Sheldon portrait

Retiring Employee-Owner Reflects on a Half-Century of Technology

January 25, 2017

From running payroll on punched paper tape computers the size of an office desk, to administrating high-tech Windows servers, Sheldon Hasse reflects on a career with technology.

Operating an NCR 390 for the military

Sheldon served in the Air Force from 1963-1967 and worked on a military pay computer doing accounting payroll work. A technology enthusiast, he loved the work because it involved running the NCR 390 machine. The machine promised “high-speed electronic data processing” and used a strip of punched paper tape to input or output data.

old computers
Punch paper tape computers were used to perform complex calculations. Data was input and output using strips of paper with holes punched in it. Source: (left), (right).

“I was always into computers,” Sheldon said. “And anything I could do to tinker with them.”

From the military to the drafting table

Sheldon began working at Reike, Carroll and Mueller (RCM) in 1967 as a drafter, working on electrical, mechanical, structural and civil projects, or, as he recalls, “whatever they needed.”. RCM eventually merged with Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH) in 1999.

Former SEH CEO Sam Claassen, who has worked alongside Sheldon for the past 40 years, reflects on collaborating on wastewater treatment facility designs with Sheldon.

“If I were still doing that today, I would be considered more of a technician,” Sheldon clarifies.

Sheldon was an excellent designer. He understood how things work with each other and was great at figuring out how to put the pieces together so they worked as an overall process.
Sam Claassen, Former SEH CEO and President
engineers at work in 1960s
In the early 1960s, engineering designs were created in drafting rooms like these.

After beginning with T-squares, compasses, pencils and paper, Sheldon moved on to modern Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) software that’s common today. But then his career direction turned.

From the drafting table to modern technology

Sheldon’s career at SEH changed when an administrator came to him with a proposition.

“An opening came up and they asked me if I would join automation (that’s what IT was called back then),” Sheldon said. “So I took the job and the rest is history.”

In his new role, Sheldon was overseeing the technical needs of four SEH offices: Minnetonka, Mankato, and Hutchinson, Minnesota, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. As the Windows system administrator, he made sure everyone’s computer ran efficiently, installing software, hardware, fixing bugs and smoothing out server issues.

modern computer
This modern server bank shows how far technology has come since Sheldon started.

“I was the first one on call if something went wrong,” Sheldon said.

His favorite part? The human connection

The new position was a great fit, and Sheldon found himself doing more of something else he loved: working with the many employee-owners at SEH.

“There were just so many things about it that I really liked,” Sheldon said. “You get to meet a lot of people and make new friends along the way.”

He really has served our clients, our Company and all of us very well while building a better world for all of us. I learned a great deal from working with Sheldon.
Sam Claassen, Former SEH CEO and President
Sheldon portrait

About the Expert

Sheldon Hasse is technology enthusiast, draftsman and a friend who impacted many of us at SEH. He will be missed!

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