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Rodney Hornstein

Rodney Hornstein started work as a programmer at IBM during his vacations in 1958 and worked there, off and on, until 1962. He joined LEO computers programming the LEO ranges and later selling them and becoming director of marketing. He lived through the turmoil of first the merger of English Electric and LEO (EEL), shielded by his boss from the turbulence. He was also shielded when EEL merged with Marconi Computers. The big bang was the formation of ICL in 1968. He lived through the often brutal years of the Jeff Cross era from 1972 to 1977 but lost faith and his natural optimism when ICL began to implode into confusion in 1979.

Rodney then spent seven years outside the IT industry but did encounter Sir Arnold Weinstock head of GEC. He was headhunted to run an ICL spin off, DAP, which he had re-engineered from a £30,000 production cost to about $5,000 and sold it into the US and UK markets. He ran Alphameric, as CEO for 5 years, chairman for 4 years, building a profitable company from a near wreck. By 1999 he became an angel investor often acting as chairman of the board. His normal optimism about technology is being tested about the current developments in AI, but he heads an AI start up with a different approach.

Dennis Blackwell

Dennis Blackwell was a key figure in the British computer industry for over 50 years, in a career that spanned and contributed to some of the most important commercial initiatives of the period. He worked for the UK flagship manufacturer, ICL, and its forbears for 25 of those, starting with English Electric in 1959 and contributed to industry institutions including the British Computer Society (now known as BCS) and the Worshipful Company of information Technologists.

Campbell McGarvie

Campbell McGarvie left school in 1962 with few paper qualifications despite having shown early academic promise. Taking a tedious job as a bank clerk he spent the next four years attending night school and missing out on much of the decade’s excitement. But his efforts paid off when he was hired by Burroughs now Unisys, leading to a long and successful career in the IT industry. In addition to many senior positions, he has held a number of non-exec directorships and is a past Master of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.

John Wallace

John Wallace helped automate the first branch of what was to become NatWest and led IT functions in the bank at the cutting edge for over 30 years. John joined National Provincial in 1951 after leaving school at the first opportunity, with a clutch of “pretty miserable O levels” and learned the trade stoking the boiler and taking spare cash to the Post Office accompanied by a colleague and a truncheon. Ten years later he was one of four staff working with Ferranti on a Pegasus serving five branches in London, After taking charge of systems development in the merger with NatWest in 1968, John ran subsidiary organisations providing services including archiving and payroll back to banks and other businesses as well as developing new products and introducing new technologies. Amongst his many firsts he includes the implementation of the world’s largest DB2 system, which uniquely provided the bank with a totally integrated view of each customer’s relationship with NatWest. John gave up banking 28 years ago as head of Group IT. Since them he has held multiple positions, including Chairman of CIO Connect. One of his most challenging roles was Honorary Treasurer of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, which earned him a standing ovation at his last Court meeting.

Linda Macaulay

Linda Ann Macaulay is Professor Emerita of Information System Design, University of Manchester. Professor Macaulay’s research interests are concerned with how technical system design can be informed by the needs of users and groups of users and fall into the four main areas: Human Computer Interaction; Requirements Engineering; e-Commerce and e-Business; and Facilitated Collaboration.

In 1999 she was the first female Professor to be appointed to the Department of Computation at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. She is twice holder of the prestigious IBM Faculty Award. She is a Fellow of the British Computer Society. Her memoir ‘Hello Computer’ is a personal history of computers from 1967 to 2017.

Tim Johnson

Tim Johnson is perhaps best known to those in IT as the co-founder of Ovum, one of the foremost analysts of the industry, that subsumed another familiar name, Holway, and still produces reports, now as part of Datamonitor. 

Tim describes himself as a researcher, a role he has been carrying out since becoming a science correspondent in 1963, producing material on key technologies, markets and issues in various media, through the nationals press and his own brands like Ovum, Point Topic, and Look Multimedia.? His pioneering work includes some of the first publications on packet switching, expert systems, video cassettes and the use and applications for data communications across 17 European countries.?

Tim comes from a line of ancestors involved in technology and media and his father wrote a report recommending the installation of a computer in the design department of Roll Royce in 1953. 

Peta Walmisley

Peta (or Pepita to be formal) Walmisley is well known to many in IT through her association with important industry institutions, seemingly popping up wherever there is an organisational challenge to be sorted out.  Peta worked for the British Computer Society (now the BCS The Chartered Institute for IT) from 1968 to 2004 in various roles, most recently as External Relations Manager. From 1987 to 2001 She was also secretary of the The Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS, the representative body of national informatics associations throughout greater Europe). From 1987 to 1992 she helped found The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists as the clerk. With 50 years in pivotal roles around the industry she has some unique insights into its history.

Peta’s previous experience perhaps explains how she found this part in the IT industry; conjuring up an image of an accomplished and formidable multi-talented manager, with finely honed interpersonal skills and a diverse range of interests. She trained with Hardy Amies in Savile Row, and worked for an Australian Americas Cup Team in Newport, Rhode Island (and is a keen sailor).  As an Aspen ski lodge au pair she was known as the Red Bomber on the slopes and in a California bank put out fires (in the photocopier room).

John Poulter

John Poulter is a well known figure of the IT industry who has had an important influence through his participation in the industry bodies and his knowledge of the issues, people, organisations and technology. John’s career CV demonstrates a diversity of experience, from teacher to taxi driver, of which IT is just a part, perhaps giving him the perspective for his roles as observer and historian of the industry. John is a chartered engineer, a professional member of the British Computer Society, and a Chartered IT Professional. During his professional career he worked as system analyst and Management and Systems Consultant.

John is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists and was the archivist of the WCIT from 2009 to 2021. He received the Mercury Special Recognition Award from the WCIT in May 2022. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and contributed to the foundation of the Archives of IT. John shares some fascinating lessons from life and insights into the industry.