NWRDC Icon Retires After 45 Years

Steve Menard and his wife, Ann.

Mainframe icon, Steve Menard, retired on February 28th after forty-five years of dedicated service to NWRDC and its customers. At the February 2018 Policy Board meeting, the raised floor room that houses the IBM Mainframe was named in honor of Steve’s distinguished career.

After unveiling the plaque designating the Steve Menard Computing Suite, Steve expressed his gratitude and stated: “my role here was always one of customer service.  That is something that I took 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 appreciated the opportunity to be of service to NWRDC and its customers.”

The data center was less than a year old when Steve arrived at the Williams Building on Florida State University’s campus in 1973.   At that time, NWRDC’s three customers were FSU, Florida A&M, and the University of West Florida. Keypunch machines were the tool of choice for all programs and job streams and the two printers cranked 24-7 producing vast amounts of green bar reports. The count of 3270 terminals in the entire network was less than 10. From those humble beginnings the data center continued to grow and expand services.  Over time, NWRDC acquired most of the State Universities, The Florida Department of Education, and many Florida 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 Easytrieve.   Since that first project, Steve learned and taught many software products including CICS, BMS, ODE, ASSIST, KOMMAND, COBOL, and IBMTOOLS.  Steve’s former coworkers tried to come up with a word that would best describe him, but the fact is he can’t be summed up in just one word.  They came up with two: dedication and keystone.   Customers and coworkers alike depended upon him for support and considered him essential to the mission of the data center. 

Similar sentiments were expressed by the data center’s Executive Director, Tim Brown:  "As one of the first employees of NWRDC, Steve set the bar and literally defined 'customer service' for us. Over his forty-five years here, he made sure everyone around him stayed focused on one thing: How can we help?  As I meet with our various customers around the state, I always have at least one person ask 'How's Steve? You know, he taught me...' <insert one of his many famous courses here>."

Steve, your presence here will certainly be missed on a daily basis.  You taught us well and will always be a part of the Northwest family.  Thank you.

NWRDC Policy Board members congratulate Steve at the dedication.                              Tim Brown thanks Steve for his service.