About life in the last third / Friends remembered

Goodbye Roy Moffa

I was just looking for some old and important contacts and discovered that the man that gave me my first major chance in the computer industry had died recently (see).  I wanted  to remember him here and tell the story about how Roy opened the door to my future.

In 1979, my wife and I decided that we needed to leave Israel where we had been for the last five years.  While we had a pretty comfortable life materially,  there were a lot of emotional issues that I will not go into here.  At that time, I was running a division of a medical electronics company called MG Electronics, located in Rehovot and also was an officer of the parent company, Mennen Greatbach of Clarence New York.  My specialty was the use of computer in real time applications in cardiology (CCU monitoring, Catherization Lab).  I also had an appointment as adjunct associate professor at the School of Medicine, Tel  Aviv University.  I felt that I was overly specialized and wanted to either focus on medicine or on computers.  If I was going to focus on medicine, I was going to go back to Holland where I had been living and was the country of my wife and where my sons had been born.  But if I was going to work in the computer industry, I was going to go  back to the USA. By the way, at that time my children spoke only Dutch and Hebrew  and my wife had never lived in the USA.

Having a long standing relationship with Digital Equipment Company (the second largest computer company in the world at that time),  I used my contacts there to get interviews with several groups.  Some of the groups where in marketing but one group was part of central engineering.  This group  run by Dick Clayton (whom I knew) was responsible for a major part of the central engineering organization lead by Gordon Bell (now with Microsoft).  One of the key people within Clayton’s organization was Roy Moffa.  We hit it off pretty good.  I decided that it was Roy’s dept. where I wanted to work.  I knew to be successful at Digital I had to prove that I was a great engineer (of course I never studied engineering).  I spent a few days with Roy and his group. My wife had come with me for this week of interviews at Digital and she and I had dinner at Roy’s house and meet his wife.   And before I knew it, it was Friday late afternoon and Roy and I were going to meet at the bar of a restaurant in Maynard MA (where Digital had its headquarters). I fully expected to have Roy offer me a job.  But instead he told me, he could not offer me a job although he really wanted to and though I could make major contributions to his group.  But he wanted the other managers in his group to agree and one of them did not.  This man whose initial’s were JC  said he did not feel I would fit in to the group.  I told Roy that this was a  bad decision and that it was important for digital and important for me to join.  I asked him if I could speak with JC.  He said yes.  I called JC and asked him to meet me at the bar.  I then told him that I thought this was a mistake and asked him to reconsider his position.  He backed down and said he was ok with my joining.  About six months later, Roy moved to a new position starting up Digitals semi conductor business.   I got a new boss, Herb Shanzer.  Herb reorganized things and JC ended up working for me.  I fired him soon after.

While I did not work with Roy long, we stayed friends.  I will always be grateful for the opportunity he  gave me even if I had to take matters into my own hands a bit.

One thought on “Goodbye Roy Moffa

  1. Pingback: Factory of broken dreams: Will the Googleplex be next | Two Thirds Done

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