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Manager of Market Analysis and field testing for all proposed IBM products, Director of Corporate Methods and Operations Research, he became head of head of the project within the Advanced Systems Development Division of IBM that developed the first airline reservation systems (SABRE) for American Airlines. Born in Meridian, Mississippi, he was a resourceful man. When work was scarce during the Great Depression, he wrote his local senator and landed a three-month appointment to the Agricultural Adjustment Administration in Washington, D.C. When his father passed away, he passed up college to provide for his family, and in 1942, he moved to Southern California to work for the California Shipbuilding Corporation, later entering the air freight industry. He officially joined the sales department of IBM in 1950 after nearly 11 years as an IBM customer; having been a user of IBM machines and technologies. His deep understanding of IBM products and client concerns, as well as his background in air shipping, served him well. In 1952-1953 he was Senior Salesman in the Santa Monica office and was then promoted to headquarters as one of the first Special Representatives in Electronic Data Processing Machines (EDPM) for the newly introduced IBM702. In 1953, he happened to sit next to American Airlines President, C. R. Smith, on a flight from L.A. to New York and the conversation they had would eventually result in IBM’s SABRE. Their conversation about the travel industry sparked the idea for a data processing system that could create and manage airline seat reservations and instantly make that data available electronically to any agent at any location. Six years later, their ideas became reality. American Airlines and IBM announced their plans to develop a Semi-Automated Business Research Environment, better known as SABRE. The revolutionary system was the first real-time business application, enabling American Airlines to replace the handwritten passenger reservations system of the 1950s with the automated reservations system for the future. He was forced to take early retirement because of a broken neck and major surgery.
Noted For:Head of the project within the Advanced Systems Development Division of IBM that developed the first airline reservation systems (SABRE) for American Airlines
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