History of the Prescott Computer Society
by Andy Reti
Early Days (Late 1980’s 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.
The Move to Embry Riddle University (1993 to 1998)
In 1993 Richard Pearce became 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).
Back to Top
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
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.
Back to Top
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 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
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.
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 SIG’s 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.
Back to Top
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 bit of 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
March 2013: At the PCS 2013 Annual Meeting, we had Rich
Knapfel join the Board as a new Director. Rich took over the seat vacated by