By Carla Short
John Martin came from a family of nine children in Webster Springs, WV. Neither parent had gone to college, but all the nine children received degrees. Today, John’s siblings are doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, and social workers. John’s interest was mathematics, and he decided to major in Industrial Engineering with an interest in computer modeling.
During the summers prior to his junior and senior years, John had an internship with Union Carbide. He was involved in corporate planning using linear programming and simulation modeling. John returned to Union Carbide when he graduated. He developed a massive linear programming model (over 1000 constraints) for the entire corporation. John stayed at Union Carbide for 5 years.
He was contacted by J.P. Stevens about a position in corporate modeling. Stevens had been using a consulting firm, but when John was hired, they asked him to take on the work that the consulting firm had done. When Stevens wanted John to move, he decided to change jobs to stay in the area.
John joined a consulting firm, Broadway and Seymour. John’s career focus shifted from manufacturing to banking. John was engaged in a lot of information technology work for banks. When John left Broadway and Seymour after 5 years, he was an Executive Vice President.
John was disappointed that the consulting work he did was mostly using packaged software. At the age of 38 years, he started his own consulting company. Summit Computer Services did customized software development. When they started, most of the development was on large main frame computers and over time this shifted as computers became smaller and more advanced.
When John started the business, he had two partners. When the market declined, his partners left the business. John was able to grow the business and had engagements with many major accounts. The banks had Summit on their preferred vendors list. Larger consulting firms were not able to get on the vendors list. As a result, John was approached to sell Summit so that the eventual buyer of Summit could do business with the banks. John sold the business. He was 47 years old.
After he sold Summit, John invested in real estate and served on a few corporate boards. As John reflects back on his career, he comments: “I was at the right place at the right time.”