Rodney Ayers - 1963
BIO & Picture from 40th Reunion
My sister Barb (HHS '71) me and my wife SharonRod Ayers 2003-12-09
Hi to everyone…sorry I had to miss the 40th because there were several I was anxious to see again after all the years.
In many ways it seems like only yesterday we rushing though Kewpie land, trying to hurry and graduate so we could get on with life. But then again there are times when it seems like “a time long, long ago, in a place far, far away”.
I headed off to Calvary Bible College in Kansas City that summer with the intent of going into Christian Education/Sacred Music. But after the first year, decided to make a change. I thought electronics might be good. Besides, there was the possibility of going to work for the Far Eastern Broadcasting Company, or HCJB in Quito, Ecuador and still be in church-related work. I was all set to enroll in a full-time electronics school…but there was a little matter of needing an evening job.
The ad read “ELECTRONIC DATA PROCESSING”, and was for a trainee position on the second shift. So far, so good…! Well, I had an idea what “electronics” was, but had no clue to the “data processing” part. The hiring manager misread my application and thought I was working 60 hours a week and going to school fulltime (not). He thought I sounded like a go-getter and hired me out of 60 applicants. Now I’ve spent 36 of the last 39 years since 1964 playing with computers. And I never did make it to electronics school!
The first computer on which I worked was an IBM 1401. It was a little bigger than a side-by-side refrigerator, and had 16KB (KB, not MB!) of memory. It cost about $8,000/month to rent. Commerce Bank (where I worked) used that one computer for all Demand Deposit and Savings accounting.
That was really a fun time to be ”in computers”, since “we” were literally dreaming up and inventing everything we take for granted today. The Apple and PC were over 15 years away. “We didn’t have operating systems; we didn’t have methodologies; and we didn’t know we needed them.
I stayed in Kansas City for 12 of 13 years, with a year in Omaha. I crammed my 4-year business degree (BBA) into 11 years at UMKC. In 1975 I went to Indianapolis for a year, then off to Detroit for 5 years, most of the time at Rockwell International Automotive Operations…still working in computers (DP…? IS…? MIS…?). While in Detroit I got my MBA from the University of Detroit, but this time I did the 57 hours in 27 months.
With a brand new MBA I decided it was time to make the big switch to corporate finance, and joined the Ford Finance Training program…the year before Ford lost $2 billion. The loss through Ford a real curve, and everything came to a screeching halt. The finance program stalled. So…it was back to computers.
In 1980 I went to work for Nissan in Tennessee. The Japanese were just beginning to build the Truck plant in Smyrna, about 10 miles outside of Nashville. Nissan is Japanese-owned and American-managed. I was part of the MIS management team that started-up an MIS organization from scratch…with 50 employees and over 125 contractors during the first two years.
In 1988 I came to Southern California. I’m still working in computers, and teach part time at California State University, Fullerton. I got my second master’s, MS in Management Systems, at CSUF in 2000. One of my professors liked a research paper I had done for him, and it was just published in “Information Management and Computer Security” (UK).
A few years ago I got to take a couple of business trips to Birmingham, UK. The schedule didn’t allow for sightseeing, and the only thing memorable was a sore seat from the 11-1/2 hour flight out of LA.
I met my present wife, Sharon, in a church singles group (it does work!) in Long Beach. This December is our 14th anniversary. She’s one of those rare people…a real California native. She graduated from La Puente in ’62. Sharon is an RN (outstanding, in my humble opinion).
Now retired from nursing, Sharon is primary caregiver for her folks and volunteers at our church, where we are both active. I served on the Trustee Board for 6 years, and was elected Treasurer a year ago. I used to sing in the choir, but with contemporary worship, choirs are few and far between! So are the organ concerts, which I dearly love.
I have two daughters from my first marriage, and am now a granddad. My parents, who lived in Parkade (out past the Cancer hospital), for 45 years, moved to Marshall a couple of years ago. My sister Barbara (HHS ’71) moved to Southern California a year ago, and my brother Steve (HHS ’65) lives in St. Joseph.