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Information Technology (IT) Pioneers

Retirees and former employees of Unisys, Lockheed Martin, and their heritage companies

US Facilities' Locations, Chapter 32

1. Introduction

Although the primary threads of this LEGACY are in St. Paul Minnesota, 'out-of-state' manufacturing facilities were developed to take advantage of better labor rates and lower workman's compensation rates. Those facilities reported to St. Paul until dissolved or transferred to other UNISYS divisions reporting to Blue Bell.

2. Manufacturing Facilities

In addition to the Twin Cities' plant 1, plant 2, plant 4, and plant 5; plants were developed elsewhere for special purposes, i.e. FL, IA, CO, and Canada.

2.1 Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City (SLC) manufactured magnetic tape units, peripheral equipment, and communications equipment. Some design was done here as well as the after delivery product support.  The also operated some of the time as Sperry Utah as described by Ed Bower, Articles/Sperry Utah.pdf.

2.1.1 PELSS by Lyle Franklin

Univac SLC had ties to Lockheed while the facility reported to St. Paul. One significant link was the sale of the data link communications system by SLC to Lockheed Missiles and Space (LMSC). The Program was PELSS.  I assisted SLC in preparing the proposal as well as the technical briefings. I received a Tiger Award for participating as the local marketing agent. Headquarters Marketeer was the same Sidney Park Rundell who later became the GM of DSD. Jim Harte headed up the SLC operation, Harry DuChene and John Gilder were the SLC engineers on the PELSS program.  Lyle Franklin

2.1.2 Microwave Command Guidance Systems by Jim Rapinac

The June 9 story by John Barry and Evan Thomas, Newsweek, June 9, 2008, brought back a lot of great memories.
Sperry Univac, Salt Lake City, Utah, supplied Microwave Command Guidance Systems, (MCGS), to the United States Air Force in the 1970's. MCGS controlled Teledyne Ryan BQM-34 drones on missions over North Vietnam. The system, code named Combat Dawn, was limited in range by line of sight radar tracking. Many drones were lost due to tracking problems but none were shot down by enemy fire.

As General Manager of Sperry Univac in Salt Lake City during the early 70's I had the honor and privilege of working with Norm Sakomoto and many other Teledyne Ryan managers including Hugh Starkey and Bob Schwanhauser. They were pioneers in the use of converting target drones for classified missions. The USAF drone program office in Dayton, Ohio, also had exceptional leaders including Colonels Rob Greenley, Earl Babcock and Ward Hemingway.
Sperry Univac developed the first digital wide band data link for USAF drones and also for the U-2 aircraft and other classified systems. The division, now a part of L-3 communications, is still a leading supplier of data links to the U.S. and other allied nations.

As a point of clarification, in 1972 Sperry and Teledyne Ryan supplied a version of the BQM-34 to Israel under a then classified program named 124I. This system was the genesis of future Israeli Defense Force Unmanned Systems.
During the 70's drones were renamed Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPV) in an attempt to maintain funding and DoD support. RPV funding was cut due to budget priorities and lack of support by USAF pilots who did not want to share air space with RPV's.

In the late 80's the name RPV was replaced by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and the CIA funded several projects including the General Atomics Gnat. With advances in technology, new Electro Optical Systems, advanced digital down links and command and control systems with satellites for long range remote control, the UAV has become a front line weapon that eliminates the risk of losing pilots.

I am pleased that your article recognized Norm Sakomoto who was a visionary Drone/RPV/UAV pioneer and also was instrumental in the development of the new Global Hawk UAV.
Sincerely; Jim Rapinac

2.1.3 Salt Lake City by Lyle Franklin

Sperry opened SLC to be a low cost hi-tech site for the Sergeant Missile production. After that we inherited Suco, Sperry Utah Company. As I remember St. Paul tried to make it a computer company by having it build the 18-bit line. I think I sent you the story of the tooling problem while they were trying to build the computers from the St. Paul tooling drawings. Dewayne Osman sent Rapp there to lead Marketing around 1970. St. Paul Navy Marketing won the Sensor Positioning and Ranging System (SPARS) in 1972. John Anderson was the marketing representative. I had made the decision not to bid the effort as we had very little data on the procurement. That night I received a call from a supplier who convinced me we could win with his involvement and support. Bill Geiger made the decision to transfer the proposal effort to SLC. Later received a call from Chuck Fiegelson, Chuck was Chief Engineer at SLC and was convinced we could win without that subcontractor. After a long discussion Chuck agreed to keep them. I may have threatened to reverse my bid decision as Chuck was funded by my B&P. The subcontractor was right and we did win.

