kids.

 

Work Career

After leaving the Air Force, he returned to Ft. Worth Texas where he started his Post Military carrier:

Ø  In 1972 he returned to Thomas Electronics and worked up to Foreman.  During that time he attended Control Data Institute (CDI) in the Computer Technology (computer repair) program where he graduated with a 99.4%

Ø  International Power machine Corp

o   In 1974 he got an electronics technician position at “Static Products” in Mesquite, Texas, later to become International Power Machines Corp (IPM). He worked in the test lab where he worked on Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS).  During that time he completed the school at CDI and started the Computer Programming program where her graduated with a 99.7%

o   In 1976 he got a promotion and single handedly started IPM’s first computer department when the company acquired a HP 2100 computer from a sister company.  With no specific training on that computer he was told “Here is the computer and the books.  Here’s what we want done.”  He completed a Bill of Materials System conversion from their paper system.  After answering “NO” to the question asked by the CEO of the company “Will this computer do what we need to do?” the CEO said to him “Find one that will” so in 1977 Stephen found Datapoint Corporation and the company purchased a Datapoint system which has  the world’s first Local Area Network (LAN). He designed and wrote an Inventory Control system, rewrote the Bill of material system, then created a Shop Floor Control System.  He completed the systems, with help from a junior programmer Harry Hoover in two years.  The company grew from a $7 million to a $25 million in the year after the systems were completed.  He also wrote a new computer language (WLGEN) that was used to create the Point-to-Point wiring lists used to build the UPS machines.  This language reduced the Wire List creation from 10 to 14 days to less than a day.

o   Because Datapoint’s primary language (Databus/Datashare) was slow, he created another language that was based on Datapoint’s “English Based” language, but executed much faster.  He rewrote several programs in the new language which greatly speeded up processing.  He was asked one day what he was going to name the language and he said “For quick and Dirty programming use DIRTBOL”.  It was said as a joke, but the name stuck.  He sold several copies of the language to other companied. One program was reduced from 12 hours, written in Databus, to less than 1 hour, written in DIRTBOL.

o   IN 1980, he transferred to the Engineering department where he was given to task to convert the UPS analog meters to a Digital Display.  After receiving an HP 64000 Microprocessor Development System, he created the prototype of a software system to replace the analog members.  The prototype consisted of an Operating System and the Application written for the Z-80 microprocessor.  The prototype was completed in 5 months which included the time to learn the HP 64000 and the Z-80 instruction set and the HP Assembly language.

Ø  In 1984 he moved to San Antonio, Texas to work for Datapoint Corporation in the Disk Operating System (DOS) department where he worked on the Disk Operation System (DOS) Release 8.0.  Because of “too much politics” he quit after 14 months and moved back to Ft. Worth, Texas

Ø  In 1985 he went back to International Power Machines as a contractor to convert the programs he has written on the Datapoint to a DEC VAX Operation system.  Although he has no experience on the DEC VAX he converted the Inventory and Bill of Material migration in 6 months.  1 ½ years ahead of schedule, according to the DEC VAX Software Vendor.

Ø  In 1986 was hired by Swift Independent Packing which, which was moving from Chicago, Ill to Dallas, because of his Datapoint Experience.  While with Swift he taught himself the IBM System/38 Operating system, the Control and the RPG III Languages.  After Swift was purchased by ConAgra and moved to Greely, Colorado he went to Greely for 3 months for the transition.  While in Greely, he wrote the first Help Desk System for the System/38 on his own time and given ownership of the program by Swift.  He called it the “Problem Management System” (PMS).

Ø  In 1988 he returned to Dallas and went to work for Lawson Associates.  Lawson was headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ø  In 1989 he sold the PMS Help System to Definitive Computer Services (DCS) in Dallas, Texas and was then hired by DCS. He worked on the IBM AS/400 which was the replacement for the IBM System/38. While at DCS he rewrote the PMS System for the AS/400 and was renamed it Problem Management Plus (PMP). PMS did not sound very good, especially for women.  DCS failed to live up to contractual agreement for sales of PMP so in 1996 he sued DCS and got back ownership of the software, however, since several years had passed and several other Help Desk packages were already on the market, playing catch-up to the market proved to be do difficult for one person.

Ø  In 1994 he was excited to work for Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in Plano, Texas, but the excitement soon wore off after several “Misadventures” with management.

Ø  In 1995 we went to work for Prentiss Properties in Dallas Texas as a programmer.  After two years he was promoted to Senior Programmer, then to Programming Manager. He remained with Prentiss until November 2001 where he was laid off with 55 others as a result of the 9/11 incident in New York.  He was hired back two years later and continued to work for them until June of 2006 when the company was purchased by Brandywine Realty Trust and essentially moved the IS department to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Ø  In 2008 he wrote the Data Transfer Utility, a User Extendable, simple and easy replacement to SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) which was must easier to use and has several built-in features not present in SSIS.

Ø  He is currently working in Dallas as an Independent Software Developer and Contractor.

 

Additional Information

v  He has written, and been proficient, in over 40 computer languages not including the two he wrote himself. Stephen said, “I guess I showed the Air Force that they didn’t know what they were talking about since I’ve been programming for over 40 years”.

v  He taught programming ever since he was in programming school.  He helped the other students while in school and has taught:

Ø  programming to other employees at every job he ever has

Ø  Visual Basic 4.0 and 5.0, C, and the Introduction to Object Oriented Programming (OOP) at Richland Jr. College in Richardson, Texas

Ø  He taught RPG and other various AS/400 classes to various companies including IBM employees in Dallas, Texas

Ø  From January 2000 through July of 2005, he was the Advanced Visual Basic Special Interest Group (SIG) Leader for the North Texas PC Users Group (NTPCUG) where he taught Visual Basic 4.0, 5.0, 6.0 and .NET (1.0, 2003, and 2005)) at Microsoft in Irving, Texas

Ø  Has since learned and been proficient in VBScript, JavaScript, jQuery, HTML, CSS and many more. He will never quit learning.