On Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 Alan Peterson will be retiring from the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications.
Alan started working for the State of South Dakota in June 1971 as a part-time student employee at what was then Dakota State College (DSC) in Madison as a data processing assistant, while earning his Bachelor of Science degree in business and his Associates Degree in the first computer science program at DSC.
In May 1976, Alan began working for what was then called Central Data Processing (CDP). After 45 years with the state, he serves as a Technology Engineer IV.
When asked how technology has changed throughout the past 45 years, Alan explained ,“When I started at the college we were using punch cards and wires.” For those of you who are unfamiliar with that term, punch cards were cards used by a key punch machine. Each line of a computer program had to be typed on a punch card and the cards were read by a card reader and to get the program to a mainframe computer. If there were errors on the card – the card had to be retyped. It’s safe to say, BIT has come a long way since then!
Among his most memorable moments, Alan lists the design of a new payroll system to run on a new database package (ADABAS) and the Y2K project. In addition, when asked what he believed to be his biggest accomplishment, Alan modestly replied, “Natural and EntireX.”
Fellow co-worker, Frenchy Taft, stated, “For Natural and EntireX, Al has been the technician who received the initial versions from Software AG, implemented them, tested them, and then rolled them out in production for Development shops to use. Over the years, he has continued to receive new versions of this software, migrate it up thru the environments, and ultimately make these versions the new standard for use by all the developers in all branches of State government.”
Frenchy also noted that another major accomplishment for Alan was the State Central Payroll System. He explained, “In 1979, Al was part of a two-person team that was responsible for requirements gathering, designing, managing the programmers, and implementing a new Central Payroll system for the State. The system utilized the new mainframe database system (ADABAS) and the system was written in COBOL with ADABAS Macro Interface (ADAMint) modules. This was before the State got Natural. During those days, the life expectancy of a computer system was 5 to 7 years. To their credit, the payroll system they developed was used for 22 years before Lawson replaced the payroll calculations part of Central Payroll. The part of the Central Payroll system they designed and developed that interfaces with the State’s budget and accounting systems is still being used 37 years later!”
Alan will miss the challenges of supporting new requirements, but looks forward to continuing to hunt, fish, travel, play with his grandson and finally being able to turn off the alarm clocks!
When asked to give a few words of wisdom to his fellow colleagues that he will be leaving behind, he stated, “Remember there will always be a new requirement and a new technology and they may not complement each other.”
Although the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications has been thrilled to have you these past years Alan, there are a few other people who are also very proud of you as well…
“Alan and I moved to Pierre/Fort Pierre after he graduated from Dakota State College in 1976. The plan was to stay here for two years and then move on to somewhere else. Well, here we are almost 40 years later with Alan retiring from the same office, although there have been many name changes over the years.
The Pierre/Fort Pierre area was a bit of a change for these flatlanders but we’ve come to love it. We spent a lot of time fishing when we first moved out here and hope to get back to that on our pontoon now that we are both retired.
We raised our son; Adam, here and he surprised us by moving back here to start a family of his own. With two granddaughters and a little grandson, I’m sure they will keep us busy with athletic events and concerts to attend.
Alan has enjoyed the people he has met over the years and also enjoyed the challenges of the job. I’m sure he’ll find other challenges to keep him busy and if he needs more to keep him busy, I’m sure I can line up some things for him!
We plan on doing some traveling. We already have a trip to Alaska planned for June 2016 and hope to get another “bucket list” trip checked off by driving down Highway 101 from Washington to Central California soon! There will also be East Coast trips to visit family.
Let the fun begin!”
“What can I say about my dad in his retirement? He gave 45 years to the State of South Dakota. That is approximately 81,300 hours of dedication and perseverance. Through the good and the bad he stuck with it. I’m proud of him.
Mom turned in her keys 18 months ago and now it is time for Dad to do the same. I hope they make the best out of their retirement years together.
Congratulations, Dad! I love you! Thanks for all you have done and all I know you will do in the future.
And remember, if you are looking for some extra work in your free time, you can always babysit your grandson! The pay sucks but even in retirement some things never change.”
Congratulations on your retirement Alan! We will miss you!