Ray Remembers When

Brookhaven National Lab / Computer Systems Group

The attached is the photo you wanted. I want you to note one very important fact. Of the four people in the picture besides me, the only person older than me is Sy Rankowitz who is about six or seven years older. I was just past my 35th or 36th birthday. The thing to note is that even though most are younger, I am by far the best looking of the lot.

It is a photograph of five young men with a drink in their hands, obviously taken at some sort of cocktail party. They are five members of the Computer Systems Group who are having a drink at the party celebrating the opening of BNL's High Flux Beam Reactor.

Left to right, they are David Ophir, Dr. Bob Spinrad, Sy Rankowitz, Ray Borrill and Dave Hartman. Bob Spinrad was the director of the group, Sy Rankowitz was one of the two or three electronic engineer/logic designers of the group, Dave Hartman was a lead computer operator we stole from the math department’s big batch processing environment to be the operator on our big SDS 920 based real-time, time shared experimental facility that was the show piece of the HFBR. Ray Borrill you know. He was the group's jack of all trades and future cofounder of ADDS, Inc. David Ophir was the second in command of the group and another future founder of ADDS, Inc. He is an Israeli who became the VP of engineering at ADDS, was a good friend until the day about a year and a half after we started ADDS when we had to fire him. He didn't speak to me again until a year or more after I left ADDS. He just couldn't handle the responsibility of a VP. His attitude was that we had chosen him as VP of Engineering and he would do the job as he saw fit, without consultation of anyone else, especially marketing. After all, we had said that he knew more about our product than anyone else, so he would write the specs, decide how it would work and accept no suggestions from those salesmen who, since he said it was right, should be able to sell it, or they didn't know how to sell.

Well, two of our first products were not competitive, and smart people in marketing made very astute suggestions for a couple of simple changes that would make the products as strong as anyone's. David Ophir flew into a temper tantrum and refused to listen to them. We, the other four founders and a tie-breaker if needed, who was the fellow who put up our venture capital, had to vote whether to keep him or fire him. I was the one who had recruited him away from BNL and he was sure I would back him, but our decision was unanimous and he didn't forgive me for a long time. (The other founder from BNL was the President of ADDS, Dr. Bill Catacosinos, who was the Assistant Director of BNL, had a PhD in Business and who was the financial manager of the whole thing and its estimated $115,000,000 per year budget. I recruited him too.) But that is another story.

I just wanted you to get an idea of how important this picture is to me. I'll send you a copy when I get it cleaned up. It has some lines through it that need to be edited out. I didn't mention it above, but Bob Spinrad left BNL at the same time I did to become the VP of Programming of SDS nee XDS where he became a VP when Xerox acquired SDS and ultimately, director of XEROX PARC through the development of their most important products in the ‘70s and ‘80s.