Forty Years and Counting

Steve Menard’s 40th Anniversary with NWRDC

The Northwest Regional Data Center (NWRDC) was less than a year old when Steve Menard arrived at the Williams Building, located on Florida State University’s campus in 1973. He came to NWRDC after 4 years at the Florida Department of Education’s Knott Data Center where he was instrumental in introducing online applications to DOE. At that time, NWRDC’s three customers were Florida State University, Florida A&M University and the University of West Florida. Keypunch machines were the tool of choice for all programs and job streams and our printers cranked 24x7 producing vast amounts of green bar reports. The count of 3270 terminals in the entire network was less than ten. From those humble beginnings the data center has continued to grow and expand services.  Over time, NWRDC acquired most of the State Universities, the Florida Department of Education, and many other Florida state agencies, counties and cities as customers.

The data center’s first order of business was to teach our customers’ programming staff how to code online programs.  Steve was tasked with teaching them a program called Easytrieve. Since that first project Steve has learned and taught many software products such as CICS, BMS, ODE, ASSIST, KOMMAND, COBOL, IBMTOOLS, etc. Steve is currently the team leader and technical specialist for the Mainframe application support area. Steve’s coworkers have tried to come up with a word that would best describe Steve Menard, but the fact is that he can’t be summed up in just one word. They came up with two: dedication and keystone. He is truly dedicated to the service and business of NWRDC. Webster’s Dictionary describes DEDICATION as “committed to a task or purpose”. He is also the keystone in the Applications Support area.  A keystone is something on which associated things depend for support and something that produces a major impact on its ecosystem and is considered essential to maintaining optimum ecosystem function or structure.

Steve says:  “My role has always been one of customer service.  That is something that I take very seriously. There is little in this world that gives me greater pleasure than helping someone figure out how to do something they did not previously know how to do. I appreciate the opportunity to be of service and anticipate many more years of rewarding myself by helping you, the customers of the Northwest Regional Data Center.”



Northwest Regional Data Center has its very own Kris Kringle.  He knows when you are good or bad!  But unlike Kris, Steve Menard will help you be good.  Steve Menard is a fantastic all-knowing oracle of knowledge and is willing to help anyone at any time.  He is a boon to NWRDC and does not get the credit he deserves. ”

Oliver Austin
Florida State University

Totally Kewl!

Anonymous  - NWRDC

Steve has always impressed me with his depth of knowledge on complicated subjects.  If he doesn’t know the subject, he will tell you so and not try to sell you that he does.  What he does know seems to be at least a mile deep.  I’ve often wondered how much he knows about CICS.  My experience has been that he knows it all…or at least I’m not smart enough to ask questions he can’t answer.

Another favorable attribute of Steve is his commitment to a task.  He seems to have a bulldog type of approach when researching info for me.  When I ask a question that is clearly way over my head…Steve is eager to dig in and find the answer.  I would be satisfied with an answer weighing about 2 pounds.  Steve’s answer is usually around a ton.  I pretend I understand what he said and move on with what I did understand.  It has worked out that way many times for me…I wish I knew what the rest of the answer meant.

I can say Steve has more patience with me than I have with my users…at times.  I can’t remember a time when speaking with Steve on the phone where I could detect he was irritated, in-a-hurry or not interested.  He may be the best salesman I’ve ever known.  He may have thrown the phone against the wall after we hung up…but I can’t say for sure.  I try not to bother him unless I have no hopes of solving a problem on my own.  I usually have a deep feeling of being rescued after talking with Steve about a problem.

Don Ellis
Santa Rosa District Schools

It has been my pleasure and Florida A&M’s pleasure to work with Steve for a great many of his 40 years at NWRDC. He personifies professionalism and always displays great willingness to help.   Accordingly, and in loving memory of his Brother,  Scott Menard, a loyal and dedicated employee of FAMU for many years, we offer our sincere congratulations as he is recognized for his outstanding service to NWRDC.

Michael A. James
Florida A & M University

Steve is a great technical attribute to Florida A&M University (FAMU) .  His ability to process, understand and disseminate information makes working on any assignment with him a “Piece of Cake”. Steve has customer service skill-sets that are “Second To None”. He is always  willing to help no matter what the task may be.

Jerome A. Fitz  and Matthew N. Gaines Jr.
Florida A & M University

I would just like to express my appreciation for all the hard work that Steve Menard has done for OSFA systems staff over the past several years.  As long as I’ve worked for OSFA Steve has always been happy to assist in any way.  He has been willing to share knowledge he acquired over his career and has even taught several training workshops for us.  He has made himself available to us 24/7 and even given us his personal cell number when we were working on a crucial project.  Even if we called him in the middle of the night, he was cheerful and always made us feel like our work was important and he was willing to do whatever he could to help us get the job done.  It is a pleasure to work with Steve and we know that he is someone we can count on for assistance!

Michael Wade
Florida Department of Education

Our colleague, Steve Menard has been the cornerstone of competence and willing effort that garnered the high degree of trust between our institutions.  His copious analysis of the impact of change and confidence in his ability to "make it right" were crucial reassurance in our joint responsibilities for managing mission critical systems and, in the case of FIU alone, more than 450 thousand student records.   We always had a tacit understanding that Steve would pursue the "right" solution to obscure problems, even in the face of objections. Beyond that he is a rare colleague with whom I share more than a work ethic, a natural curiosity and a dry sense of humor. He has been a confidant and a mentor, to me and to a generation of kindred techie spirits. Collaborating with Steve was always an interesting and enlightening event. I truly enjoyed the rapport with him even as disaster loomed before us, lest we might have to "Fall Back" or retract a "Go Live" date!  I've truly been honored to share a career with Steve over the past four decades.

Peter Taylor
Florida International University