First Hand Accounts

Bill Simmons started working for the Electrical Engineering Computer Network when it was first founded in 1977. During his 27 years at ECN, Mr. Simmons witnessed several changes, technical advances, and social developments that made Purdue and the Engineering Computer Network what it is today. Mr. Simmons retired from the position of Director of ECN in December of 2003, and left his memories as a record of how far we've come.

Bill Simmons with old CN

Bill Simmons with old CN in MSEE

Bill Simmons was central to ECN starting in 1977, when he was a member of a four-person team known as the EE Digital Services Group which was responsible for operating a network of two computers. Now that the ECN is a substantially larger network than that small beginning, Bill's experience and efforts continue to help shape the ECN of today.

Bill's professional experience with computers goes back to his position at the Purdue Research Park where he worked on the LARS project. He developed hardware and software systems for processing agricultural multispectral imagery collected from aircraft and satellites. His systems digitized, calibrated and formatted data for automated crop analysis to determine identification, acreage and conditions.

As Senior Consultant of ECN, Bill provided overall coordination of support services. He worked with Engineering faculty and administration to maintain an understanding of computing needs. Bill's primary goal was to align ECN support services with the needs of the Schools of Engineering and manage available resources in order to assist the staff in providing high quality and targeted services. His more difficult tasks included phasing out lower priority services as new services are required, finding qualified staff to fill the ECN's highly demanding positions and keeping up with the day-to-day needs of Engineering's faculty and students.

At home, Bill enjoys spending time with his wife and family, including his three children, two of which are Purdue graduates, and seven grandchildren. He also enjoys photography, landscaping and gardening.