Category Archives: Interviews

Three Big Questions for Dave Andrews

Today, I am pleased to be able to post a mini-interview with Dave Andrews, IBM Development Director for CICS. There is a lot going on at the CICS ranch in Hursley these days, getting ready for Impact, which will be starting soon, and with a new release in beta and being made available this summer. I truly appreciate Dave taking some time out to answer a few questions. It is easy to tell that Dave is genuinely upbeat about his position and is excited about the direction that CICS is taking. So, here they are … Three Big Questions for Dave Andrews!

Question #1: For those that may not be familiar with you and your work, can you please fill us in on your current position, how long you’ve been there, and any background information you’d like to share?

My name is Dave Andrews and I have had the pleasure of being the IBM Development Director for the CICS family of products for the past two and a half years. I joined IBM about 20 years ago and started my career as a Hursley software developer working on CICS restructure in V3.1 – one of the finest CICS releases ever! After about 10 years in CICS, I moved to MQ where I took on my first IBM management role. So now I am back to the product where I started my career and I am enjoying every minute of it!

Question #2: It is very interesting that one can learn more about CICS these days via YouTube, Facebook, podcasts, “The Master Terminal” blog, and Twitter, as well as the more traditional information outlets. What kind of feedback have you received regarding these new forms of communication?

I’ve received more feedback from within IBM than directly from customers – some people are surprised with the innovative approach we are adopting with some of the new information channels. Most people think that they are fun and interesting ways to get our messages across. Overall we are trying to improve the image of CICS and of the mainframe and to show that it is modern and will move forward with the times. Now that we have announced CICS V4.1 I hope you will see that we have modern communication channels and a modern and exciting technologies (ATOM, REST, PHP, Event, SCA etc). Of course we need to balance things carefully – not everything modern is best – we need to continue to support traditional communications and traditional values inside CICS. I hope we have the right mix and that you too can have fun engaging with us!

And Question #3: What do you do for fun when you are not working on CICS?

I have a wonderful family who support me to the highest degree and they come first when I am not at work. However I do find time for a couple of hobbies in my spare time. I play field hockey for Romsey which takes up quite a lot of my Saturdays during the winter. I also build and make water rockets and compete in the UK national rocket championship. I also try and support the UK community: I am the chairman of one of the Exeter University External Advisory Groups, I sit on the Software Group committee for and I am the treasurer for my local Scout Group.

Three Big Questions for Bob Thomas

I am pleased to present the first in a series of mini-interviews, “Three Big Questions for …” That’s it – just three questions to inform you about one of the leaders in today’s mainframe world.

Today’s mini-interview is with Bob Thomas. Many in our field will recognize the name, but even more recognize his publications. I remember reading Mainframe Journal back in the day. Bob has always kept up with the times, morphing that publication to Enterprise Systems Journal to z/Journal today, and you can now find him on Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as on his own blog site.

Without further ado, here are … Three Big Questions for Bob Thomas!

Question #1: For those that may not be familiar with you and your work, can you please fill us in on your current position/responsibilities, how long you’ve doing that, and any background information you’d like to share?

I am currently publishing two magazines targeted to users of IBM mainframe computer systems: z/Journal and Mainframe Executive. In actuality, these two publications are direct descendents of my first venture into mainframe publishing in 1986 when I launched 4300 Quarterly, which became 4300 Journal when its frequency expanded (What was I thinking, GQ Quarterly is still a monthly!). I changed the name again from 4300 Journal to Mainframe Journal when we extended coverage from VSE/VM systems to include MVS. Then in September 1990, when IBM announced the System/390 (and temporarily killed the term “mainframe” in favor of “enterprise system”, I followed suit and again changed the magazine’s name to Enterprise Systems Journal with the October 1990 issue. Here we are in 2009: It’s 23 years later I’m still publishing to IBM mainframe users.

Please excuse the blatant plug here, but subscriptions to both z/Journal and Mainframe Executive are free worldwide. Feel free to read the latest issues at and

Question #2: I understand you are developing a new service to match mainframers looking for jobs with companies in need of mainframers. In these economic times, that sounds like a truly needed service. Can you tell us more about it?

As I say on my LinkedIn page, I am concerned that many experienced mainframe professionals have lost their jobs recently while many mainframe shops need good people. What is frustrating is that these two groups are not finding each other very well. And in my view there is just no good way right now for them to find each other. I don’t think today’s IT recruiters are real good at bringing these two parties together very effectively. I am seriously going to look into providing a good mainframe matchmaking service whereby we bring our mainframe expertise (as well as that of several mainframe gurus) to bear on this situation. At this particular point in time, I am saddened to see so many good mainframers without jobs. I welcome comments and suggestions on this matter to

And finally, Question #3: What is something about you that very few people know about?

Because I have been in the publishing business for over 25 years and graduated from the University of Missouri many people assume I was a Journalism major (MU has about the best J-School there is anywhere). Not true, I didn’t take a single journalism course – rather I went on a football scholarship.