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Page updated 1/29/2017.

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Milestones

Previous Officers

Origination

 

History of the VIP Club

Although the VIP CLUB originated at Sperry in 1980, it continued when the Burroughs' buyout formed UNISYS in 1986. A 1995 UNISYS corporate sale to Loral split off the defense part of our company that had been a part of the Twin Cities operations. Loral in turn sold those operations to Lockheed Martin in 1996. Because of our heritage, in 2000 local LMCO management asked to join with UNISYS in Roseville as a club sponsor; thus bringing us back together. The Constitution and Bylaws were updated that year to reflect this joint sponsorship.

In August 2016, UNISYS announced that they would be consolidating their operations at the Eagan facility. As part of this move, they will continue to support our newsletter distributions. Volunteers from the VIP Club will assist UNISYS with the relocation of the Shadow Box displays from Roseville to Eagan the summer of 2017.

In November 2010, LMCO announced that they would be closing their Eagan facility by 2013. We had already transitioned some our program meetings from the LMCO sponsored Eagan Community Center to the UNISYS, Eagan facility. Only the Air Traffic Management department of LMCO remained in Eagan [now part of Leidos Corp.] We have occasional evening program meetings there.

  Al Mueller was the first Club President, many of his engineering management years were in the Antenna Coupler Department. As time has past, the nominating committee has tried to keep a mixture of board members from both the defense and commercial divisions of the heritage and predecessor companies illustrated in our Legacy icon.

  Al Mueller was also the original newsletter editor.  Dick Mullins maintained the membership database from the Club's inception until Aug. 2007 when Lowell took over that responsibility.  In 2008, Quint Heckert volunteered to handle the database.  Jack Farber served as treasurer from 1997 to August 2006.  All of our presidents and their terms of service are listed in section 3 below.  We are indeed thankful for their leadership and willingness to keep our history and Legacy going.

  Over the years the Club has also promoted or endorsed monthly and annual 'gatherings' by retirees in our monthly newsletter - even though some of participants meeting for breakfasts, lunch, or dinner are not paid Club members.  In 2009 the Club took on responsibility for the 'Defense' Annual UNIVAC Old Timers Reunion and for the 'Commercial' Roseville Good Old Days annual events. These groups are detailed on the Social Groups page.