Also by 1972 SLC had developed the vacuum column auto loading magnetic tape handler which we demonstrated and subsequently used in the RD-358. {Editor's note: S/n 1 & S/n 2 of the magnetic tape type 1840 were the first two tape transports with this auto loading mechanism. They were delivered to the German Navy in Hengelo, Holland in September 1970.} Later SLC developed their data link technology which led to their winning the data link on the PELSS program in 197x.

In 1976 while I was in the Palo Alto office, Ernie Hams GM set up the Seaberg, Maus, and Meyers organizations. Prior to that all field marketing reported to Clint Haggerty. As a result I then reported to Gerry White in SLC and SLC reported to Dale Maus. After spending three days in Salt Lake working on the PELSS proposal, I returned to Palo Alto. Gerry White called me to notify me that the office was being closed. Evidently SLC, Curt Rangen, had grabbed up field offices but no budget. In Palo Alto I had been covering west of the Mississippi and most everything in CA north of LA. My secretary was bored so I was encouraging her to go into Real Estate. I was hardly in my office so there was no need to overlook the fountain. Clint had offered me a job in Los Angles which I declined. I had been working a few Navy programs as well as the B-1 at Boeing and supporting International marketing initiatives.

I returned to St. Paul and met with Dick Seaberg, and Jerry Meyers. I informed Dick and Jerry of the programs I was working in their areas as well as if the office was closing they would lose the support. Neither was aware of the closing plan. I then met with Dale Maus and informed him of what I had done. I was well aware of the budget problems and would present to him my budget cuts later in the day. I did mention his organization may not have had the authority to close my office. I told him I'd be back around at 4:00 with my proposed budget cuts and he could tell me either go back to work in Palo Alto or look for a new position. I then met with Rapp and he offered me free rent in his Mountain View facility. At 4:00 I met with Dale and he told me the Palo Alto office had been the topic of the staff meeting. I told him of my budget cuts and he told me to go back to work.

Months later I was sitting in the Mountain View office and thinking of what I had done. I had told the VP of Air Force and Army Programs that he did not have the authority to close me down and then proved it to him. What could I do next to redeem myself? I then submitted my budget cuts to SLC and was the cost saver of the month. I may have been the only Marketer in history to win a cost saving award.

2.2 Clearwater, Florida - Shipboard Computer Manufacturing

Clearwater/Oldsmar by Lyle Franklin

At the Clearwater startup, Emmett Johnson was Manufacturing VP. I had described our all out pricing effort led by our controller John Vold for winning the standard Navy mini. We needed a low manpower cost facility to build the AN/UYK-20. Emmett selected the site. My involvement was limited. In 1973 Marketing held its annual meeting in Clearwater. Dick Seaberg was Marketing VP. As the meeting was close to the new factory, Dick arranged for a facility tour and insisted that I attend. At a certain time we met on the bus. It was unusually hot that day and the bus was not air conditioned. There may have been five of us in all. Dick made a mistake in asking me what I thought. My reply was the losers were all in the bar having an ice cold beer while I was on a hot bus. At the facility we were greeted by well tanned people. The exception was John Lenvig. John had been sent from St. Paul manufacturing to get Clearwater ready for the production shift. John looked pale. He did admit he may have been spending most of his time at the facility leaving little for sunning. John would be a good source for info as might Jerry Brings.

2.3 Pueblo, Colorado

Airborne Computer Manufacturing

[One of these years, I'll convince someone to write the Pueblo Story, LABenson]

2.4 Clear Lake, Iowa - [1976 to 1991] from Bill Rohde:

Looking at the larger picture, the Sperry [later Unisys] Clear Lake facility was initially formed as an alternate and parallel [to Roseville] final assembly and test facility for 1100, and later 2200, mainframes. It was started around 1976 or 1977 primarily as a means of addressing the increasing demand and assuring the supply of 1100 systems, particularly the tremendously successful 1106 line. I'd recommend you try to locate Dick Paulson, plant manager, for most of Clear Lake's existence;, Denny Neal, manufacturing manager; Harry Cornielsen; or Larry Davenport, financial administrator, for more information about Clear Lake Manufacturing, which at one time employed well over 500 people, maybe 1000 [I can't remember.] Bob Eichers, who later led manufacturing/supply chain operations for the corporation, would also be a good resource. He managed test operations in Clear Lake prior to taking over Unisys manufacturing and supply chain operations in Rancho Bernardo, California.

