IBM Career- Charles E. Branscomb
Joined IBM in August, 1950 after getting my BS & MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from N.C. State.
After 4 months in engineering training program, assigned to new accounting machine development – Transcriber. Later terminated because of complex mechanisms required and limited printer speed.
Assigned to Larry Wilson’s team focused on new technology and products to handle punched cards. Larry was a statistician who joined IBM from the census bureau to build a special card "sorter". He was very creative and has a great "feel" for good design – he always said that when you get the right design, it will be simple, easy to build, low cost and reliable. He became not only my boss but my mentor. Much new technology and many products came from his team.
Early 1957 assigned as manager of accounting machines. WWAM program underway in European Labs. After assessment of WWAM, turned attention to what became the 1401. Directed development of 1401 from the time there three people on program until it was in production.
November, 1960, named Administrative Assistant to General Products Division President, O. M. Scott.
August 1961, named Systems Manager of Control Systems in San Jose Lab. Put out IBM 1710 focused upon control of continuous processes such as Catalytic Cracking Units, Crude Distillation Towers, Blast Furnaces, Cement Kilns, etc.
February, 1963, assigned to Group Staff reporting to John Opel (who later became President of IBM). We served Group Executive Vin Learson who had several development divisions most of which were focused upon Sys. 360 developments.
September, 1964, named Director of Computer Assisted Instruction. Put out IBM 1500 (small computer with 10 student station capability) for use by researchers in CAI. IBM had about 150 people working on CAI and established research activity with about 8 major universities.
March, 1966, named President of Systems Development Division with eight US labs and six European labs. SDD was responsible for all Computer System Developments (hardware and software) in IBM. Two years after announcement, we continued to face profound challenges, especially in software, in completing the 360 job and initiating new developments.
September, 1969, named Asst. Group Executive, reporting to Spike Beitzel, who was responsible for several Product Development and Manufacturing Divisions.
1971, named member of Corporate Technical Committee. Great change of pace since we spent all our time looking into the future – technologies (hardware and software), systems, sub-systems, and applications.
1973, named IBM Director of Engineering, Programming, and Technology.
1974, named VP of Development and Manufacturing in General Systems Division (located in Atlanta, Ga). This integrated division re-established IBM’s leadership in small to medium systems – Sys. 32, Sys 34, Sys. 36, Sys. 38 (later with enhancements became A/S 400), Series 1, and importantly the IBM PC just before GSD was reorganized back into other divisions.
1981, named Asst. Group Executive (back in New York), reporting to John Akers who later became Chairman of IBM.
1983, named VP, Telecommunication Systems in Communications Product Division (Finally back home in North Carolina). Named Corporate VP of IBM.
June, 1986, retired from IBM after 36 years. Actually continued essentially full time consulting for three years after I retired – much of the time in the PC area.
I have 6 issued patents and 7 published inventions and received an outstanding invention award in 1962 for one of the patents.