William E. Stetler - Columbus State Community College 50th Anniversary

Thomas R. Allis was just out of the Navy, a husband, a new father, and a pre-pharmacy student at Ohio State University.

"I needed career employment on a much faster track," Thomas said. "My dad told me about some building renovations at Central High School and new classes forming for several career technologies with a two-year track. I enrolled in the second Business Data Processing Technology program at CTI."

CTI was Columbus Technical Institute, the predecessor to Columbus State Community College.

"The classroom and hands-on training prepared me to enter a new and young technology and to advance with this rapidly expanding technology as it was applied to the processes in the business community."

After a year at Central High School, CTI was moved to old Aquinas High School on the current Columbus State campus. Thomas worked the night shift as a medical technician at Doctors North Hospital, but each morning he would arrive on campus at 7:30 a.m. He would sleep in his car for a bit and a couple of classmates would make sure he awoke for the start of classes at 8:30 a.m.

A few months before he graduated with a certificate in Business Data Processing Technology in June 1966, Thomas began working as a programmer and analyst with the Federal Glass Company. After a year on the job, he became the operations manager and remained at Federal Glass until 1979, when he left to become a shift supervisor and assistant operations manager at the Franklin County Data Center. Thomas' boss at the data center was John Wagner, who had been part of the first Business Data Processing Technology program at CTI.

During a 21-year career at the Franklin County Data Center, Thomas held a variety of posts, including senior analyst, enterprise management division manager, assistant MIS director and MIS director. He retired in 2000.

"I had no computer experience or knowledge of computers prior to attending CTI," Thomas said. "The classroom and hands-on training prepared me to enter a new and young technology and to advance with this rapidly expanding technology as it was applied to the processes in the business community."

Thomas finds it relatively easy to stay in touch with his alma mater. The daughter that helped prompt the move from Ohio State to CTI is now a professor at Columbus State. Tamara Montgomery is a professor in the Nursing department and his grandson, Caleb is currently a student at Columbus State.

Images: A Year in the Life of Columbus State