By Donna Parker
The year was 1978. A hard drive meant eight or nine hours behind the wheel; chips and cookies were treats; and windows were something to look through. Disco ruled the dance floor and Alien was killing them at the box office.
Long before PC’s fit neatly onto desktops around the world, mainframe computers swallowed an entire room and were fed with data punch cards. An eager student named Matthew Reedy ’79 utilized his Algebra II skills programming in Basic working 30 hours a week for a tech company, even while carrying a full class load.
“Programming to me was so much fun and receiving my first few paychecks – I couldn’t believe somebody was paying me for having fun,” says Matt.
All that fun helped launch three startup companies, including Armida Technologies, where Matt serves as Chief Technology Officer. Prior to co-helming Armida, Matt helped take IQ Software public in 1992, putting smiles on the faces of employees with stock options. The middle venture flopped causing this programmer to reset his goals.
“As business dropped off, I came to the realization that you can’t take success for granted. Now I focus on making it work every single day.”
It’s a mindset he shares with Trinity computer science majors as he guest lectures for Computer Science Chair John Howland. Matt laughingly terms it, “Scary!” that most of these students weren’t even born when he was in college working that big mainframe.
Matt has a great sense of humor, along with a strong sense of duty. He frequently provides free transport for the sick in his Beechcraft Bonanza, as part of a program called Angel Flight.
Speaking of angels, when Matt tells you how he met his wife, you can almost hear them singing. Matt’s daughters were friends with future wife Catherine’s daughters long before the parents met. It was the children who arranged the blind date that began the relationship. And it was several years into the marriage that Catherine finally revealed to Matt that their first date was on the anniversary of her mother’s death. It seems before Mom passed away, she promised Catherine that she would, “Ask God to send her daughter a husband.”
This marriage, along with the blended family of five children and one grandchild, is a virtual success.