Two years ago, when Richard F. Brani was fir.:'; r . Pd
to review his field engineering progress at (ó.A, i: d
been recently promoted to computer instructor. Now,
he has a new and more crucial responsibility: Group
Manager of 20 field engineers who keep a SAGE
computer operating at its peak, bulwarking America's
air defenses. Here's his story.
GIVEN IMPORTANT ASSIGNMENT. "In my first four years with
IBM, my field engineering career has taken several giant steps
forward- despite my lack of a college degree," reports Dick
Brani. "When I joined the Company, my special training consisted
of graduation from a technical school, an F.C.C. license,
and some Army engineering training. Now, I have a responsible
management job in the SAGE Project, my knowledge of electronics
has grown tremendously, and my future looks as promising
as I could wish it.
"How did I make this progress? IBM believed that -after
comprehensive training- technicians like myself could handle
assignments generally performed by graduate engineers. And
IBM was proved right. Hundreds of technicians are now functioning
successfully as IBM field engineers."
20 WEEKS' COMPUTER TRAINING. Dick Brani joined IBM in the
fall of 1955. He was immediately enrolled in a 20 weeks' computer
units training program. "You learn how the different units of
large -scale computers like SAGE operate ... how the computer
itself can help diagnose and locate trouble ... and how to make
fast, precise repairs," he says. "Once assigned to a SAGE site,
field engineers may also attend classes -during regular working
hours, by the way -to keep up with advanced developments in
electronics. Our site, for example, recently had a course on the
new, increased -capacity SAGE 'memory'."
ADVANCES RAPIDLY IN FOUR YEARS. "I know of few other companies
that offer technicians better or more valuable training
than IBM," Dick Brani says. "It can prove an 'open sesame' to
engineering and management opportunities not usually available
to men without college degrees. It was for me."
After his training, Dick Brani's abilities won him a position as
instructor in IBM's education program. For two years, he taught
courses in computer units and -
systems. Then, a little over a year
ago, he was promoted to Group
Manager of 20 field engineers
assigned to install -and main -
tain-a SAGE computer at a
new site. "I'm responsible for the
successful operation of the computer.
I have to check out repairs
my men do, schedule maintenance
activities, and supervises
all new engineering changes."
WHAT IS SAGE? SAGE is a vital part of America's air defense
system. At the core of the SAGE system is a network of fast,
extremely reliable electronic computers. In each sector of our
nation, a SAGE computer is constantly in operation, 24 hours
a day, helping the Air Force prevent surprise aerial attacks.
Here's how SAGE works: The computer receives radar data
from many observation points. It checks this information against
known air traffic for the sector, and presents to the Air Force a
pictorial display of the air situation. And, if need be, the computer
can guide a BOMARC missile to a target for certain interception.
COUNSELING TO DEVELOP STRONG LEADERS. "My most challenging
duty as a SAGE Group Manager? Helping the men in my group
advance and develop," replies Dick Brani. "One way I do this is
by periodically rotating my men so that they become familiar
with all phases of large -scale computer operation. But the
most effective way is through counseling -just sitting down with
a man and discussing his progress, his prospects, his career goals.
IBM encourages frequent and intensive counseling. This is how
the Company finds and develops the strong leaders it needs to
stay at the head of its field."
SAGE PROGRAM STILL GROWING. "My future? I can advance to
still more important responsibilities in SAGE field engineering,"
says Dick Brani. "SAGE has grown tremendously since its
inception a few years ago, and it's still growing rapidly. Or, I
can move into major spots in education, personnel, management,
development engineering -or nearly any activity you can name.
My future at IBM is limited only by my ability as an individual."
If you have a minimum of 3 years' technical schooling after
high school -or equivalent experience -you may be eligible for
20 weeks' training as a computer units field engineer. While
training, you receive full pay plus living allowance.
IBM is the leader in a field that offers unlimited horizons.
And, as you may already know, at IBM you receive company -
paid benefits that set standards for industry today.
WRITE TODAY TO: Mr. N. H. Heyer, Dept. 650G
Military Products Division
Kingston, N. Y.
You'll receive a prompt reply. Personal interviews arranged in all
areas of the United States.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION
At the SAGE display console, Dick Brani reads
1957 magazine story about his IBM career.
Introducing a new field
engineer to SAGE operations.
