By late summer of 1986, the Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. engagement with the City of Dallas Water Utilities was in full swing. I was brought in due to my ADR Datacom, system development and financial background, though I was a little reluctant to leave the Annuity Board, compensation being the motivating factor. The project titled Customer Information, Accounting, Billing System (CIABS) was not a ground-up development but an enhancement to natural gas system which was purchased from the state of Minnesota.
I was involved with 2 projects at SMU, ten years apart. The first, beginning in 1989, was the integration of existing student records systems with newly acquired Dunn & Bradstreet financial software. Since the new software was developed accessing a database differing from the ADR Datacom DB that was already in place in the legacy systems, my job was to “fool” the i/o modules into believing they were accessing their own native databases. This involved accessing multiple files and setting the completion codes to satisfy the calling software.
Originally formed to aid retired Baptist Ministers with their pensions, the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention grew to a net worth of around $3 billion by the early 1980s with $3 million in annual growth. They were second only to the Methodist Pension Board in Chicago in size among not for profit religious pension companies at the time.
My first position after graduation from college, Information Retrieval Methods (IRM) near Farmers Branch in northwest Dallas, hired me as an entry-level programmer in October of 1983. IRM was a marketing software service company with clients including Nabisco and ALCOA, but their main client was Philip Morris with a custom system DATAVEND, tailored specifically for the tobacco vendor.