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Timmerman set to lead Share mainframe group

Martin Timmerman is expected to take over next month for Robert Rosen as president of Share, the mainframe user group. In this Q&A, Timmerman talks about the various issues surrounding Share and what he plans to do about it.

Martin Timmerman, the expected incoming president of Share, has some big shoes to fill.

Timmerman will take over for Robert Rosen, who has been part of the mainframe users group for 36 years and its president for the last two. Since about 1980, the group has welcomed a new president every two years. Now it seems time for Timmerman, the current Share vice president and director, to take the helm.

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Timmerman, 50, is the director of computer systems services at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. He just received his 25-year watch from the school this year, he said. He took some time out to talk to about how he plans to lead Share, which has its summer conference Aug. 13-18 in Baltimore.

Why is it so difficult to get new, young talent into the mainframe business?

Timmerman: Universities and colleges taught more approaches and general methods and theories. Students coming out of universities and colleges had a Unix or Linux background. They didn't have a strong mainframe-based curriculum. People are driven first to what's easy, and it wasn't easy to obtain a mainframe education at the college and university level.

What are the mainframe's weaknesses, and what needs to be done to address that?

Timmerman: Mainframes are like any other enterprise computing environment. It's a complicated field with a lot of integration required. No data center is just one environment. No application stands on its own. Mainframes need to integrate with everything in the data center, and likewise, Unix and Linux need to integrate with the mainframes. It's the complexity in all the environments.

How can, and where will, Share expand its membership?

Timmerman: I think there is still plenty of growth potential within North America for Share. We're pretty good at adjusting our program as technologies change and new technologies come online. We need to get our message out that we're not just a mainframe organization.

How are you going to lead Share?

Timmerman: We've been undergoing a planning effort over the last year, year and a half, to make sure our program stays relevant to our business needs. I want to make sure we continue that effort. Also, we have a lunch at each conference for all our volunteers. I want to get their input into helping Share grow.

How are you going to fill Robert Rosen's shoes?

Timmerman: It's always a challenge filling the shoes of prior presidents. He certainly brings a lot of Share knowledge; I think he's been involved for more than 30 years. He's seen a lot of change and how we change. It is a business of change, learning how we change and making sure we change the right way is key.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Mark Fontecchio, News Writer

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