Computers are part of our society and play a monumental role in how we do business today. In fact, there is an entire generation that has grown up in the digital world with access to computer technology and the information highway.
Back in the 60s, using technology to support data processing and estimates for business was a very new and foreign concept. In August 1968, the Loram Group of Companies brought in a Honeywell-120 to handle the increasing data processing load. Eight years and 19 upgrades later, a new Honeywell H55/10 with a front-end processor was installed.
“There was no textbook in this business,” recalled Ed Bryant, who directed the Data Processing Centre in the 60s. “The whole thing was so new there was no precedent or pattern to follow. Every application was a new subject and we had to experiment and feel our way into this thing.”
Learning, growing and adapting is what the Mannix family does. Rather than shy away from the new systems, they embraced them.
“Mannix was one of the leaders in Canada, especially in adopting the computer to pipeline estimating,” said Bob Marriott, a civil engineer and analyst programmer who joined Mannix in 1964, specializing in engineering applications. “The machines then were not what they are today and it was costly. We rented our Honeywell for about $10,000 a month. Today you could buy the equipment for a few thousand dollars.
“We went through our growing pains. Computers were being used in construction in the States, mostly for accounting functions, so we had to adapt them to pipeline estimating, and later on, to civil construction. The first time we used a computer for a bid was in spring 1965. We ran a combination of 27 different estimates. Since that time, the Pipeline Division used a computer for all their estimates. It was about two years later that the other divisions adapted computers to their operations.”