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– Guestbook

This page is a place for users of BTI computers, or former employees, to leave stories and recollections. Share your memories below! Because of spammers, all submissions go through a spam filter service, taking a few seconds to be approved. If you would rather communicate privately, use the email link at the bottom of this page.

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Wayne Clark writes...
I was somewhat of a late-comer to BTI. I arrived in Sunnyvale, CA in August 1983 to serve as the IBM communications architect reporting to Rudy Folden. In addition to defining the strategy to connect the BTI 3000 and 4000 to IBM mainframes, I needed to build a team to execute on that strategy. Rudy and I hired Bob Consoli and TK (Thangavel Kilakkathi) to make the entire IBM networking team.

By the time my first anniversary rolled around in the summer of 1984, it had become clear that we would not be able to execute on an IBM networking strategy with only 3 developers. I left BTI that summer and, after IBM networking stints at Ungermann-Bass and 3Com, I joined Cisco Systems.

At Cisco, I was finally able to form the team I needed to build the software necessary to connect Cisco routers to IBM's SNA networks. I spent 20 years at Cisco and retired in 2009 after successfully leading the engineering team that ousted IBM from the field of data networking entirely. That effort required building an entire business unit of over 300 engineers, marketing, and sales people ... therefore proving that my gut reaction to abandon that 3-person team at BTI back in 1984 was the right decision.
Posted on January 31, 2022 - 12:41:42 PST
Joe Walker ( now in GA) writes...
I was Midwesr Sales Manger in Minneapolis and believe I sold the first BTI 8000 to a new customer. Paul Kruger was my systems guy. GARY Mueller was Manager of FE support in Mn.
Posted on September 19, 2021 - 12:13:45 PDT
Steven Gallion writes...
I worked as part of a 2 member IT team with Dayton's Ticket Service in Minneapolis from 1984-85, where we moved a BTI 8000 from one floor to another.. IWe made up most of the cabling for our bank of multiplexers and 9.9K modems from scratch
Posted on August 7, 2020 - 13:00:00 PDT
Daniel Prusinowski writes...
Have not been on the site for awhile, but it was good to check in. The comment from the USIU person hit home. Before joining BTI I was one the founders of CHAMA and worked on SOARS until moving back East and joining BTI in 1980. Great times for sure.
Posted on August 2, 2020 - 10:56:02 PDT
Eric Schmidt writes...
I enjoyed browsing through the website and remembering some of the history. I worked at BTI from 1983 to 1986 as a hardware engineer working on CPU5 for the BTI 8000 (see my story in People). Great website.
Posted on July 3, 2020 - 17:29:58 PDT
Michael geller writes...
I learned to program in high school in an HP 2000. In college, I went to work for a construction company and we purchased a BTI xxx. Don't recall model number. It was so exciting in 1976 to have "my own" computer. We bought a construction package and used it for years until the company closed due to the owner dying. Great machine.
Posted on January 22, 2020 - 04:45:14 PST
Jonathan Keck writes...
I worked for US International University in San Diego in the 1980s. We ran our school administration package on a BTI 4000 there on another at our satellite campus in London. Both campuses upgraded to 8000s. We also had a model 3000 sitting unused in the corner that I was told had been the second one BTI had sold. The professor who managed the department had also spun off a company (Chama Corporation) to sell the administrative software to other colleges.
Almost everything we did was in BASIC.
Posted on January 15, 2020 - 04:54:40 PST
Keith Hazell writes...
Today Martin Peters died, he was on the English Football team in 1966 when England last won the World Cup. After his football carreer he set up a car dealership in London with Geoff Hurst another famous footballer. They ran their business on a BTI 8000 computer until 1991 when my company bought them out and scrapped their computer systems, so I remember the 8000 well. Just a snippet of history
Posted on December 21, 2019 - 11:00:59 PST
Martin Osborne writes...
Email address added
Posted on November 11, 2019 - 14:21:49 PST
Martin Osborne writes...
Goodness knows how I found this site.!

