Building on the Shoulders of Giants (reprinted from the Metro Spirit, 1-30-14)
For some reason, conventional wisdom states that the young should dominate the field of information technology. No doubt that it’s due to the fast changing nature of the field. More often than not, new technology arrives faster than most people can keep up. Typical career paths move folks away from technology into management or leadership positions, and once invaluable skills become obsolete after a few short years. However, some individuals persist, reinventing themselves every few years to stay abreast with current technology and channeling their knowledge into a resource for their community. My father, Allen Baker, Jr., is one of those individuals.
Al Baker traveled the path of one of the few technology pioneers. Graduating from Georgia Tech in the mid-1960’s, before the concept of information technology even existed, he began his career as a system administrator for a Fortune 500 company. In those days, computers were held in rooms, algorithms were written using stencils, and applications were run on punch cards. My dad was among the first generation of professionals helping organizations learn how to utilize this new and exciting resource.
Eventually, my dad’s career brought him back to Augusta. In 1978, Al Baker became Professor Baker as he took a faculty position within the Math and Computer Science Department at the old Augusta College, now Georgia Regents University. Over the next decade or so, he helped train the generation of IT professionals who would take Augusta through Y2K and the Internet technology boom. Many of his former students currently hold technology leadership positions within Augusta businesses, government and non-profit organizations.
Always on the lookout for new opportunities, my dad worked with some former students to start a local computer support business. Computer Masters of Augusta was born. During the 35 years of his leadership, Computer Masters evolved with the industry to consistently deliver responsive, high-quality support to hundreds of Augusta businesses. In addition, Allen received patents for the software he created to build a medical claims clearing business, Viatrack Systems. This business is focused on improving the productivity, as well as the revenue collection, of hundreds of medical practices across the nation.
After 50 years in the technology business, Allen Baker decided it is time to join the ranks of the newly retired. This Friday, January 31, 2014, CMA Technology will be holding a dinner to celebrate the achievements of our founder and technology pioneer. I hope that you would join us in recognizing Allen’s dedication to service. If his companies have helped you, please post your story on Facebook/ComputerMasters or Twitter @CMANet.