History of the Prescott Computer Society
by Andy Reti

Early Days (Late 1980s to 1993)

Word has it the PCS started as a Commodore Club in the late 1980's with meetings at one of the member's home on Parr Street in Prescott Valley. A special interest group dedicated to the GEOS Operating System was quite active. GEOS is an operating system for the Commodore computer, based on the Apple Operating system. From 1990 to about 1992 the President was Karl Meiser and from 1992 to 1993 it was Frank Granger.

Update: Subsequent research has shown that PCS was originally formed in November of 1988.

The Move to Embry Riddle University (1993 to 1998)

In 1993 Richard Pearce became PCS President and the meetings were moved to a classroom (Building 60A) at Embry Riddle University. The PCS was dedicated to “Users of MS-DOS Computers” and roughly monthly meetings were held. About 20 to 40 people attended the meetings (almost no women).

A desktop computer and an overhead projector provided by Embry Riddle were used during the meetings. Annual dues were $12.00 and membership had increased to about 50 to 70 members with about 30 to 40 active members attending monthly meetings.

By about 1997 there were five special interest groups operating in the PCS. These included an Internet SIG (run by Mary Swing), an Investment SIG (run by Dean Bailey), a GEOS SIG (run at a firm named I.T. Technologies), a Programming SIG (run by Derek Brownlee) and a WIN96 SIG (run by Gamy Gamesfelder). Derek Brownlee also operated a Shareware Service where members could obtain floppy disks with useful programs from the PCS program library. Computer swap meets were held annually where members would bring their surplus equipment and software for sale at a silent bidding auction.

There was a four member Board of Directors including a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. In April 1996 Jack McAllister succeeded Richard Pearce as President. Unfortunately Jack's health deteriorated and he was succeeded by Roy Leroux as President of PCS in December 1996. Andy Reti joined the PCS in April 1995 shortly after arriving in Prescott from California and was put in charge of maintaining the membership roster.

A monthly newsletter, named the Messenger was published regularly with meeting notices and useful technical hints. The PCS made annual contributions of $250.00 to Embry Riddle "in appreciation for letting us use the classroom for our meetings."

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Move to the Prescott Public Library
Andy Reti - President

In February 1998 Roy Leroux resigned from the presidency and Andy Reti was elected as the new President of PCS. One of the first things Andy advocated was moving the meetings of the PCS to the downtown Prescott Public Library. It was apparent that the Embry Riddle classroom could no longer accommodate the 40 to 60 members attending our meetings. Also it was felt that meetings at a more central location would attract more members.

An intense public relations program was started with the preparation of tri-fold brochure copies of which were distributed to local stores and other computer related organizations. Announcements and articles were placed in the Prescott Courier and in flyers distributed with the billings of the local Internet Service Providers (Northlink and BS Computers). A PCS web page was designed with the help of Susan Noyes and was placed on the Northlink web site.

In June 1998 a PCS Mission Statement and a set of By-Laws were drafted for approval by the membership and the Board of Directors was expanded to include nine members, four of which were officers. Regular bi-monthly Board meetings were scheduled with minutes of the meetings circulated to the membership. The PCS newsletter, the Messenger, was expanded and a new more detailed Membership Directory was started to include a detailed description of the computer equipment, software and computer skills of each member.

In June 1998 we raised the Society dues to $18.00 per year to increase reserves since we expected that with the move to the Library we would have purchase our own projection equipment. As a result of the increased dues, the growing membership and individual donations, we were able to accumulate about $2,000 and in early 1999 we purchased our own second hand nView Infinity Digital Projector from the Crystal River User Group in Florida for $1,500.

Starting in 1999 we began a well received practice of honoring our Board Members and individual members who had contributed to the success of the PCS at an Annual Board Dinner at a local restaurant. The dinner was intended to recognize the year long efforts and hard work of Board members and other members of PCS.

In cooperation with the Public Library we started a computer mentoring program, first under the direction of Bruce Stull and later Edi Taylor-Richards. The program is designed to support library patrons by training them to use the Library’s computer resources

Outside activities by the PCS included a series of beginner computer classes given at the Sacred Heart High School and at the Yavapai College by Rick Rohrbach and Andy Reti. These eight week classes raised additional funds for the PCS in anticipation of buying a notebook computer for the PCS.

Membership gradually increased and in 2000 reached about 140. In December 1999 membership dues were raised to $30.00 a year to cover the anticipated expenses for buying new equipment. In July 2000 we purchased an IBM A20 1UU laptop for about $1,900 for the PCS and in August 2002 we replaced our obsolete digital projector with a new Sanyo XU-07N digital projector for about $2,350.