Dick Brani (right discusses the new SAGE "memory" with a eld engineer.
for success in Electronics?
Not necessarily," says Dick Brani, 33- year -old Field
Engineering Instructor in Project Sage at IBM- Kingston,
New York. "Oh, sure -I'm aware of my limitations
to design electronic equipment even though I am qualified
to maintain it. That's the biggest advantage of a
formal degree. The point is ... there are many responsible
management positions opening all the time in IBM
for men like myself ... and comparable positions elsewhere
would probably require an engineering degree."
Some seven years ago, IBM took the initiative with
respect to technical training within its own organization.
It realized, even then, that a great number of intelligent
and otherwise capable men were falling by the
wayside merely because they lacked 4 years of college
engineering. Statistics indicated that because of financial
difficulty or improper high- school preparation, close
to 50 %. of the potential engineers in the country became
lost in the educational shuffle. While some people with
less foresight ignored the fact or bemoaned it, IBM did
something about it. Consequently, fellows like Dick
Brani can now enjoy more satisfying, more rewarding
work than ever before.
Great Interest in Mathematics. While Dick was attending
Boys' High in Brooklyn, his principal academic
interest was mathematics. And, like many other young
fellows of that era. Dick was realistic about his future.
He decided his best bet might be business accounting.
When Dick graduated in 1940, he accepted a position
with a New York banking firm. It was not until Dick
entered the Army in 1943 that he had the opportunity
to pursue a more advanced form of mathematics, an
A.S.T.P. training program at Lehigh University. This
all- too -brief experience convinced Dick that he should
make his career in a field that was in some way related
to electrical technology.
Postwar Education. Discharged with the rank of Staff
Sergeant, Dick returned to Allentown, Pa., to marry a
girl he had met while enrolled at Lehigh. During this
period, he successfully supported his family and himself
selling various lines of food. In the evening, however,
Dick continued his study of radio, TV, and electronics
at the Allentown Branch of the Temple Institute. In two
years' time, he graduated and secured an F.C.C. license.
His technical career was beginning to take shape.
IBM Looks Especially Good. Glancing through an issue
of Time Magazine one evening, Dick happened to
read an article about Thomas J. Watson, Jr., the president
of IBM. The.story'emphasized Mr. Watson's great
faith in the future of electronic computers ... the wonderful
promise it holds for the ambitious, intelligent
young man. Some time later, Dick spotted a classified
ad describing IBM's association with Project Sage. Phil-
adelphia was one of the work locations available after
training. That was all Dick Brani needed.
Asked to Become an Instructor. When Dick was
three -quarters of the way through his nine month computer
systems course, he was invited to remain at Kingston
as an instructor. it was like a bolt out of the blue,"
he recalls. "I knew I'd enjoy teaching, but I always
thought it was out of the question. I accepted all right,
and I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed helping these
fellows and watching them grow within the organization.
For instance, there's a fellow in my class right now
whose education is limited to correspondence school.
He's in the top third of his class, and has a real future
with IBM -all because he has the native talent and is
willing to work."
What Does Dick Brani Teach? "Actually, I teach
three separate courses for technicians in field engineering.
One is computer systems testing, which is for the
more advanced student. This training lasts for 33 weeks
-a long time, perhaps, but it's well worth it. Another
is a program of 24 weeks' duration that deals with computer
input- output units. Finally, I teach a course in
computer units displays. This also lasts for 24 weeks.
Each one of these courses is an education in itself." Experience
has shown that IBM's educational programing
is most successful. Men accepted receive their training
with no strings attached -no contracts. Upon graduation
the road to success is wide open in all divisions of
The World's Largest Electronic Computer. "This
computer is really fantastic. It contains approximately
1,000,000 parts, and it's housed in a building 4 stories
tall. Information is filtered in from Texas towers, picket
ships, reconnaissance planes -even ground observers.
Every object in the sky is analyzed. Then it checks each
object against available traffic data and identifies it as
either friendly or hostile. It can make suggestions, but it
can't send a Nike missile against a `baddie.' Only
authorized personnel can make that decision."
What About Dick's Future? "Well, right now, I'm doing
work that most technicians couldn't touch with a
ten -foot pole. I know of few companies where technicians
are actually doing engineering work. I guess it's a
matter of approach. Both kinds of companies will get
the job done, but IBM prefers to think in terms of the
man, encouraging him to grow into more responsibility.
