COMPUTER programmers love technology and will resort to hours of research in an effort to find the answer to your computer problems.
Mike Wilson is a problem solver with modern technology at his fingertips - A problem solver who has set his mind to a variety of exotic problem and puzzles. With his expertise and considerable programming skills, Mike has held gangs of wild football hooligans at bay and devised programs for conception and creation. Not bad for a lad from St Albans, you might muse! But there is much more.
Mike was actually born in Corydon, in 1954 but his family moved to St Albans when he was just five years old. He attended local schools before studying at Marshalswick Boys' where his best and most favored subjects were the sciences. Determined to pursue a creative career Mike progressed to college in Welwyn Garden City where he studied electrical engineering.
Electrics and radio have always been subjects of interest. Mike obtained his amateur radio licence when he was just 15 years old and having completed his HND course in electrical and mechanical engineering went on to work for GEC at Boreham Wood where he took a post in the computer development and testing department.
"It was interesting." Mike told me. "Much of the work was on controls for aircraft - Jaguar and Nimrod aircraft including flight simulator and guidance systems.
Out in the `field' Mike was installing computer systems for the GPO and also for post office services throughout Europe. Having traveled all over the continent Mike learned to resilient and resourceful. But after ten years `in transit’ in 1983, he and a couple of colleagues decided to go into business for themselves. At this time the computer and PC business was blooming and they opened a retail outlet in Luton, selling and installing computers.
“It was pretty busy.” Mike told me. “Business was good and we were developing programs to suit all kinds of businesses. We devised programs which suited their exact requirements.”
Then came a notorious day when Luton Town played host to Milwall and to say that there was `trouble at mill’ would be an understatement.
In the aftermath of the worst crowd trouble seen for many a year, there were cries for all kinds of controls. The FA were analyzing various methods of controlling who went into football grounds to watch the match and even the Prime Minister had plans to revolutionise the watching of football in this country with a series of tough measures including compulsory identity cards for anyone going to a match and a ban on all fans of away teams, even in local derbies. There were also proposals to ban alcohol at football matches. The whole of Britain was appalled by what happened and the public expected stringent action to stamp out the violence in football.
The FA crack down on soccer's hooligans, caused a stir. Some of the proposed measures were seen as an infringement of liberty and the recommendation that offenders should be banned for life was seen as being difficult to implement, but the FA hoped to get round that by making the carrying of identity cards compulsory for all supporters.
Several companies claimed to have proved to the FA that it was possible to start a card system for 500,000 members and to keep a tight curb on it. Luton Town were one of the first clubs to have such a system installed but the company responsible for the installation had tried in vain to make their system work.
A couple of days before the first match of the new season. Mike received a call. 'HELP' - Can you make the system work'? Whilst the club chairmen flew home for crisis meetings, Mike set about the computer program and much to the relief of everyone concerned. he was able program the computer correctly and make the system work.
The eyes of the world were on the system and a `celebrity hooligan appeared on the front page of a national newspaper showing the card which his aunt had bought to get him into the most peaceful UK football ground. However - in the manner of all sub-normal characters, the idiot held up his card for the front page photograph which allowed Mike to scan the bar code and program his exclusion. When the guileless galoot came to the turnstile the bells rang out loud and clear and the cops towed the troublemaker away.
Mike’s program worked perfectly. So much so that he came to live in Horsington, and went to work with the Lincoln based company, installing the card-swipe system at football clubs and sporting arenas throughout the UK. Norwich, Everton, Everton, Leeds, Dundee, Derby and Scunthorpe were amongst the clubs which adopted Mike's system. Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club, Cadburys and several top London hotels were keen to install the system which was seen to have other benefits in addition to exclusion of the unauthorised gatecrasher.
Tickets and takings could also be monitored and the system could also be monitored and the system could be used to detect fraud against the firm or club. World-wide implications and developments took Mike as far afield as Korea. By the end of 1993, Mike decided to go it alone, supplying individuals and business with computer equipment and programs, tailored to their needs.
He also saw the need for support services for those businesses which were not yet comfortable nor converted to computers or the World Wide Web. After a couple of years the fledgling CTS company had grown too big for the family home and moved into premises in Horncaatle’s, South Street. There is a shortage of people with IT skills in this area.” Mike told me. “People are still not aware of the potential of modern computers - and its not only in business terms where a computer can be helpful. For example. We have customers who are unable to type or communicate, because of a disability, but with the computer and voice recognition systems which are now available, they can dictate and send their letters, talk to their bank or order their provisions.
This is beneficial in many ways not only for people with a disability; Busy mums can employ the computer to good effect and keep up with the children at the same time. Once you get into it, the computer can be a labour saving device which gives you more free time."