Andy Strange

I was an electronics technologist and morphed into a computer network specialist.

Many years ago I was dragged from the east and dropped into the windy city of Lethbridge. After high school my dad was transferred there and as I was not old enough to fend for myself, I was taken from the nation's capital and plunked on to the prairies. I was enrolled in Lethbridge Community College for a one year electronics technician program which was a direct transfer to Southern Alberta Institute of Technologies' Industrial Electronics Technology diploma program. Graduating in 1976 I accepted a full-time position with the Department of Transport at the Lethbridge airport. After only being there for a few months, I was transferred to the Medicine Hat Air-Radio station, and then took a transfer to the Calgary Airport terminal where I was in the special devices group. That's when computers became a part of my work environment. Our work group was responsible for the new terminals' computerized flight information display system, computer controlled public address system and the automated parking control system.

Shortly after getting married an opportunity to move back to Medicine Hat with Defense Research Establishment Suffield came about. It looked like a promotion was in sight so I took the job at DRES. The position there started out in the radio communications shop, and slowly added other types of communications. Within a couple of years we were installing small local area networks, and then connected those building networks to each other to form a campus area network. As the number of connected computers grew, so did the complexity of the network and the devices used to connect them. One could say that I grew up as the network and networking grew up.

Along with the responsibility of the networking hardware and infrastructure, I was also given the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of network security. The network I had built included a type of infrastructure known as Fiber Distributed Data Interchange (FDDI), and as a result I was invited to the Medicine Hat College to give a lecture on our installation and implementation. That set of lectures opened the door to other opportunities to lecture, and instruct at the college. For one year I taught courses in the information technology program while two of the instructors were either on sabbatical or on reduced work load. Then a few years later I taught with one of my former students. Teaching provided me with the ability to share my experiences in the computer industry, and when a part time instructor was needed I jumped at the chance to give it a go. I have been most fortunate to have had an employer who was willing to work out a schedule to allow me to be a part of the college.

I retired from the public service of Canada, spending only that one year instructing at the college. Once classes were done I thought maybe I could do some contract or part-time work. That was when I applied at Auto~Star and accepted a new position and a whole lot of new experiences to share with my students.

My starting point was electronics, my passion is computer networking, and each day is another chance to learn something new.