In his nearly 35 years here at ACS, Jim Austin has worked on numerous projects with too many clients to count. Through it all, his sense of humor, patience and dedication to client satisfaction have remained intact.
Jose Garcia, VP of Technology at Health Communications, has worked with Jim for more than 20 years. “When I learned that Jim was finally going to hang up his ACS code skills, mouse and keyboard after almost 35 years, my first thought was ‘wait’---I thought he’d retired once before and ACS brought him back because they just couldn’t let him get away. Thank goodness he came back, because in the 20+ years I’ve known Jim, he’s gotten me out of more than one Advantage royalty problem. As a matter of fact, at HCI, Jim came to be known as ‘King James’ because of the many times he helped us resolve royalty issues.” Editor’s Note: That’s the story behind this original artwork Jose sent along with his comments.
“Despite me making him crazy,” Jose goes on to say, “he was always there to help us. All of us who have known Jim and spent time with him realize what an incredible person he is. Even though he will no longer roam the halls at ACS or be on the other end of a call, he will always be one of the pillars of the ACS organization and will be missed. Jim, I wish you all the best now and always.”
Says Lesley Jones of Duke University Press: “We’ve worked with Jim a number of times on various questions and issues related to royalty processing. This summer, we relied heavily on Jim to help guide us through some complicated data fixes, testing a large modification and getting through our annual royalty run. He was quick to respond---day or night---and his depth of knowledge was really reassuring during a stressful project. Jim has been a joy to work with -- he’s patient, has a great sense of humor and always gives thoughtful responses to our questions. We will absolutely miss working with him!” She goes on to report that when she let everyone who has worked with Jim at Duke know about his retirement, the universal response was “Oh no.”
Jim has been an integral part of the development of many key Advantage modules including Product Order, Inventory, Royalty, Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable. He is perhaps best known as the “go-to” guy for product order and inventory issues, questions and modifications.
Karl Davis, Manager of Engineering Consulting & Implementations, has this to say about Jim: “Jim has played a significant role on our development and technical support team over these 30+ years. He has been one of the main engineers behind the design and maintenance of several key modules in Advantage such as Product Order, Inventory, Royalty, and Accounts Receivable. Not only has he provided leadership and management over these important areas of the software, he also assisted and worked with dozens of our clients as they have implemented and made use of them. All of us in Engineering appreciate Jim’s commitment and hard work over the years and wish him the best as he transitions into the next phase of his life.”
Dick Hile, Vice President of Product Engineering, has been Jim’s supervisor for many years. Says Dick: “From a manager’s viewpoint, Jim is an ideal employee. He is deeply committed to completing each job to the client’s satisfaction and can always be counted on to get things done. At the same time, Jim is easy-going and accommodating and never lets the little things bother him.”
What will Jim miss about his time here at AdvantageCS? “Even when things with installations weren’t going well,” says Jim, “the clients have been a pleasure to deal with. I suppose what I’ll miss most is trying to solve problems and development roadblocks.”
Bill Pinard has worked with Jim for 30 years from the business analyst side. “When faced with a vexing issue, Jim was the engineer I hoped to be working with,” says Bill. “We worked especially well as a team, with Jim performing the heavy lifting, and me in a supporting role. Jim would always do what it took to get the issue resolved, with his wry sense of humor mixed in, and I will greatly miss working---and laughing---with him.”
Bill submitted an example of this wry sense of humor in the note that Jim sent to Bill at the time of Bill’s 30th anniversary:
Congrats on 30 years of being harnessed to the wagon. Always been a pure pleasure to be pulling with you on a project. You are one of the folks I can ALWAYS count on when the cheese is on fire.
Born in Hudson, Michigan, Jim has lived all over the Great Lakes state---Dexter, Ann Arbor, Stockbridge, Chelsea, and for the past 12 years, 240 miles to the north of Ann Arbor in Traverse City, which is where he and his wife, Laura, plan to stay, as Jim puts it “till they carry me out by the handles.” Their son, Patrick, lives in Ann Arbor with his three children and daughter Liana lives in upstate New York with grandchild number four.
Jim’s well-earned retirement becomes official on January 15th, 2016, when he plans to spend his time working on home projects and home repairs, gardening, and walks with the dog.
Jim, all of us at ACS want to thank you for your years of hard work and we wish you the very best in your retirement. You will be missed.