Paul Hardy's Life History
This document presents a brief life history of Paul Geoffrey Hardy. For more information see my web site at www.pghardy.net.
- I was born on the 20th August 1953 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England. My father was a swimming coach, and my mother a teacher. My father died when I was two, of polio caught from swimming in contaminated seawater. He was one of the last people in England to die of polio as the Salk vaccine was introduced shortly afterwards.
- My mother remarried when I was four, and my stepfather was also a teacher. We lived at Gleadless on the southern edge of Sheffield, Yorkshire.
- My parents moved from Sheffield to Kimbolton (was Huntingdonshire, but is now in Cambridgeshire) in 1963 (with a brief stay at Pertenhall in Bedfordshire while the bungalow in Kimbolton was being built).
- My early schooling was at Beighton in Derbyshire, then at Kimbolton primary in what was then Huntingdonshire.
- I passed the 11-plus and went to the local secondary school - Kimbolton School, which was a Direct Grant independent school.
- I took 10 'O' levels in 1969, gaining passes in 9 of them (Chemistry (1), Physics (2), Maths (2), French (2), Biology (2), Geography (2), English (6), History (6), Music (6)).
- I took 'A' levels in 1971 and passed all 3 (Physics, Maths, and Chemistry) with A grades. I also passed Use of English (AO) at this time.
- I passed the Cambridge University entrance examination in 1971, and entered Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in 1972 to study Natural Sciences. I took Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Cell Biology the first year, and then Advanced Chemistry and Biochemistry the second year. I was introduced to computers during this period, and made the choice to change to Computer Science as my third year subject, gaining an honours degree (2nd) in 1975.
- I was accepted as Member of the British Computer Society (MBCS) in 1987, and became Chartered Engineer (C Eng) in 1990, a Chartered IT Professional in 2004, and a Fellow of the British Cartographic Society in 2002.
- Apart from short term employment between school and university, and three summers spent teaching sailing while at university (I had a RYA Instructors certificate), the bulk of my working career was spent at Laser-Scan Ltd. At the time I joined it, Laser-Scan was a small company in the field of scientific instruments and computer graphics. As well as the original machines for capturing films of nuclear particle collisions (Sweepnik), its HRD-1 large screen display/plotters have been used for mapping and for security printing. About a third of the world's bank notes are designed on Laser-Scan hardware. Laser-Scan has since built up a world-wide reputation for excellence in digital cartography and geographic information handling.
- I joined Laser-Scan as a programmer in 1975, primarily to work on the company's new line-following map digitiser product (FASTRAK, later called LASERTRAK). I also worked on Laser-Scan's first map editor (SOLADI), and on the support utilities for what became one of the world's first digital map production suites (LAMPS).
- I was promoted to senior programmer in 1980. In the same year I was given responsibility for the installation of the company's VAX-11/780 computer, one of the first in the country, and remained system manager until 1984. I continued with programming tasks, including creating the VAX version of the map storage library IFFLIB.
- In April 1983 I was promoted to Chief Programmer, with special responsibilities for quality control and customer liaison. I gained considerable experience in team and project leadership, and ran various large projects, including:
- A hardware/software project to develop a high quality high speed laser film plotter (Laserplot).
- A second generation cartographic editor (LITES2). I also wrote the map representation system used for screen display and for plotting.
- A large tailored military map data system for Saudi Arabia.
- A third generation object-oriented map production product (The Aladdin project, resulting in LAMPS2).
- For most of this time I was the company's principal software architect, with responsibility for the development of the LAMPS suite of mapping software which is used by many prestige companies and national mapping agencies worldwide.
- In 1995 I moved within the company to become Product Manager, with responsibility for the future direction of the company's mapping and charting products (LAMPS, LAMPS2, and VTRAK). In 1997 I was promoted to Senior Product Manager.
- In 1998 I returned to the software development arena, with a new position as Software Production Manager. This role has responsibility for taking the raw software code produced by the programmers, and turning it into a range of commercially appropriate, robust, products, complete with suitable documentation, etc.
- In 1999 I moved back again to become Business Development Manager with responsibility for the Mapping and Charting market, and spent much time being an evangelist and presenter for the company's object-oriented mapping technology.
- In 2000 I changed job title to be Chief Product Manager, with responsibility to ensure a match between market requirements and product capabilities for the full range of the company's applications software products.
- In 2002 I changed role to be Principal Consultant, continuing with some product management responsibilities, but also providing external and internal consultancy on mapping, GIS and database solutions.
- In July 2003 Laser-Scan was put into administration as insolvent, and I together with nearly half the staff was told that our contracts had been terminated yesterday, and the company had no money to pay any redundancy or give any notice. Please clear your desk and be out of the building by lunchtime! As you can imagine, this was not a good end to 28 years of loyalty to the company.
- In August 2003 I joined ESRI UK, the British agent for Esri Inc, who are the world's largest supplier of GIS and digital mapping software, as a Strategic Consultant.
- From the end of December 2003 until the end of December 2006 I was in Redlands, California, working for Esri Inc., as Product Manager for Cartography.
- From March 2004 I also acted as Software Project Manager for a key software development project to engineer capabilities for 'cartographic representations' into the core of ArcGIS, for the ArcGIS 9.2 release.
- From January 2007, I returned to England, and was employed again by ESRI UK, 50% as a GIS Consultant to large customers, but 50% funded and tasked by ESRI Redlands to continue with my contribution to the core ESRI software development.
- From January 2008, I remained employed by ESRI UK, but funded 100% by Esri Inc to work for Esri Europe as Business Development Consultant, focussed on national mapping, cartographic and cadastral agencies across Europe.
- From June 2010, my employment transferred to Esri Global, continuing to work 100% for Esri Europe as before.
- From June 2016, I am retired, other than for occasional consultancy.
Family and Leisure
- I married in 1977. My wife, Margaret was a middle school teacher for many years. For six years she was the national coordinator for the Forest Education Iniative (FEI), which aims to teach children the benefits of trees and timber. She then was Professional Development Officer for the Independent Schools Association. While in the USA she had varius voluntary jobs as she was unable to get a US work permit. On return to the UK, she worked for a while as a Property Manager, then back in teaching full time at a Middle School in Bedfordshire, then supply teaching before finally retiring.
- We have no children of our own, but were foster parents for many years. Our foster son is now in his 40s and lives in Bedford with his partner.
- Margaret and I live in Comberton which is a village 6 miles to the west of Cambridge.
- My mother died in 2012 at age of 98, having been active (visiting us in California at 92) and living in her own home up to 95. My stepfather died in 1975.
- I have a full UK driving licence, and have held a US H1B Visa and Californian driving licence.
- My many and varied interests include:
- Computers - I have Windows and Linux PCs, plus several Raspberry Pis at home, and an internet web home page at http://www.pghardy.net/.
- Music (I play the English concertina and have dabbled with guitar and keyboards)
- Reading (particularly SF), Swimming, D.I.Y., walking, gardening, ...
- Travel. In the past few years, our holiday destinations have included India (twice), China, South Africa, USA, The Gambia, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Greece, Turkey, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Portugal, the Balearics, Madeira, the Canary Isles, Hawaii, Peru, Mexico, Iceland, Vietnam, and Uzbekistan!
- Languages. I speak French fairly fluently (because of long-running family friendship with a French family). I also understand and speak a little Spanish, Italian, and German (enough to get by on holiday). Since retiring I've been learning ancient Greek!
- Whatever catches my interest! I have always considered myself a generalist rather than a specialist, and continue to find new interests and challenges in life.
[Paul Hardy - paul at paulhardy dot net
Issue 4.1 of 29 July 2018]