EMIS Aggregations Wake @nwoca

As mentioned in my previous blog, the SSDT hosted a wake for the EMIS Aggregations.  The wake was in the form of free pizza (or subs for the East office) for NWOCA staff. I chose not to subject them to a speech... (A few of them probably don't know what EMIS or the Aggs were, but the pizza was still free):

EMIS Team (Current and Former)

A number of people involved with the EMIS project over the years are still with NWOCA. At the East (Archbold) Office:

Above (left to right):

  • Dave Smith - First Systems/Analyst and only remaining original team member
  • Ezequiel Juarez - Programmer/Analyst 2000-2007
  • Denny Reinhart - Programmer/Analyst 1991-2000, very nearly an original only "missed" the first year
  • Melissa Diemer - Second Systems/Analyst 1996-1999(-ish?)
  • John Overberg - Senior Programmer/Analyst 1995-2011 and therefore the programmer with the longest continuous span on the project.
  • Teresa Williams - Fourth (and final) Systems/Analyst and perpetual optimist (was certain the Aggs would be retired last year, and the year before that...)
  • Tammy Butler - Technical Writer  1998-2006 (and least happy that I remembered she belonged in this photo).

Note: The term "Systems/Analyst" in the SSDT is more important than it might sound. Other organization would call this position "Project Manager", "Technical Lead", etc.

Not pictured:

  • Don Morr (A comparative newcomer to EMIS)

At the West (Oregon) Office:


  • Julianne Lange - Technical Writer 1997-1998 (umm, she was 12 when she started with the SSDT)
  • Wendy Root - Senior Programmer/Analyst 2005-2011 (a virtual noob to EMIS, but I won't say how long she's been with the SSDT.)

Ceremonial Shredding of the Pseudo-Code

The surviving members of the East Office Team gathered to pay a final tribute to the Aggs.  We choose to feed the FY95 pseudo-code to the shredder.  Burning would have more appropriate, but city ordinance precludes open fires unless your cooking food (and none of the collected "problem solvers" thought to bring a hot dog...)

Final Reminiscing

The team takes a final look at the Agg Pseudo-code.  You might wonder why shred the Pseudo-code instead of the actual COBOL code.  For one, the code has never been printed in full and would take hours to print and shred.  But mostly,  the pseudo-code was the common shared source of pain, confusion and angst.   The source code was also often a source of grief but was more often an individual and private type of pain.

This reminiscing didn't last long as John, in particular, seemed anxious to get to the deed.

Dividing it up

We choose bits of the pseud-code for shredding.  I choose the "Enrolled Student Routine" which is one that suck in my memory as troublesome (every year and in particular for the "N" Period).  John might have grabbed the whole stack, but we ceded him the largest portion due to his length of time on the team.

The Final Act

We (or I) decided to go in order of when we most participated on the team.  Hover over the photos for caption.

Dave Smith; So long to the Enrolled Student Routine (but no longer has bad dreams about it).

Dave Smith; So long to the Enrolled Student Routine (but no longer has bad dreams about it).

Denny Reinhart; Feigning saddness (but not very well).

Denny Reinhart; Feigning sadest (but not very well).

Melissa Diemer; Thank God for Dean Reineke, I only had a few years of this....

Melissa Diemer; "Thank God for Dean Reineke, I only had a few years of this..."

John Overberg; Clearly (and not feigning) happiest of the group.

John Overberg; Clearly (and not feigning) happiest of the group.

Ezequiel Juarez; "Can we shred the UDMS manuals now?"

Ezequiel Juarez; "Can we shred the UDMS manuals now?"

Teresa Williams "See? I knew EMIS-R was going to work"

Teresa Williams "See? I told you EMIS-R was going to work"



While preparing this post, I looked through some of the old CMS histories (the SSDT has a history of virtually every code change made since the 1980's).  There were a lot of people involved in this project over the years.  Here's a some of the players in no particular (I'm sure it's not complete):

SSDT Members:

  • Duane Baker - Executive Director.  Visionary leader of NWOCA and the SSDT (but with a limited vocabulary, i.e. unable to complete a phrase including the word "No").
  • Dean Reineke - Programmer/Analyst (from the early days) and Third EMIS Systems/Analyst.
  • Darren Estelle - Programmer/Analyst
  • Greg Dietz - Programmer/Analyst
  • Tim Remster - Technical Writer
  • Greg Shepherd - Programmer/Analyst
  • Jim Frank (SSDT/TCCSA) - Programmer/Analyst - Ported the first few versions to HP3000/MPE, arguably the most disgusting task in the history of the SSDT... (If I remember correctly, he got the Aggs to work on MPE, which I considered impossible).

Netron Consultants

The EMIS system started with the help from consultants from Netron. A Candadian company which developed Netron/CAP tool the SSDT had been using for USPS, USAS, SECIMS at the time.  CAP allowed us to generate a fair amount of the boilerplate code needed by EMIS.  The consultants were instrumental in getting the system bootstrapped and laying down the basic design (and slogging through the first few years of code):

  • Abe Greenspan
  • Tom Klien
  • MaryAnne Ovenell
  • Ann(?) Cunningham
  • Tom(?) Lorentz