Staten Island Web logo

In the early 70's a bunch of us were working at Cape Canaveral/Kennedy for an outfit called Scientific Data Systems based out of El Segundo in the South Bay area of LA. While the company had a solid reputation in their niche of the market, it was not considered a "blue chip" old line conservative company. Indeed, the president and founder had just divorced his wife of 30years and married an exotic dancer from one of the bars along the Aviation blvd. strip where we all used to gather for our extended lunch hours.

Shortly thereafter, our pres. sold us to Xerox Corporation. (Probably needed the money to support his new wife and his ex.)...This digression is bear with me. Xerox was feeling threatened by IBM's entry into the copying machine market and decided to retaliate by buying a computer company and "bearding the lion in its' den" so to speak. Wrong move!..We really didn't have any computers or systems that could compete with IBM in the business/commercial market...our niche was strictly in the scientific sector of the computer industry. Xerox also thought that they could sell our systems the way they sold copying machines...make a cold call on an office, leave a business card and wait for the orders to roll in.

Our field "office" in the town of Cape Canaveral was on that strip of A1A just outside the entrance to the space center. We just used it as a place to pick up our mail, phone headquarters and file expense reports, etc. We were a raggedy bunch, dressed usually in jeans, sweatshirts, sneakers and needing a shave most of the time...we worked all kinds of weird hours, sometimes round the clock for a few days..especially during launch days. Our office was in a strip mall with a pawnshop next door, then a bar and then some other place. That whole strip of A1A was just like Aviation blvd. back in LA...24hr bars (I think they had to close from 6am-8am), topless joints with great luncheon buffets and motels on every other corner. It was the "sin city" of the east coast.

Our office manager received a communique from Xerox headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut welcoming us into the Xerox fold and detailing what was expected of us to project the "Xerox image" to our customers. He called a meeting and 17 of us jammed into our 12X12 office and he told us that we needed to get squared away. We all looked at him incredulously and then at our watches....who had to catch a flight down range out of Patrick, who was supposed to be getting pad 17 ready for the next launch, who was supposed to be at 39b to....why was he wasting our time?

Finally, someone suggested that he reply back to Xerox headquarters and demand that we be situated in an office befitting our new corporate image and not some $100/mo. rathole on the strip. We all figured this would keep corporate off our least for a while.

The beancounters at Xerox replied back that we would have to stay in the same place for a while, but they would spring for a sign painter to paint the Xerox logo on our storefront sooner said, then done. About this time the pawn shop next door went broke and the new owner moved fact he bought the whole strip of stores in our little mall. We soon found out what he had in mind. Next door to us he opened a dirty book store and topless shoeshine joint and had it painted on the store front window..."Topless Shoeshine and Erotic Literature". He informed our office manager that as soon as our lease was up, he intended to make a massage parlor out of our office. Our manager got his camera, went outside and snapped a photo of the two adjacent storefronts...."Xerox Data Systems and Topless Shoeshine, etc." He then sent the photo to corporate headquarters.

One week later we were in a high rise office building in Cocoa Beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean!

Staten Island WebŪ Forums Index.