2. Club Milestones:

  • On April 19, 2016, the Club awarded the second Volunteer Extraordinaire certificate to Richard 'Dick' Lundgren recognizing his decade of newsletter Legacy articles and newsletter program articles plus his initiation of our interactions with the Charles Babbage Institute in 2006 and the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission in 2007.
  • On September 9, 2015, the Club celebrated  with an open house at the Lawshe Memorial Museum. That Event recognized the museum staff and volunteers' efforts in completion of a Minnesota Legacy grant to develop posters and exhibit support material. We've linked 16 posters from the topics listings in section 3 of our exhibits page.
  • On April 16, 2015, the Club awarded the first Volunteer Extraordinaire certificate to Keith Myhre recognizing his skill and initiatives in support of the Lawshe Memorial Museum. This recognition is named the Jansen Certificate, recognizing Bernie and Kathy Jansen's decades of support to the Club's volunteerism as well as their work for the Dakota County Historical Society.
  • On April 16, 2014, the Club granted a Member Emeritus award to Tom Turba in recognition of his creation of and continuing coordination of the Roseville Good Old Days annual event as well as his numerous years serving on the Board.
  • On August 13, 2013, the Club celebrated the opening of our Legacy exhibit at the Lawshe Memorial Museum in South St. Paul.  Lockheed Martin had gifted the Legacy Committee's collection of artifacts, photos, and some documents to the Dakota County Historical Society in December 2012 as LMCO was closing their main Eagan facility. Legacy Committee Co-chair John Westergren coordinated the transfer. 
  • On August 3, 2011, the Board ratified the Constitution change ballots, then approved Bylaw updates to move forward without the direct sponsorship of Lockheed Martin and with reduced support from UNISYS.
  • In October 2010, the Club celebrated 30 years with a history booklet distributed to members attending a special program at the UNISYS, Roseville facility. CBI's Dr. Tom Misa was the featured speaker. Thanks to Quint Heckert for developing the booklet, thanks to LMCO for the printing and binding. We also awarded a Member Emeritus certificate to Marion Scott in recognition of her 29 years coordinating Red Cross blood drives.
  • In January 2010, the Club signed a one year agreement with the University of Minnesota to display Legacy posters and artifacts in the Walter Library. Tom Turba and Lowell Benson set up the displays.
  • In December 2009, the board granted a Member Emeritus award to Warren and Dorothy Becker in recognition of their decade of coordinating the annual Christmas party as well as serving on the board of directors, continuing after Warren's board presidency.
  • In June 2009, the board granted a Member Emeritus award to Charles and Midge Homan for their long term service to the Board and Club, specifically picnic coordination during and after Chuck's board presidency.
  • In January 2009, Dick Lundgren and Lowell Benson with their grandsons attended the Minnesota Sesquicentennial final event, the sealing of a time capsule for the 2058 Minnesota Bicentennial. We put several items into this time capsule including a report about our Sesquicentennial activities. The first of those activities was a May display of our history on the Capitol Mall - illustrated by this snapshot from our booth.
  • In December 2008, the board granted Member Emeritus awards to Millie Gignac, John Dufour, and Bernie Jansen for their long term service to the board and Club.  Millie as the founder, John for shepherding the club through the merging of UNISYS and LMCO retirees, and Bernie for coordinating Volunteer recognition breakfasts for over a decade. Each has also actively supported the board after their office terms.
  • In April 2008, the board authorized the webmaster to archive a copy of the web site on a CBI internal host for future use by researchers. Board members at that time were Lowell Benson, Brian Berggren, Quint Heckert, Bernie Jansen, Lynn Farris Lindholm, Dale Phelps, Joe Schwarz, Marion Scott, and Tom Turba. This board also authorized storage of a paper newsletter set at CBI.
  • In November 2007, the Club in conjunction with the Legacy Committee formed a Sesquicentennial Team to promote our Legacy during Minnesota's 2008 150th celebrations.
  • In October 2007: In response to an application coordinated by Lowell, the IRS accepted the Board's resolution to change the VIP Club name from "Sperry Retirees Club" to "VIP CLUB". Also, the board authorized combining the Club and Legacy project's web sites onto a Microsoft hosted 'free' site, the URL, http://vipclubmn.org  was available.
  • In 2006, the VIP Club Board updated the operational Bylaws to reflect current modes of operation, i.e. activity coordinators versus committee chairpersons.
  • In 2005, the VIP Club celebrated its 25th year at the annual June picnic - The Legacy Committee was formed in October with Richard 'Ole' Olson and Lowell Benson as co-chairs. Dick Lundgren was the first VIP Club member volunteering to serve on the committee.
  • In 2002, Joe Schwarz started a web site on Yahoo for the Club.
  • In 2000, the Twin Cities Lockheed Martin MS2 organization petitioned the board to become a sponsor. The Constitution change incorporating this sponsorship was approved by a plurality of ballots returned by the members in June of 2000.
  • In 1984, we registered with the Internal Revenue Service as 'Sperry Retirees' Club', a 501c (7) - non-profit social and recreation club.
  • In 1980 the club was formed as described in section 4 below. 

3. Previous VIP Club Officers

Data in this table came from Dale Phelps, Curt Nelson, Bill Galle, and Joe Schwarz. There are a few early year blanks in this table, reader inputs are welcome.  

Year President Treasurer Secretary News Editor
2017 Keith Behnke Paul Hove Ben Manning Joe Schwarz
2016 Keith Behnke Harvey Taipale Frank King Joe Schwarz
2014-15 Lowell A. Benson Harvey Taipale Frank King Joe Schwarz
 2013 Bob 'RC' Hanson Harvey Taipale  Frank King Joe Schwarz
 2012 Tom Turba# Harvey Taipale  Lynn Farris Lindholm Joe Schwarz
2011  Lowell A. Benson Harvey Taipale  Lynn Farris Lindholm Joe Schwarz
2009-10 Tom Turba# Harvey Taipale Lynn Farris Lindholm Joe Schwarz
2007-08 Brian Berggren *Lowell Benson Lynn Farris Joe Schwarz
2006 Bernie Jansen# *Jack Farber Lynn Farris Lindholm Joe Schwarz
2004-05 Dale Phelps Jack Farber Jim Larson Joe Schwarz
2002-03 Hank Dotzler Jack Farber Jim Larson  Joe Schwarz
2000-01 John Dufour# Jack Farber Jim Larson Joe Schwarz
1998-99 Bernie Jansen# Jack Farber Jim Larson John Dufour#
1997 Barney Buss Bill Galle Warren Becker# John Dufour#
1996 Chuck Homan# Bill Galle Suzanne Scharf John Dufour#
1995 Chuck Homan# Dale Kenyon Suzanne Scharf Bill Galle
1994 Owen Scharf Dale Kenyon Suzanne Scharf **Bill Galle
1993 Owen Scharf Dale Kenyon Suzanne Scharf **Curt Nelson
1991-92 Warren Becker# Dale Kenyon Suzanne Scharf Curt Nelson
1990 Warren Becker# Ed Hawkins Marion Blixt Curt Nelson
1989 Millie Gignac# Ed Hawkins Marion Blixt Curt Nelson
1988 Millie Gignac# Ray Miller Stella Turner Curt Nelson
1987 John Bleckner Ray Nimmerfroh Joan Kauffmann Al Mueller
1986 Ed Kulczycki Don Anderson George Baumgartner Al Mueller
1985 Ed Kulczycki Millie Hawthorne Lorraine McDonnell Al Mueller
1984 Ray Miller Millie Hawthorne Joyce Miller Al Mueller
1983 Ray Nimmerfroh
1982 Vida Grace Hildyard
1981 Al Mueller
1980 Al Mueller