I worked in Customer / Field Service in the UK friom 1982 to 1985. Fond memories. I left to start my own business in a completely different field and left the world of computers behind,
Posted on November 11, 2019 - 14:20:29 PST
martin elliott-hunter writes...
the 8000 certainly did have a Cobol compiler from RyanMcFarland - I wrote some test programs using it. we were looking for system that could handle a lot of terminals.
Posted on April 2, 2019 - 09:40:20 PDT
Gil Abrams writes...
I worked as a parts manager for a Cadillac Oldsmobile dealership in PA. I went to "Reynolds & Reynolds" school in NJ In 1978 to learn all about the BTI-3000 system we just (purchased/leased) I was the backup SysAdmin. We had to build a special air conditioned room to keep the BTI-3000 cool. When I left in 1981 the tech login was "HEL-@003, tta" I could login from home (TRS-80 model 1) using my 300 baud modem to print reports on my own dot matrix printer because that was cheaper than getting another one from R&R... We had 2 "Scopes" in the parts department. Thank you for the opportunity to post!
Posted on January 27, 2019 - 14:16:42 PST
Daniel Prusinowski writes...
Thanks to Alan Hartman for pointing me to this site. As he mentioned, I started my IT career at CHAMA in San Diego. We produced a college administration software package that ran exclusively on BTI hardware. We called the product SOARS (Student Oriented Admission and Registration Software). This was in the late 1970’s. We had very bright college “kids” at CHAMA who really pushed the envelope with BASIC and BTI hardware that helped improve BTI’s offerings. As a partner with BTI I had the opportunity to get know some great people like Tom Poulter and Jon Nickerson. As my plans changed to move back East in 1980, BTI offered me that job that Alan mentioned. We settled in Cherry Hill NJ and spent a few great years with all the folks that Alan mentioned. It also included the opportunity to continue to work closely with CHAMA while they continued to produce software on BTI hardware including the 8000. BTI produced literature and marketed the software. I do have old CHAMA literature which I will share with this site. The infamous “layoff” allowed me to dip my toe into direct sales as well maintain my tech skills. I learned a lot. Since that time, I made additional stops with other hardware companies but ended with a software company based in NYC selling Business Intelligence and data management software. We had relocated to Glen Gardner, NJ by then. Now, I am retired living in Greenville, NC.
I have very fond memories of my time at BTI and maintain a deep respect and admiration for all the people I met while working there.
Looking at this site, I saw several mentions of colleges using BTI. These schools were also customers of CHAMA running the SOARS software. I recall – USIU (CA), Southwestern Adventist College (TX), Liberty College (M), Bryant College (RI), Illinois College of Optometry (IL), Monmouth University (NJ), Bloomfield College (NJ), Knoxville College (TN), Messiah College (PA), Theil College (PA), Idaho State University (ID). An added data bit about Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) – I hired John Gilbert from USIU and while working with ICO he met his future wife and stayed on at ICO as their Director of IT managing the BTI 8000. John and I remain friends and stay in touch. In fact he had been my golf partner over the years.
My email is
Posted on December 22, 2018 - 06:18:24 PST
Alan Hartmann writes...
Some Sunnyvale employees not on your list:

Downey Overton -- National Sales Manager
Diane Derin -- sales / marketing ?
Gail Dolby (accounting?)

Bill Feldman -- Eastern Regional Sales Manager, Piscataway NJ
Bill hired me to be ER Systems Analyst manager in 1979. I had been with Data General at the time, and my former coworkers were envious of the 8000's 60 mbps buss.

Dan Prusinowski -- was the President of Chama in San Diego, a BTI 5000 dealer with college registration software.
He came to work for BTI in 1980(?) as a Systems Analyst reporting to me. He and I remain in touch.

Eastern Region sales reps:
Harold Shanske-- NJ
John Hansen -- Boston
Howard Skruggs -- Washington DC
Sid Reich -- NJ

Sid was the sales guy responsible for the "Education" market. Of particular note, he sold a 5000 to Monmouth College, which was the site used for Daddy Warbucks' mansion in the movie "Annie". The payment Monmouth College received for their role in the movie helped fund their purchase of an 8000 a year later.

Bill O'Donnell,Atlanta sales rep, not sure if he reported to Bill Feldman or someone else.
Walt Flournoy -- Systems Analyst in Atlanta (passed away apx 1981)

I was part of the layoff in 82, but came back not long afterwards on a part-time basis when Dan P left. I've been involved with my own software business since 1984, and a sideline photography business for the last 10 years.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the note from Gina Luisi, former BTI 5000 customer. She & I became good friends over the years I was involved with BTI and afterwards as I did software consulting. We lost touch some years ago, but seeing her name & comments has inspired me to try to regain contact.

Thanks very much for putting this site together, my BTI years were some of the most satisfying years of my career, and I still feel honored to have worked along side of some very, very smart people.

