I P M A  News

  Information Processing Management Associates September 1996  

Edited By Mary Ellen Bradley

[ Older Workers ] [ August Board Meeting ][ Forum 96 ]
[ Profile: An interview with Phil Coates ]


Older Workers

Did you know that one in every nine workers is 65 or older. By the year 2030 it will be one in five.

According to Anthony Kane, of Career Power International, Inc., "Companies that ignore stereotypes and look objectively at older workers will outdistance their competitors, because they discovered a vast pool of talent and experience often overlooked."

Here are some facts about older workers in America:

Productivity: According to a report published several years ago by the US Department of Health and Human Services productivity does not decline with age.

Job-Related Accidents: The same study showed that older persons have fewer on-the-job accidents.

Absenteeism: According to an American Council of Life Insurance report , older workers have attendance records equal to or better than most other age groups, averaging only 3.1 sick days per year.

Turnover: Older workers appear to be committed to their jobs more than younger workers according to an American Management Association study titled Management and the Older Work Force which reported employees between the ages of 50 and 60 havebeen employed with the same company an average of 15 years.

Intellectual Functioning: The same AMA report says intelligence remains constant until at least age 70.

The facts seem to indicate that "...today's older worker can and should be used in the work force," according to Kane. "The nation's employers must come to realize that ability, not age, should be the prime consideration when developing employment practices," Kane concludes.

Source: Internet article by Anthony Kane of Career Power International, Inc. titled Older Workers Widen Role in Work Force.


August Board Meeting

Members Present: Bob Monn, Shelagh Taylor, Phil Coates, Al Bloomberg, Phil Grigg, Mary Ellen Bradley, Darrel Riffe, and Bob Marlatt.

The Board Meeting was opened by Bob Marlatt at 7:35 a.m. August 8, 1996

Chair—Bob Marlatt shared there were some issues within the information technology community, including personnel issues, that the IPMA should consider becoming involved in over the next year.

Secretary—Shelagh Taylor asked for approval of the July Board Meeting minutes, and they were approved. She also reminded committee chairs to check the IPMA message center once a week to ensure timely response to messages.

Treasurer—Phil Coates presented the monthly budget status report which was reviewed and approved. An accountant has been retained to perform the annual review of the IPMA books.

Business & Finance—Al Bloomberg reviewed the final version of the business report.

It will be on the Internet this month and will be reviewed at the annual membership meeting in September.

Communications—Mary Ellen Bradley asked the Board to be on the look out for interesting articles to include in the newsletter. The Communications Committee will discuss progress of, and directions for, the IPMA Homepage at its next meeting.

Executive Seminar—Darrel Riffe and Phil Grigg have made the final arrangements for the speakers. Response to the seminar has been very positive, and registration is full.

Fall Forum—Dennis Laine reported Phil Grigg has confirmed all keynote speakers. The planning committee continues to meet bi-weekly.

Professional Development—Bob Monn distributed flyers advertising the September Project Management and the October Project Estimating classes. Al Bloomberg suggested a future class should be on Windows 95. Bob Monn will explore the idea in the next few weeks.

New Business—Darrel Riffe reviewed plans to purchase new IPMA banners to be displayed at IPMA events such as Forum ’96. Two banners will be purchased.

    --Shelagh Taylor


Forum 96

Forum '96 will be held October 22 and 23 at the Tyee Hotel in Tumwater . The theme will be: Retooling: Managing the Change.

The first day keynoter is Mr. Toby Yonis, an executive with Sybase. Mr. Yonis will demystify the rapidly changing information technology environment with his vendor neutral presentation. Mr. Yonis is a well known speaker, most recently seen in the Northwest at the GTC Forum this past Spring.

The second day keynote speaker, and the speaker for the Executive Breakfast which will be held on October 24, is internationally known consultant Mr. Bruce Rogow. Mr. Rogow, who has recently consulted in Brazil, Sweden and Canada, will address managing an information technology organization in the public sector when the expectations of the public sector are rapidly changing.

Plan to attend the seventeenth annual Forum. In addition to the keynote addresses there will be 18 other sessions addressing a wide range of topics important to information technology professionals.

All persons interested in technology, should plan to take advantage of this free opportunity to stay up to date in a fast changing world.

