I Remember Bill Secor

To set the stage: It was November of 1983. Thanksgiving was approaching. My parents were coming to visit from Illinois over Thanksgiving for the first time since Gwen and I were married. We (E-Systems) were installing a massive new computer system into our facility in Alice Springs, Australia code named Zircon. The installation was coming along very poorly to say the least. In fact the Customer was threatening to send the Installation Team home along with our set of shiny new computers.

The day before Thanksgiving, the same day my parents were scheduled to arrive, Mr. Secor called me into his office to tell me he wanted me to fly to Alice Springs that night. The Customer had given E-Systems an ultimate: Get Olson over her immediately or pack up your toys and go home!

I told Bill “NO” and explained why. He calmly replied something to the effect: “You don’t understand. Either you get on the plane tonight or both you and I will be searching for employment next week.”

So, Gwen cried, I boarded the airplane for Alice Springs and spent Thanksgiving on a Pan-Am jet over the Pacific. My parents, being children of the depression totally understood – to them employment was a privilege. I don’t think Gwen ever did.

The end of the story. I arrived in Alice. Everyone asked why I was there. In the end Zircon was saved and parts of it are still operational as far as I know.

Marv Olson


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