By Alan Richmond
The museum contacted Alan regarding some information on Guernsey and in one email he sent us this information on himself which we thought should be an Employee Story.
Before Tektronix arrived in 1958 Guernsey's income came from Tourism and growing Tomatoes for export to the UK. Once Tek had grown a bit, it became "The three Ts." When it peaked, Tektronix had 726 employees here, second in size only to the local government, called "The States of Guernsey." The population was about 58,000 at that time, 62,000 now (2021).
Before Tektronix arrived in Guernsey, its first international site, it had a distributor in each of the main European countries supported mainly by Don Alvey, a Yorkshire man based in Beaverton. He appointed most of them, and steadily rose through the ranks at Tektronix. He retired to Guernsey, and passed away about a year ago.
The legal age when you could leave school used to be 14, and some youngsters would leave then with only a basic education, but enough for an unskilled job. By no means all of them did, though some left at 18 to go to a University and get a degree. I expect it is the same in all developed countries.
There are still three Public Schools (fee paying, and considered to be slightly better than States Schools) and virtually all of their students stay until they are 18, and most go on to Further Education of some sort. In my school days, two were for girls, and one for boys which I attended.
Not being an academic success I left at 17 at my father's insistence, and he found me a position as a trainee accountant, which I declined, so it was up to me after that. Following my interests, I joined the Army (there's a long story there) to be trained as a Radio Technician. Having enough math, I skipped part of the course, and in nine months was well trained. After three years, at the end of my contract, I left the Army, as there was a new company just starting in Guernsey making oscilloscopes.
Still on Terminal Leave from the army I was interviewed and given a technical test by one of the three Americans sent here to start the manufacturing operation, a young Earl Wantland.
I spent three years in the Test department, and then wanted a change, so Earl gave me the job of starting Component manufacturing. This got me a month long trip to Beaverton to learn about transformers, coils and capacitors. (It may be that, because I had been running night classes for two years, training employees to a level suitable for a job in Test that they thought I had a solid theoretical background. Thank you, Royal Corps of Signals.)
Three years later, itchy feet again, so I went back into Test, for a short while, then I was transferred to Tektronix Ltd, from Tektronix Guernsey. This was the Distributor support company and I worked in the instrument repair group repairing any Tektronix instrument that had ever been made – a wonderful job. One day the Sales Manager, Arthur Ball, asked me what I was working on, and I explained the front end of a sampling oscilloscope to him. I'm not sure he fully understood but he had been a Field Engineer. Anyway, as a result I was transferred to the Customer Training, giving a 1 to 3 week course on current Tektronix products, not just oscilloscopes.
I later became manager of that group, with three lecturers, but still doing the lecturing as well. Then Measurement Systems arrived, and as I knew sampling and the 230 very well, I became the European Systems specialist, supporting both Tektronix subsidiaries and Distributors.
Some years on Tektronix Ltd had a software development group and needed someone who knew a bit about the DEC PDP-11 which they used at that time and also in Measurement Systems, so I ran the Computer and Communications activity. I set up a proper computer room, and installed a DEC VAX, running 64 work stations, and we developed our own email system, using a lease-line to Beaverton.
When all that settled down, I moved back into Marketing supporting Distributors, who I knew well, as measurement products manager. I was still doing that when the decision was made to start shutting down Tektronix Ltd, and Tektronix Guernsey, so I left the company.
Well, there is the story of a young lad of 20, and how he progressed through the company for 26 years. Not atypical, as several of my peers had similar experiences. I worked for a couple of other companies since, and they were not nearly as good to work for, or as professional, as Tektronix.
I was at Tektronix UK a bit because I did so much travelling around the European operations. Alan Pywell, the European TV specialist was also there, and two secretaries but it was a Tektronix Ltd office in the Tektronix UK building, all very friendly, but each minding our own businesses.