Dennis Laine


Profile: An interview with Phil Coates

Phil Coates is the current Information Systems Director for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, a position that he has held for 15 years. He also is serving as Treasurer of the IPMA Board of Directors. He is planning to retire in the next six months so this interview discusses his career and his future plans..

Phil grew up in Tacoma and graduated from Lincoln High School. After high school he joined the Navy for adventure. He served on the aircraft carrier Lexington for two years and stated that it “was truly an adventure”. He returned home, married his high school sweetheart and started college at the University of Puget Sound. They soon had a child and Phil took a job selling tires to finance his college education and his family. He graduated with a degree in Economics and Business Administration. Following graduation, he continued to work selling tires. During this period, the state actually recruited personnel. He met with Bill Wright from the Department of Personnel and was hired as a Computer System Analyst 1 (CSA 1). He was willing to take a cut in pay to earn $450 / month because he realized that selling was not the career he wanted.

Phil started work at the Department of Revenue beginning in 1968. He had no computer experience but at that time IBM taught free programming classes for the 360 mainframe. His first year at Revenue he spent 80% of his time in those IBM classes. When he went to Revenue, they were using Service Center 1 which had an IBM 1401 with 16 K of memory. He was put in charge of operations and maintenance of production systems which included key punch, computer operations and one programmer. He worked on the Excise Tax Information System with Darrel Riffe (the current IS director at Revenue) and wrote programs in COBOL.

In 1972, Phil became a CSA 3 and was the project lead on the Forest Tax System. Following this he worked on two income tax systems, both of which were not implemented. Washington State was voting for an income tax and if the law was passed it would be implemented in January following the November election. Revenue had to have the system ready if the law passed, but since it was defeated both times, the systems were thrown away. 6 to 8 people worked for 6 months on these systems.

In 1977, Revenue purchased the first distributed processing system (a Harris computer), Phil was the technical team lead on this acquisition. This was used to produce a name and address database and was one of the first on-line systems..

In 1978, Phil moved to Employment Security (ES) where he was the project manager for the unemployment insurance benefits systems. This benefits automated system is currently being replaced by GUIDE. 18 people worked on this project over four years. The major problem was that the Federal Government rules were always changing, which then caused changes in the system.

Phil stayed at ES until 1981 when he applied and won the job of Information Systems Manager at the Department of Fisheries. He made the move because he felt that as an IS director he could make a difference. At the time he took the job, Fisheries had 2 terminals, used punch cards and dialed into the service center. They also had a small PRIME machine used for remote job entry.

Phil feels that Fisheries and now Fish and Wildlife made slow, methodical and logical progress. He worked hard to create an environment for staff so that they could be creative and successful. The merger of the Department of Fisheries and the Department of Wildlife was a difficult time for staff, and Phil worked with others to ensure that a smooth transition occurred. Currently, the new Department of Fish and Wildlife has several Sun UNIX machines, is working toward a wide area network of all agency staff, is phasing out the old PRIME machines and is implementing client-server systems.

When asked about the biggist problems that he sees for the future, Phil answered that it is the migration to client-server technology. The new technology links different platforms, requires highly trained people and network administration. The a la carte aspect of client server components makes it more difficult to determine the true cost. Anorganization should not get into client server to save money on IT expenditures. Another related problem that Phil identified is state will lose good people to outside competition in the computer field. Trained client/server professionals have high value in private industry.

As he looks back on his career, Phil is most proud of having worked on the Forest Tax system development. This was a complicated system, that was fun to work on and it was successful. It took the first machine readable input from the tax payer directly. It was brand new technology and did not re-invent anything.

Phil has served the IPMA for 9 years and was chair of the FORUM committee for 3 years. He also volunteers time to the Tacoma Philharmonic as their computer consultant.

When Phil retires, he plans to take 6 months off. He will travel to Australia to visit his son and his granddaughter. Then, after evaluating his options, he plans to work part time. He will also pursue his hobbies of wood working, gardening and fishing.

Phil is married to Ann Marie and has a son, a daughter and two grandchildren. He doesn’t still live in Tacoma, he has moved all the way to Lakewood.

    -Mary Ellen Bradley


IPMA, P.O. Box 1943, Olympia, WA 98507-1943