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MSC Celebrates Twentieth Anniversary

Software Company's Resume Mirrors the Evolution of Computer Technology

April 1, 2006, marks the twentieth anniversary of Mountain States Consulting, LLC's (MSC's) founding. MSC's project record reflects modern computer technology's historical timeline and MSC, like the technology itself, has steadily gained in reputation and success.

20 years ago...

By 1986, Rick Collard, founder and chief software developer of MSC, had put in his time with leading corporations including Eastman Kodak, Hercules, and Eaton-Kenway. While those companies were producing fine products, Rick wanted more flexibility.

"Enormous projects obviously require many years' concentrated development," Rick explained. "It's necessary to become focused solely on the relevant technology. However satisfying that may be, you miss out on breaking developments in the rest of the field. I wanted to work on more varied projects in the newest technologies."

Ironically, rather than holding him back, Rick's expertise in mini-computers (the precursor to micro-computers, or PCs) was his springboard to independence.

"I had become proficient programming Hewlett-Packard's HP1000 systems. When I decided to start MSC, Hewlett-Packard's Salt Lake City office referred some excellent projects to me. They really kept me busy while I got the business up and running."

What happened to the mini-computers of the '70s?

"They were still around and functioning, although HP1000s were not even as numerous as Digital Equipment Corporation's (DEC) systems. HP1000s had their own niche at the time, and obviously many people were still relying on them and needed to have their systems maintained. But in general, mini-computers were on their way out, as micro-computers (PCs, essentially) were becoming more common and more powerful."

"Eventually micro-computers caught up in power to the mini-computer of the time. HP1000s had come out in the mid-70s, and PCs came out gangbusters in 1982."

MSC's first PC-based projects

MSC's first PC-based projects involved data transfer from HP1000s into PCs, because by the late '80s the PC already had more accessible data analysis tools in the form of spreadsheets.

MSC's first commercial PC product was "MSC-MENU", an application which made a DOS-based PC much easier for non-programmers to maneuver in. Fortunately for users, Windows soon became available for everyone and users could operate their computers without memorizing DOS commands or using a MENU-type product.

Microsoft Access

By then it was 1990, and Microsoft Access came on the scene. MSC started out on the ground floor: its first Access-based project was initiated in the early '90s, using Version 1.0 of Access.

"To get their foot in the door with PC programmers, Microsoft offered Access 1.0 for $99," Rick recalled. "That was a bargain, compared to other PC databases available at the time."

MSC's quick proficiency with Access lead to increasingly complex Access applications combined with increasingly simple user interfaces. The culmination of this effort is MSC-LIMS, MSC's Access-based laboratory information management system.

MSC-LIMS will continue to incorporate the latest improvements in software systems. Computer technology is still evolving and going strong, and so is MSC.

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