The manufacturing facility was closed and migrated to other facilities as evolving computer designs required far less manufacturing space or human labor to produce.

I managed the software team there during most of its existence, five years of which I personally spent in Clear Lake. The Clear Lake software organization was formed in 1979 as a remote facility under the Roseville Software Development umbrella. In 1991, part of that software center was spun off to a start-up organization comprised of three of the Unisys Clear Lake Software management team, led by Bob Krieger (now deceased). TeamQuest is currently led by Jerred Ruble, who was one of the three managers involved in the initial spin-off. Jerred currently serves as Teamquest president and CEO. Teamquest continues as a significant, successful, international, cross-platform tooling and services player in IT Service Optimization.

Other aspects of Clear Lake Software's activities were merged back into Roseville and other Unisys development centers when the Unisys software operation was closed there in 1991.


2.5 Jackson, Minnesota

 Printed Circuit Card Manufacturing as an extension of the plant 4 commercial operations.

3. Customer Site Locations

One important factor in the company growth was development of the Technical Services Division. Teams also worked at customer sites throughout the United States for software development, training, and field service. There was a MATCALS Support Facility on Mare Island from 1977 until the shipyard shut down in 1995. [lab]

3.1 Rockville, MD

In early 1990 IBM won a major contract from the FAA to develop the Advanced Automation System (AAS).  The FAA intent was to integrate the functionality of the en-route centers, major airport tower control, and small airport tower control. Up to this time, IBM had had the systems/hardware/software contracts for 21 en-route centers. Systems Development Corporation (SDC) had had 120 small airport tower control systems/hardware/software contracts - SDC had been bought out by Burroughs a couple of years before Burroughs bought Sperry to form UNISYS. Sperry UNIVAC had had the systems/hardware/software contracts for the 64 major airport tower control systems.
     In April of 1991 IBM's AAS team conducted a preliminary design review for the FAA. The FAA told IBM that they had the wrong answers for Tower operations, furthermore they had better bring in some systems engineers who knew what to do - such as those at UNISYS. With much chagrin, IBM contacted UNISYS VP Bill Marberg who told them that when a services contract letter arrived in St. Paul - he'd have systems engineers on site within the week.  Karen Maddock, a Program Manager from the former SDC, was assigned to IBM Rockville for negotiations.
     On Friday morning, July 12, 1991 Mr. Marberg received a facsimile letter contract from IBM. The next Monday morning, three days later at 8:00 a.m., Lee DuBois, Marlin Jerpseth, and Lowell Benson from St. Paul were on site ready to work. IBM wasn't ready for us - but Bill and UNISYS had kept there word! During the next year, the group grew to 70 on site systems engineers who worked on AAS specifications. These systems engineers came from St. Paul, a former SDC facility in Paoli, PA, and a former Sperry facility in Reston, VA.
     In the 1991 IBM and subcontractor photo at the right: Marlin Jerpseth is front row second from the left. Three rows behind him, second from the left is Karen Maddock. The third person to her left, the smiling big blonde Norwegian from St. Paul is Duane Amdahl - I believe that Phil Lau is two persons to Duane's left. About four rows behind Karen, third in from the left is Lee DuBois. Mike Kreischer from Reston is three rows from the back and three persons from the right. Others were Jim Jarosek, John Naleskawicz, Jerry Hanebuth, Jim Fowler, Richard Weingardner, Dennis Kisby, and Carlo Pagans - the photo was taken while I in Hawaii on vacation. [lab]

3.2 Valencia, CA

Just another thought on the subject website’s information. Sperry in Valencia CA also produced a Link-11 simulator for MELCO (Kamakura) in the 1983 – 1985 timeframe. I seem to remember this was in support of MELCO’s contract to do software for DD-58(?). I was the lead for this activity, also worked by Asao Doi (who was a former JMSDF officer who became a Sperry employee) and Bob D’Alo…and perhaps a couple more people I don’t remember at the moment. [Carroll Hershey - Nipomo, CA]

Major software support facility for S-3A. [Lyle Franklin]

3.3 Sunnyvale, CA

This photo from Don Neuman shows the Sunnyvale site where UNIVAC/UNISYS supported the A.F. tracking all of the things orbiting in space. Note that more about this facility is included with the 1230 MTC section of the 30-bit computer page.

This site closed in July 2010 as the AF transferred operations to Vandenberg Air Force Base! Janene Scully, VAFB Associate Editor wrote: "A formal ceremony to close Onizuka Air Force Station is set for Wednesday, two days before another one to mark the mission’s move to Vandenberg Air Force Base.

