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Fingerprint File

January 10, 2012

It’s a whorl, but waaaayyyy back, before I discovered a career in criminal justice didn’t pay well, plus involved actual criminals, I was interested in it. Through a family friend, I was lucky enough to have an informational interview with an FBI agent while in college. The African-American G-Man was cool, and we had a nice, long chat. The thing I remember most about it was he recommended this classic and advised, “Navy, black or grey; pinstripes or solid,” for an interview suit. I don’t know. I thought I was a pretty snappy dresser back then, but I guess the FBI didn’t dig brown tweed suits…

Shortly after college, I joined Japanese tech giant, NEC. Back in the 80’s, they had a great printer and monitor business. I spent most of my time in Services, and the last half of 16 years in the Automated Fingerprint Information System (AFIS) division. I found it a little ironic that my career path looped me back around to law enforcement after fleeing it in school. We had a great group of loyal customers who established the “AFIS Internet Users Group” long before Al Gore invented the other internet, and to this day they still use a (now very cheesy) logo created by yours truly in… uhhhh 1993? Working with cops was pretty cool. Many of the customers I worked with started as street cops and worked their way up the ladder. One guy, who worked the streets of Chicago, eventually became Chairman of the User’s Group. At one of my first annual conferences, he addressed the well dressed audience of around 500 at the main reception. He spoke about how proud he was to work with NEC and how we helped all of them, “put assholes in jail.” The room erupted in applause. Maybe that’s too much minutiae for you, and politically correct it wasn’t, but it was fun.

Where’s this going? Well, I worked with NEC until 2000, when the AFIS division relocated to Sacramento. I wasn’t moving, so I started with Kronos April 24, 2000, and I’ve been here since. Our customer “promoters” of our workforce management solutions maybe aren’t as colorful as former beat cops, but they are extremely loyal, and many are now using fingerprint technology available in our InTouch timeclocks! No, it’s not the same search technology as used by law enforcement, but it does prevent “buddy-punching,” and helps ensure employees are paid accurately and fairly. That’s great and all, but it still doesn’t explain why my career arc resembles a monopoly card…

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