In 1969 Ben Heineman, CEO of Northwest Industries, has launched a hostile takeover attempt on BF Goodrich which failed but left Goodrich in a vulnerable financial position. Corporate management was busy keeping the Company afloat and had no time or inclination to consider a new business venture, especially one that had an intangible product that was totally unfamiliar to them. At this point it is not clear whether we were turned down in Akron or if BFGCC management scrapped the idea without asking. Since BFGCC had extensive experience in licensing many of its proprietary chemical processes, we were told to take advantage of that expertise and license the product for marketing to another company using some sort of a royalty arrangement. After some research, Jim Gilliam recommended John Cullinane and his Cullinane Corporation. Big John named Tom Meurer project manager, who hired Ron McKinney and Bob Goldman from AT&T Long Lines, and Dave Thole, a freshly minted graduate from the University of Dayton. Don Kraska from BFG Corporate, with more IBM experience than any of us, was on loan to BFGCC to help with the creation of the IDMS installation tape and to help with the DMCL implementation. Shortly after that Cullinane made their first installation of IDMS at a site we already had lined up. The rest, as they say, is history.
Since then, in 1986 BFG began its transformation from a rubber and chemicals company to one primarily involved in aircraft support systems and maintenance. The Tire Division was combined with Uniroyal's as the Uniroyal-Goodrich Tire Company. Within a year or so BFG sold its interest in the company and was out of the business it was best known for. Next came BFGCC. The Company was busted into three divisions. One sold outright, one kept as the Specialty Chemicals Division, and one spun off as an independent entity called the Geon Company. Specialty Chemicals switched to an AS400 and left IDMS around 1995. Geon went to a SAP based client server system on Digital (excuse me, Compaq) Alpha processors and completed the move of all production from IDMS in February of 1997. The IBM mainframe was removed in April of 1998. And the original development team? Vaughn Austin left BFG in 1995 and is in Technical Systems Support at Alltel's Twinsburg, OH Data Center. Ken Cunningham left BFG in the 80's, worked at various companies in the Cleveland area and is now retired. Jim Gilliam, the "father of IDMS" still works at Geon, has been an Oracle DBA these last three years and was expected to retire at the end of 1998. Pete Karasz served out his time at Geon and took an early retirement offer, have been out since January of 1998. Ron Phillips remained with the Uniroyal-Goodrich Tire Company until Michelin bought it and moved everyone to Greer, SC. Ron passed away when he suffered a heart attack while clearing his drive after a freak snowstorm. Dick Schubert retired from Geon in 1995.
The story supplied by the original Developer Peter Karasz ends here. We continue the story: