Sunday, February 28, 1971
The van, loaded with equipment, leaves Endicott on an 1,800-mile journey. But the work at the Endicott and Poughkeepsie plants is by no means done. When equipment is diverted for another purpose, there is a lot of accounting involved. And normal production plans have to be altered in order to replace the equipment that was removed so other customers won't miss their shipments.
Says Skip Schroeder: "The truck drivers were instructed to call me in San Antonio periodically, to let us know their progress. They called from Alston, Ohio; Nashville, Tenn.; and then from Dallas. They seemed as anxious as we were for them to get here, and really caught the spirit of the thing."
The 2314 disk file arrives from an IBM storage warehouse in Houston, and San Antonio customer engineers go to work installing it.
Weber, Jackson and other branch people meet with the VW executives and receive grateful praise for IBM's quick actions.
Reporting on the progress of the new installation is Peter J. Weber (right), IBM's national account manager for Volkswagen. With him are Harald Nitzl (center), manager of information services, Volkswagen of America, Inc.; and Gayle Jackson, DPD branch manager in San Antonio.
Salesmen Weber and Robertson drive to the airport to pick up the disk packs from San Jose and load them into Robertson's car. The car is so full of equipment that Weber has to rent a car for himself to get back to the office. Both men then meet with local and national VW people to assist in planning the installation. They line up an IBM customer willing to donate enough time on his IBM computer to let VW test the tapes recovered from the vault. Later, VW purchases enough time on the machine to start its data processing anew.
Monday, March 1, 1971
The basement room in the IBM Building becomes the center of activity. San Antonio customer engineers work on equipment while electricians prepare a proper power supply for the Model 40. Howard L. Kochwelp, IBM Office Products Division branch manager in San Antonio, and his staff loan 29 typewriters for use at Volkswagen's temporary headquarters at a motel.
Meanwhile, IBM Information Records Division representative H. G. Richardson places a rush order for 200,000 punched cards.
The van arrives and two weary drivers unload the pieces of computer as several customer engineers wait impatiently to begin the installation. A team of 14 customer engineers work through the night to assemble, install and test the system.
As equipment begins to arrive in San Antonio from IBM facilities throughout the country, it is quickly put in place.
Tuesday, March 2, 1971
A new System/360 Model 40, in perfect condition, is turned over to the customer. Robertson, Teat and about 30 others relax for the first time in four days. "I guess this operation spanned several days," says Robertson, "but to us, well, we just lost track of time. It seemed like one very long day."
"It was eighty-eight hours of pure hustle," observes Charles E. McKittrick, Jr., DPD vice president and Western Region manager [and later an IBM corporate vice president]. "IBM was able to duplicate a million-dollar data processing installation for a customer in dire need. The customer had a critical problem and the company's divisions -- really its people -- came through hard and fast. They dropped their personal activities and gave this their all."
"The net effect of this fire to our dealers," says Harald Nitzl, a Volkswagen spokesman, "was that they might not have known about it [at all] if they hadn't read it in the newspapers."