Anyone who might want to drop me an email, try
Posted on November 30, 2018 - 14:10:00 PST
Gina Luisi writes...
In the early 1980’s I worked for a company named HR1 Connect, an off shoot of Performance Dynamics, both owned by Bob Gerberg. These companies were located in Parsippany, NJ and later moved to Roseland, NJ. Performance Dynamics was an executive job search company which provided clients with training on interview skills and prepared multiple customized resumes and cover letters. They also offered a service, through HR1 Connect, which matched the client to a Dun & Bradstreet industry data base based on SIC codes and then did mass mailings of custom resumes and cover letters to prospective employers in an effort to help them find the perfect job! That is where the BTI 5000 came into play. I worked for Bill Oliver and was the person who ran the IT services arm of HR1 Connect. I basically entered all of the client/job search parameters and ran batch jobs which matched the client to corporations. These searches resulted in files of mail merged cover letters and hundreds of labels per client. I then printed the resumes, letters and labels and moved them over to our distribution/mailing department for packing and shipping. In addition to the day to day operations, I was also responsible for maintaining the BTI 5000 and even repairing it on occasion! I remember being on the phone with a BTI technical support representative to diagnose problems, then new parts were shipped to me and I would take off the back panel, remove the bad part and replace it with the new part…all while being guided by a patient, kind, expert technician at BTI over the telephone! Those were the days!
While I am taking this brief trip down memory lane, I can’t fail to mention our consultant software developer, Alan Hartmann. He wrote the Basic-X code which performed the matching and merging of data. None of this could have happened without him. Eventually we expanded our job search database with a team of people who scoured the want ads from newspapers around the country, and entered that data in IBM PCs. Eventually the PC’s replaced the processes that had been done on the BTI 5000.
Thank you for the work you have done to build this site and keep this history alive!
Posted on April 10, 2018 - 09:52:31 PDT
Robert Knight writes...
I was a Technical Service rep for Reynolds and Reynolds from 1978 until 1989. I fondly remember working with these behemoths using Reynolds software in auto dealerships all over the country. We had a great working relationship with BTI and with many of their field techs. Those were some great days for both companies.
Posted on January 26, 2017 - 11:53:55 PST
Clayton Weimer writes...
While working myself through Cal St. Disneyland (Cal State Fullerton that is) I worked up the road for 2 years at Beckman Instruments in Brea California. A few bright biology scientists had kludged together a small hospital Laboratory Management System (LMS) to hook up with the other laboratory test equipment Beckman was known for in those days. It was on the BTI-5000, the software was written in Basic, and BTI (or a consultant they recommended) got real interested and help them with their search algorithms etc. (first time I heard of the term b-tree). Beckman got real interested and made a product out of it, and I was hired as a programmer’s aide to test and help debug.

Basic was my first language, but by that time I was learning Pascal in school and was already realizing the beauty in modularization and specification.

I loved the BTI-5000. The code? Not so much, but it was a great environment.

Then Beckman got real serious and began product development based on BTI-8000. Our language would be Pascal! But nobody (other than me) really understood Pascal, and much less software engineering processes required to put out a robust product. So quickly several engineers were brought into the team, including outside contractors were hired. What I remember best about the whole experience is I learned more about software engineering from them than I ever did in school (my degree was C.S.). My second memory was asking a manager for a raise and pointing out my accomplishments over other engineers who were at a higher pay grade. He quickly pointed to my lack of a degree and I said “what does that matter, I’m better?” He said, “Look at it from management’s point of view, a degree shows that you can accomplish something, that you can finish something.” Apparently programming accomplishments alone didn’t mean very much, so I quit and went back to being a full time student.

Here’s the brochure for the LMS system, I believe its a BTI-5000? I could be wrong.
Posted on January 15, 2016 - 12:35:33 PST
Scott Golding writes...
I was late to the game, starting using a BTI-5000 and an -8000 in 1989. I made the start of a great career developing and maintaining systems to run pulp mills from '89 until newer technologies rendered the old dumb terminals (et al) obsolete; Y2K was the nail in the coffin, and we shut them all down in '98 or so. I'm proud to still have a few BTI parts in my garage and the nameplate from my last 8000 still in my office. I miss the wonderful reliability and great tech support!
Posted on July 3, 2015 - 17:26:29 PDT
bill schmitt writes...
just brousing
Posted on May 27, 2015 - 21:17:39 PDT
Brian Richards writes...
How great to find this! I was a user at Bryant College (BTI 4000) and and employee after graduation in 1980. I was hired by Sam Cohen and worked for Shirley Henry,
Posted on February 22, 2015 - 05:53:28 PST

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