I’ve always been very entrepreneurial. In high school at various times I had a printing company called The Caterpillar Press (and set lead type by hand), a comic book sales company called California Comic Sales (CSC) and published a magazine for military miniature painters called Militaria Report.
I started tinkering with electronic kits even before taking an electronics class in the 11th grade. Most of it was to support my interest in music studio recording. A classmate and I started a company to make “fuzz” boxes for guitars, and I also ran a sound studio out of my mother’s house. In 1977, while working for Hughes Aircraft as a Master’s Fellow, I co-founded a company called MicroDaSys to develop what later came to be known as “PCs”.
After Epcot opened in 1982, I continued to work for WED until Christmas of 1983, first as the Ride Systems Engineer for imagination, then programming the parkwide monitoring system and helping open Horizons October 1, 1983.
In early 1984 he returned to California, and took a position as the Director of Engineering for Cambrian Systems, managing an engineering department of 45 people designing hard disk drive certifiers and development systems. But he wasn’t really happy being out of the entertainment industry, and soon took a position as the Vice President of Engineering for Linn Electronics, the inventors of the digital drum machine. Then in 1986 he founded Alcorn McBride Inc., and began developing musical instruments and theme park electronics for others.
My first real company. MicroDaSys was a computer maker in the days before the IBM PC was invented. Originally selling kits, we later ventured into business systems and the 68K, a predecessor to computers like the Macintosh.
MicroDaSys was originally called Micro Data Systems. Unfortunately that name was already taken. Then we named it MDS. Unfortunately, that name was taken, too. So finally we settled on MicroDaSys. Nobody else wanted that name!
MicroDaSys’ original products were S-100 bus boards, sold mostly as kits. Linda and I remember many late evenings sitting on the living room floor counting parts for the kits. This was our first board, the MD-690A, a 6802-based S-100 card.
We later combined the board into an 8080-based computer that ran accounting and word processing programs. It was sold under the brand name “Millie”, which was a name invented by our Dutch distributors.
Then from 1982 through 1983 I worked as a consultant on Epcot Center. See the Epcot Page.
In 1984 I was hired as Director of Engineering for Cambrian Systems, which built the half-million dollar hard disk development systems on granite blocks. They included laser interferometer positioning systems with resolutions of 0.3 micro inches. Systems such as this certifier and our servo track writer were used by companies like IBM to develop next-generation disk drives.
And then on to Alcorn McBride in 1986…