Later, Garry went to work as a systems engineer for IBM. When other, more experienced programmers would demur about taking on some complex project, Garry would ask for the job. Then hed analyze intricate problems, find innovative solutions, and write elegant code, with amazing speed and accuracy, in IBMs difficult CICS macro level Assembler language.
Garrys willingness to take on the high-visibility, difficult projects that his colleagues shunned would eventually be significantly indeed, spectacularlyrewarded.
IBM hired me because I could do things, Garry acknowledges. They stuck me on projects that other people couldnt do or didnt want to do. I wasnt afraid. Id try anything. It didnt matter how hard a problem it was, or how bigId work at it till I got it.
For instance, no other programmer at IBM wanted to take on the job of winning the Atlantic City casino business. Whoever automated the casinos would have to devise a hotel system, a casino system, and a cash register system that could handle room, credit card, comp (free), and city ledger (house charge) accounts. They wanted a system that completely integrated their hotel, casino, and food and beverage operations.
Now, IBM did not have a cash register that would work on a System/3, model 15D, computer. My partner, Jim Elias, and I decided on using IBM banking terminals and adding on cash drawers. (I had never before worked in the retail-food/beverage industry, let alone used bank terminals to handle the requirements of these industries.)
The code was written in Assembler language on punched cards. Each week for eight weeks, Jim and I would fly from Philadelphia to Boca Raton to compile or test our program through a big mainframe computer at a remote site in Palo Alto. No one in IBM banking had ever used the disk controller we were attempting to use.
We used equipment that had never been used before and adapted it into technologies that it had never been used for before. We had only six months to do it, and IBM didnt think we could. It was a risk; it put our reputation on the line and IBMs reputation on the line. But I knew we could do it. If you can program a computer to do what you want it to do, you can make it do anything.
We got the project completed in time for the opening of Resorts International Casino. The result was that IBM landed a huge amount of unanticipated business.
IBM was dramaticallyflamboyantlygrateful. How tough a job was it? Tough enough to justify Garrys nomination not merely for an Eagle award ($5,000 cash in a briefcase) but a double Eagle ($10,000).
And the presentation! They awarded it at an afternoon sales conference in Veterans Stadium, Garry says. Five other guys, from other places in the region, also got Eagles that daybut not double Eagles.
So there he was, lined up in the tunnel at Veterans Stadium with the other winners, wearing a Philadelphia Eagles jacket. When they flashed his photograph on the scoreboard and called out his name , he trotted out of the tunnel to the rah-rahs of the crowd , shook the hand of the president and vice-president of the division, accepted the suitcase with the money, then stood in line with the other winners the way the football players do, waiting for the next name to be called.
That must have been one challenging project.