Thirty-five years ago today — February 7, 1977 — ITC began business as a corporation. William J. Schmidt, Gerald H. Kaiz and I were the founders. However, this blog is not about the people who were associated with ITC, it is about some of the “outside” individuals who made this all possible.

Leading that list, of course, are the customers — more than 6000 organizations worldwide. And, it’s not just those numbers or dollars that contributed to ITC’s longevity — although those numbers, for many years, pleased investors and the market makers. No, it is the more important contributions that ITC services and courseware delivered to individuals in the workforce of those 6000.

In the earliest years, Duke Power made their Riverbend Steam Station available for our video crews. A retired Duke employee, G. B. Talley, and a small team helped us insure that what was shot would show real equipment in real settings along with the best in work and safety practice.

I remember a young South American woman writing in those early videotape years and thanking ITC for exposing her husband and his co-workers to hardhats and steel-toed shoes — safety precautions they had never seen before.

A former president of Ford Motor Company invited us to Detroit in order to re-do a massive UAW training project that had been botched by a consortium of a dozen Michigan universities. A project, incidentally, that was paper-based — but, turn to ITC he did because of the reputation of the many ITC employees who had given the Company a recognized customer-focus.

Mike Tubbs, Alabama Power, and Al Neimi, Weyerhaeuser, made it possible for us to host an annual conference for American process and manufacturing companies. A former president of Tidewater Community College pioneered selective computer skills proficiency as a requirement for graduation — the first such initiative in the country — and one that used ITC’s videodiscs as the standard.

And, one can never forget the courageous actions of the DeKalb County School Board (Georgia’s largest school system) for having the faith and resources to invest in a new concept, Family Technology Resource Centers, in order to bring job opportunities to the unemployed while, at the same time, uniting children, parents and grandparents in a grand scheme to improve learning for all through interactive videodisc instruction. Shortly thereafter, Tommy Thompson, then-Governor of Wisconsin, repeated that successful model in Milwaukee.

Of course there are hundreds of other valid examples of customers, acting as partners, that made this birthday recognition possible. And, there were three “learning technology” cheerleaders who must be celebrated for “getting the word out” when few Americans were even aware of technology for education and training. Ray Fox, “Society for Applied Learning Technology” (SALT); Rockley Miller, “The Videodisc Monitor;” and Gloria Gery, author, consultant and pioneer in the knowledge-to-performance arena paved the roads for all of us.

Finally, on this thirty-fifth birthday, I remember the dozens of unique and exceptional employees who were actually the people who built this organization. Thanks to them all! And thanks, too, to our reseller-partners throughout the world!

More on Thursday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning
www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
e-Mail: bwalton@itclearning.com