All through the years, since about 1996 the PCS struggled with the issue of obtaining non-profit status from the state of Arizona. Filing as a corporate entity was attempted but the legal entanglements just proved too much for the Board, where turnover of members prevented continuity of effort in this area. Finally the effort was abandoned.

In about March 1998 we joined the Association of Personal Computer Users (APCUG) a nationwide organization of user groups. A few PCS members attended the annual meetings of the APCUG held in Las Vegas in conjunction with the annual Comdex meetings. In 2000 the APCUG awarded first prize to our web site as the most useful and best designed web site among all the sites of the APCUG membership.

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Mark Davis – President

In March 2001 Mark Davis was elected President of the PCS, taking over from Andy Reti who decided not to run for President after three years of service. Mark was President for two years and continued to develop continually improving programs for the Society. He revitalized the topics discussed in the Internet SIG by emphasizing wireless communications and accessing and searching the Internet.

During Mark's tenure several new SIGs were launched including the Hardware SIG (run by Dave Sundquist and Norm Foster), the Web Design SIG (run by Susan Noyes), the Quicken SIG (run by Andy Reti) the Digital Photo SIG (run first by Andy Reti and later by Phil Ball) Membership increased to about 135 and later stabilized at that number.

In July 2002 we decided to establish an annual PCS scholarship to be awarded to a student at Yavapai College, based on financial need, academic performance and an interest in computers. The first $300.00 stipend for the year 2003 was awarded to William Welker who also received a free one-year membership in PCS as part of the award. The second award was made in July 2004 to Diane Murphy. We plan to continue awarding annual scholarships to worthy students at Yavapai College.

Bob Simpson – President

In March 2003 Bob Simpson was elected President of the PCS. Bob brought many new fresh initiatives to the Society. He expanded the Special Interest Group programs to include more topics. He initiated an association with the Arizona Alliance of Computer Clubs (AZACC) which provides speakers to user groups in Arizona. He initiated a complete revision of the PCS web site to make the information more easily accessible and simplify searching.

In January 2005 we voted to replace our Sanyo digital projector with a new, more up-to-date projector and purchased a Toshiba TDP-T91U projector for about $1,800. In May 2005 the BOD also voted to purchase a new laptop for the PCS to replace our old laptop which was over three years old and was beginning to be too slow for the new software. We purchased an IBM model T42 model 2373HTU for about $2,300.

PCS History Updates

Since this history was originally written, PCS was forced to move from the Prescott Public Library for over one year while the Library underwent significant remodeling. We took up temporary quarters in the Prescott Adult Center, just a few blocks away, for the duration. Early in 2007 we returned to the Library which we now consider to be our permanent home. The new facilities are much improved over anything we have experienced before. The Library now features built-in audio and video equipment, comfortable chairs and a large room which our growing membership deeply appreciates.

March 2007: Bob Simpson stepped down from his apparent "permanent" position as President to spend more time on his growing computer consultation business. Dave Emery was chosen to replace Bob and is presently serving as our President.

March 2009: Dave Emery decided to take a breather as our President and swapped positions with his Vice-President, Ray Carlson.

March 2011: We welcomed two new members, Joan Baum and Joan Fullmore, to the Board. They filled positions vacated by Nikki Krause and Bob Matthies.

March 2012: We welcomed two new members, John Carter and Murray Smolens, to the Board. They filled positions vacated by Dave Emery and Andy Reti.

April 2012: We started holding joint meetings with the Prescott Mac Users Group with John Carter and Jim Hamm of the PMUG conducting some of the meetings. We found that the interests of the PCS and the PMUG overlap in many areas and both organizations can benefit from joint meetings.

March 2013: At the 2013 Annual Meeting, we had Rich Knapfel join the Board as a new Director. Rich took over the seat vacated by Herman Schloss.

March 2014: Ken Johnson was elected to fill the seat vacated by Rich Knapfel.

December 2015: Membership attained a record total of 158.

July 2016: The Prescott Public Library began charging for the use of the Founders Suite. Due to our active membership and excellent financial position, we have been able to maintain our annual dues at only $24 since 2010.

2020: The makeup of the Board of Directors remained largely unchanged until 2020 when Ken Johnson vacated his seat and Ray Carlson moved to California. JB Burke moved into Ray's position as President in the midst of the Covid pandemic. We then started having our meetings through the use of Zoom.

2021: The year following Covid has brought multiple changes to the PCS Board. Early in the year, Board members Joan Baum and Murray Smolens have resigned due to their moves to other cities. Bill Morgan has been appointed to fill an empty position on the Board.

2022: We lost Carver Smith this year and he will be sorely missed. Alan Buck and Bill Moss were appointed to fill two of the vacant Board positions that were available.

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