[Geek again – or just skip ahead to [End Geek]: But I mentioned earlier that the new job with the Davis Group was a total bust. I started looking for another job almost as soon as I arrived. Combing the want ads one Sunday afternoon I happened to see an ad that said, “Want a chance to automate Superfund? We’ve got the job for you.” This was more than three years after I had determined that was exactly what I wanted to do. And nothing in the intervening years had changed my mind. I wrote a letter telling them how much I wanted the job and I outlined my qualifications. That got me an interview that resulted in a job offer before the interview was even finished.
My job was to build a distributed networked version of a mainframe system, CERCLIS. CERCLIS tracked all of Superfund’s abandoned hazardous waste site. My system was to be one of the very earliest nationwide U.S. government systems built on a pre-internet network called a LAN. I called the system WasteLAN.
A search for WasteLAN today still pulls up a number of links to the application. Here’s one from an official EPA.gov site: “CERCLIS is a database used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to track activities conducted under its Superfund program. Specific information is tracked for each individual site. WasteLAN is the name of the regional version of this database.”
Within two years of being hired, we had WasteLAN running in all ten of EPA’s regional offices. Looks like it is still running today – though certainly a much modified version. By the time I left that work, I felt I had succeeded in my dream. Superfund was being managed from desktop PCs. The program was fully automated.