You might say that IBM gets more out of the man, and
in the final analysis, it seems a lot more efficient from
the corporation's and employee's viewpoint. Personnel
policy at all levels- management, engineering, or tech -
nical-is the same. The future is wide open."
Just recently, Dick bought a home in Saugerties, near
Kingston, where his wife Betty and their three children,
David, 9, Sharon, 7, and Paul, 3, enjoy a pleasant, contented
life together. Occasionally, in the summertime,
Dick plays softball with his co- workers. But his family
is -and always will be -his predominant interest.
What About You? Opportunities in the Project Sage
program of long -range national importance are still
growing. If IBM considers your experience equivalent
to an E.E., M.E. or Physics degree, you'll receive 8
months' training, valued at many thousands of dollars
as a Computer Systems Engineer. If you have 2 years'
technical schooling or the equivalent experience, you'll
receive 6 months' training as a Computer Units Field
Engineer, with opportunity to assume full engineering
responsibility. Assignment in area of your choice. Every
channel of advancement in the entire company is open.
All the customary benefits and more. WRITE to: Nelson
O. Heyer, Dept XXX, IBM, Kingston, New York..
You'll receive a prompt reply.
At the Maintenance Console.
At home Dick plays with one of his three children.
Customer Engineers: opportunities are also
available, locally, for servicing IBM machines,
after training with pay. Consult your nearest
33- year -old Dick Brani feels that technicians can grow into
more responsible positions.
Brani trouble shooting Magnetic Drum Frame.
Brani studies computer pluggable unit.
Dick,explains computer logic to a Systems Class.
30 RADIO & TELEVISION NEWS 2-1957
Radio News - Sept. 1956
|Radio News -
Large -scale IBM -built computer plays important
part in nation's electronic air defense system.
THE first production model large -
scale computer for the nation's vast,
new electronic air warning network
has recently been shipped to McGuire
Air Force Base in New Jersey. This
extraordinary "electronic brain" will
become the first of the giant computers
to fit into the integrated complex
of radar, ships, jet aircraft. communications
networks, missiles, and people
that is rapidly taking shape as the supersensitive
continental air defense
This immense project is known as
the Semi- Automatic Ground Environment
(SAGE) system. It combines
the abilities of the world's fastest electronic
computer to receive information,
to memorize, to calculate. and to
record answers with the perspective
and display talents of radar to present
an instantaneous graphic picture of
the location, speed, and direction of
all planes within radar range. With a
knowledge of flight plans of friendly
planes available in the computer, hostile
planes can be identified immediately
and the most effective defense
action taken again based on computer
The SAGE system starts with a radar
ring -on land, on Navy picket
ships at sea, on offshore "Texas Towers,"
and on airborne early warning
planes ranging far out over the ocean.
These radars are linked by telephone
lines or ultra- high -frequency radio directly
to the high -speed computer. Information
about aircraft anywhere
within the radar area is relayed continuously
and automatically to the
computer. This IBM -built equipment,
called the AN /FSQ -7, digests all of
this information plus Ground Observer
reports, flight plans, and weather information
as fast as it is received and
translates it into an over -all picture
of the air situation. These TV -like
pictures show the air battle as it develops
and provide the basis for the
necessary human judgments. Intercepting
jets and guided missiles may
he controlled directly by the computer.
display console presents a picture of
the air defense situation to operating personnel.
With the aid of the buttons and
switches located on the side of the console,
Air Force personnel will make tactical
decisions which, in turn, will be carried
out automatically by the computer.
From this location, the operator can request
additional information from the computer,
can select certain features and
exclude all others, can expand his scope
picture to look at a smaller area, and can
monitor the action of enemy planes and our
own jet interceptors and guided missiles.
This console contains the controls for operating
the computer. It displays the operating
status of the equipment to personnel
who monitor the operation of the unit.
of the SAGE System
Main magnetic drums housing frame
of giant computer. Six magnetic drum
assemblies are shown. These have a
total capacity of millions of binary
digits (bits). All information processed
through the machine is stored on
the drums which act as a high -speed
buffer storage. The selection control
frame in the rear keeps track of and
controls the operation of all of the
inputs and outputs of the giant unit.
Close -up of one of the magnetic core
memory array frames in computer.