# Member Emeritus
*The treasurer transition from Jack to Lowell occurred in September ‘06.
**The editor transition from Curt to Bill occurred in mid 1993.

4. THE BIRTH OF THE VIP CLUB

By Millie Gignac
After working at Sperry Univac Headquarters in Blue Bell, Pa., for five years, I was transferred back to St. Paul Defense Systems where I conducted pre-retirement classes for Defense and Roseville employees. As I worked closely with employees getting ready to retire, I observed that many were reluctant to break the "Sperry-tie".
     So, in the fall of 1979, I started to plan a clubroom for our retirees. Our Plant Engineering Department was asked to draw up floor plans with cost estimates. I was allotted approximately 1465 square feet in our Sheppard Road plant. This plant was centrally located sort of "in the middle" of all our Twin City plant locations and was accessible by public transportation. Not only were top management supportive, but also our manufacturing management who gave up prime space in a manufacturing facility.
     Action on these plans started in early spring 1980. The section of the plant to be used had to be completely renovated removing old walls, paneling, ceiling and replacing those with new. In addition, new wiring and plumbing had to be installed, and a fully equipped kitchenette designed and installed. Carpeting was laid, and furniture was selected and ordered. We had decided that we needed, in addition to the kitchen, a lounge area with a television, comfortable chairs and sofas, plus an area with tables for card playing, games, and writing letters. Our basic purpose was to provide a permanent base from which the employee club could operate, but leave it to the group's own initiative to plan activities, take trips and engage in projects. We had further envisioned that the Company's support would be limited to aid in the initial forming of the organization, providing the space and facilities without charge, a very modest budgetary contribution annually and continuing guidance and support from the Personnel Office as required.
     While all this was going on, we had made no contact with the retirees. I simply assumed they would welcome the idea with open arms! In April 1980, I compiled a list of retirees--people who were enthusiastic about life and were receptive to new ideas, I selected a mixture of male, female, salaried and bargaining unit retirees, and invited them to lunch to discuss starting a Sperry Retiree Club. Needless to say, the group was ready to go! We continued to meet, and they compiled a letter which was sent to over 450 Twin City area retirees.
     By June 1st we had received responses from 150 retirees who expressed an interest in forming a club. We sent a follow-up letter advising them that due to summer vacations, the first meeting would be held in September.
     Meanwhile, the construction and furnishing of the club room was completed [at a cost of $35,000.] We planned a ribbon cutting ceremony for July 24, 1980 and I invited Bob McDonald, who had just retired as President & Chief Operating Officer of Sperry Corporation, to take part in the ceremony and cut the ribbon. He was delighted to be included. [He also came back some time later to speak at one of the Club's monthly meetings.] {Editor's note: This photo shows our first Club President, Al Mueller, with Mr. McDonald, and Millie.}
     The first general meeting was held on September 3rd with about 75 in attendance. Officers were elected; plans were made for future monthly meetings and a set of rules were drawn up. Club members were advised they would have to abide by Company regulations, but other than that they were on their own -- it was their club -- even as far as clean-up was concerned. Our maintenance people [in fact, all employees] were not allowed in the room. It was not intended to be an employee lounge area. A well-written constitution and by-laws were drawn up which protected the Club and the Company. The Club Room was open 24 hours a day.
     In 1982, we were successful in getting the Club, as a group, involved in community volunteer work. They took on many projects, which resulted in the retirees being a good-will extension of the Company and an asset to our community.