A significant portion of Onizuka’s operations is relocating to Vandenberg in a new facility that will be dedicated at 10 a.m. Friday, July 30 in front of Building 12006 at the base. Lt. Gen. Larry James, 14th Air Force commander, will preside over the Vandenberg ceremony.

The ceremony also will include naming the Ellison Onizuka Satellite Operations Facility, carrying on the recognition of the astronaut who died in the space shuttle Challenger explosion. Onizuka’s relatives will attend both ceremonies.

In July 1986, Sunnyvale Air Force Base — informally known as the “Blue Cube” was renamed after the Air Force colonel who was one of seven astronauts killed when Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff in January 1986.

The satellite operations facility’s closure comes as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission decision in 2005 to shutter 33 military installations and realign 29 others to save money. The BRAC report said this action would have a onetime cost of $123.7 million and save $25.9 million annually.

The closure’s impact to the Sunnyvale area is 168 civilian jobs and 10 military slots. Nearly two dozen civilians and two military members will transfer to Vandenberg, officials said. Lt. Col. Robert Pavelko, who is one of the military transfers, will serve as commander of the facility at Vandenberg.

The primary Onizuka mission being brought to VAFB is a communication node for the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN), a network of antenna around the world that allows satellite operators to communicate with their spacecraft.

AFSCN has two main nodes; the second node is at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. Some satellite contacts go through Schriever and others through Onizuka."

3.4 Patuxent River, MD

Bill Scharf submitted this sketch of the programming and support office.  The Avionics Systems page and They Flew chapter discuss some of the activities at Pax river. [lab]

3.5 San Diego, CA

In May 1959, UNIVAC San Diego was established. Five engineers from St Paul were assigned to the Naval Electronics Laboratory (NEL) at Point Loma to support the Service Test Program for Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS).

The first office space was leased in September 1961 at 3045 Rosecrans Street. There was a total of 7,500 square feet housing about 55 people.

By March 1962, the San Diego office had 195 employees primarily performing software development for Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS).

Naval Electronics Laboratory is a Navy facility that has evolved into SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific. [Stan Ulrich]

3.6 Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA

The support for launches at Vandenberg was on site as well a facility in Santa Maria, CA. The support originated in the mid sixties. Originally it was led by Charlie Gardner reporting to Arnie Hendricksen. Later it became a TSD site led by Valdis Vitols. In 1985 I replaced Bob Brown and reported to Gary Holthusen with residence in Santa Maria facility. I've left a message on Val's phone informing him of the Legacy. Hopefully you'll get some kind of response. [Lyle Franklin]

3.7 China Lake, CA

In 1986 I moved the marketing office to Ridgecrest in pursuit of the base support contract at the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake. We also had major support by Larry Hazel. While at China Lake led by TSD, DSD received a contract for an AN/UYK-7 complex for the Ship in the Desert program. [Lyle Franklin]

A classified project there had Soviet radars captured by the Israelies during the six day war.  Engineers and technician were able to make these operational then use them with US aircraft flying overhead to develop defense detection software for both shipboard and airborne systems. [lab]

3.8 Other Customer sites were:

  1. Burbank, CA and
  2. Johnsville, PA.

4. Technical Services Division

   In 1973, Sperry Univac Defense Systems Division VP & General Manager Dick Gehring formed Univac Technical Services (UTS), a field software and services division of DSD. UTS was established to be competitive with Computer Sciences Corporation, Logicon, and other software services companies who had a lower rate structure and were gaining market share at the expense of DSD. UTS labor, overhead and general & administrative rates were significantly lower that comparable DSD rates because DSD was primarily a hardware supplier with attendant fixed assets and R&D expenses.
UTS initially addressed the federal civilian agencies market and had field sites in Morris Plains, NJ, Roslyn, VA, Houston, TX, and San Diego, CA. UTS headquarters were in Eagan, MN. Dan Brophy was the first UTS General Manager and his staff included Ray Kot - Director of Operations, Dick Colby - Controller, Jerry Scovil - Manager, Human Resources, and Ernie Mutschler - Director of Marketing. In 1973 UTS had about 300 employees at the above field sites.
In September, 1974 Dan Brophy was transferred to Salt Lake City and Jim Rapinac, previously General Manager of Special Programs, Salt Lake City, replaced Brophy as General Manager of UTS reporting to Ernie Hams, DSD VP & General Manager, who had replaced Dick Gehring.
   In 1975 UTS was renamed TSD, Technical Services Division, by Rapinac with the approval of Ernie Hams. The new name more accurately described a profit center. Later in 1975 all DSD field software sites were transferred to TSD to provide a larger base and pricing leverage in highly competitive government software services markets.
Rapinac’s senior staff included Pat Casey - Director of Operations, Monte Widdoss - Director of Marketing, Dick Colby and Jerry Scovil. By 1976 Major field sites included Warminster PA, Newport RI, Roslyn VA, Orlando FL, Raleigh-Durham NC, Valencia CA, Santa Maria CA, San Diego CA, Patuxent River MD, and Houston TX. Regional Managers included Zeke Heller, Bill Sharp, Ray Davis, and Ernie Mutchler.
  In 1978 TSD had grown from 300 people to over 1100 people, maintained a competitive rate structure, generated positive cash flow and a high return on assets employed and was very profitable. The additional value of TSD to DSD and other Sperry Defense organizations was that TSD personnel lived with the customer and could provide excellent marketing intelligence for systems and hardware procurements to these divisions.
  In the summer of 1978, Dick Seaberg, who in 1976 had replaced Hams as DSD VP & General Manager, reorganized DSD and named Rapinac as DSD VP of Marketing. Pat Casey replaced Rapinac as TSD General Manager and continued the profitable growth of the division.
  In 1984 Sperry Corporation reorganized its Defense business and formed Sperry Defense Products Group which included Sperry Gyroscope, Great Neck, New York, Communications Systems Division, Salt Lake City, and DSD . Dick Seaberg was named President of Defense Product Group (DPG.)
  Joe Kroger, the President of Sperry Commercial Systems, recognizing the value of TSD in both government and commercial markets, assumed control of TSD. (Perhaps Larry Hazel can continue the saga of TSD from here - Rapp)

5. Marketing Offices

The marketing organization had small offices with full time representatives in cities where our major customers had home offices.  From Jim Rapinac with inserts from Lyle Franklin - Key regional marketing offices for Defense Systems Division were:

  • Washington, DC; 2121 Wisconsin and later in Crystal City VA. A large multi-person office covering all DOD military services, FAA and Civilian Agencies. Notable office heads included Bob Klein ( hired and then fired by Gerry Probst), Don Greenawalt, Curt Rangen and Ralph Hughes. Other notables included Bob Bodenheimer, Jim Chones, Don Fagan, Parker Folsom, Gwen Harrington, Will Reisinger, Don Sacarob, Mark Sigurski, Ray Smith, Bud Soucy, Swagger stick Harry Traylor, Taylor Zinn, and and many, many others!
  • Los Angeles - a 4-person office. Western Regional Managers were Roger Wise and later Norm Burnett. Bill MacGowan replaced Norm Burnett. Reporting to Bill were Joe McDonald, Curt Rangen, Roland Britten, and Norbert Kielbach.
  • San Diego - a 2-man office, Peter Kawar and others.
  • Palo Alto, CA - Lou Dentino initially. Lyle Franklin replaced Lou in 1975 then closed that office and moved to Rapp's Mountain View Facility. The TSD personnel there were involved in MATCALS. The effort was led by Bill Exely.
  • Dallas, Texas - a one man office
  • Dayton, OH - a one man office; Sid Rundell followed by Ray Costello, others
  • Waltham, MA - Lyle Gilbertson, Harry Traylor, Ed Blackburn, John Malone and Harvey Dennison - others
  • Cocoa Beach, FL - Jim Seaborn, then closed.
  • Huntsville, AL - for a short period of time.

[Regards; Rapp]

  • Iran before the revolution: Roland Brittin or "Britt" as he was known.
  • .
  • Germany: Lee Dominick, Gary Holthusen, Gary Humfelt
  • International Marketing Paris office: Robert "Bob" Fischer now deceased and later Ray Costello. After Bob Fisher's five years in Paris, he became part of Sid Green's Plans and Policies Group reporting to Gerry Probst who was VP of Engineering at that time.
  • Greece, Pierre Iskos

In this Chapter

  1.  Introduction [left]
  2.  Manufacturing facilities - Clearwater, FL; Salt Lake City, UT; Pueblo, CO; Clear Lake, IA; Others
  3. Customer Site Locations - Rockville, MD; Valencia, CA; Warminster, PA; San Diego, CA; etc.
  4. Technical Services Division (TSD) - Newport, RI; Manassas, VA; Moorestown, NJ; Kings Bay, GA; San Diego and Mare Island, CA and Norfolk/Virginia Beach, VA; and China Lake California.
  5.  Marketing Offices

Chapter 32 edited 2/23/2022.