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September 2022

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

September brings the return of college football (and the NFL, if that interests you). For myself, it means only two months until college basketball. Apparently in the RTP area, people are returning to offices for most days, and from seeing all the construction of new office space in the area recently, that trend will continue. Maybe the “work from home” days will carry over for some portion of the work week. I know it works well for certain IT positions.

This month, we will again be holding our SPARTA meetings via Zoom format. With the removal of mask mandates in NC, we can consider going back to our in-person meetings if we can find an appropriate venue. Let us know if you have any suggestions for a meeting location.

For our September meeting, join us for a presentation from Ed Webb, who is retired from SAS but is still involved in SHARE as a volunteer. His presentation on the latest information from the August SHARE will be informative and valuable to us all. Invite your fellow systems programmers to join us for networking and information.

Please join your colleagues online at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 13, on Zoom. Watch for meeting connection information coming your way soon.

Randy Springs
Retired (Truist)

Future Speakers (subject to change)

September 13, 2022 [Special Date] - SHARE 2022 Columbus Report by Ed Webb of SPARTA

October 4, 2022 - xxxx by yyyy

We need ideas and volunteers for future speakers. Presentations don’t have to be fancy, just informative and interesting. Even a 5 or 10 minute talk can start an interesting interaction. Contact Ron Pimblett by phone as noted below.

2022-2023 SPARTA

Board of Directors

Randy Springs - President

Retired (Truist)                  (919) nnn-nnnn


Raleigh, NC 27604

Ron Pimblett - Vice President

MDI Data Systems

Land line 613 599 6970

Mobile 613 981 6919

190 Guelph Private

Kanata, ON K2T 0J7

Chris Blackshire - Secretary

Retired (Dell, Perot Systems, Nortel)  (919) nnn-nnnn


Durham, NC 27713

Randy Springs - (Acting) Treasurer

Retired (Truist)                  (919) nnn-nnnn

see Randy

Springs earlier

Ed Webb -  Communications Director

Retired (SAS Institute Inc.)  (919) nnn-nnnn


Apex, NC 27523

Mike Lockey -  Web Master

Guilford Co. Information Services  336-641-6235

201 N. Eugene St.

Greensboro, NC 27401


Coronavirus Change: All meetings for the foreseeable future will be held online at 7 p.m. via the Zoom App. The link to meeting is sent to SPARTA Mailing list within 24 hours of the meeting time for security reasons. Stay safe.

Meetings are scheduled for the first Tuesday evening of each month (except no meeting in January), with optional dinner at 6:15 p.m. and the meeting beginning at 7:00 p.m.

These monthly meetings usually are held at LabCorp’s Center for Molecular Biology and Pathology (CMBP) near the Research Triangle Park (see last page). Take I-40 to Miami Boulevard and go north. Turn right onto T.W. Alexander Drive. Go about a mile or so. Then turn right into LabCorp complex and turn Left to the CMBP Building (1912 T.W. Alexander Drive). In the lobby, sign in as a visitor to see Bill Johnson. Bill will escort you to the conference room.

Call for Articles

If you have any ideas for speakers, presentations, newsletter articles, or are interested in taking part in a presentation, PLEASE contact one of the Board of Directors with your suggestions.

Newsletter e-Mailings

The SPARTA policy is to e-mail a monthly notice to our SPARTA-RTP Group. The newsletter is posted to the website about five (5) days before each meeting so you can prepare. The SPARTA-RTP Group is maintained by Chris Blackshire; if you have corrections or problems receiving your meeting notice, contact Chris at

August 2022 “CBT Tape” Shareware Online

The directory and files from the latest CBT tape V504 (dated August 16, 2022) are available from

If you need help obtaining one or more files, contact Ed Webb (see Board of Director’s list for contact info).

Minutes of the August 2, 2022 Meeting

• The meeting was called to order at 7:04 PM by Randy Springs, the SPARTA President.

• This Twenty-seventh (April 2020 to August 2022) virtual SPARTA meeting was held via the Zoom Software.

• Fourteen (14) people were present at the virtual meeting.

• The Presentation was followed by the business portion of the meeting.

• For the Roundtable, everyone introduced themselves, told where they worked, talked about working from home, and briefly described their job functions and what they've been doing at work and home.


• The minutes of the July 12, 2022 meeting as published in the August 2022 Newsletter were approved.

• The July 31, 2022 Treasurer's report (no July income or expenses) as published in the August 2022 Newsletter was approved. As of July 31, 2022, the current balance was $1,489.66.

• Call For Articles: Articles are needed for this newsletter. If you would like to write an article for this newsletter, please contact Ed Webb. Keep in mind that you don't really need to write the article, it can be an article that you read that you would like to share with the membership.

• The SPARTA Web page is available at this site: Please send any comments or suggestions about the Web page to Mike Lockey. Be sure to check the Web page every once in a while to see any new or changed information.

• 2022 meeting dates, Future Speakers and Topics (subject to change based on internal politics, budget, the weather):





September 13, 2022

Retired (SAS)

Ed Webb

SHARE 2022 Columbus Update
Aug 21-26, 2022

October 4, 2022


Frank Kyne


November 1, 2022


Red Phillips


December 6, 2022




If you have suggestions about speakers and topics, contact Ron Pimblett.

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday, September 13, 2022 (the meeting was delayed a week so as not to conflict with the Labor Day holiday week). .

• The dues have been suspended (motion passed in the March 2021 monthly meeting).

• Thanks to Randy Springs for online hosting the August 2 meeting via Zoom.

• There are currently 94 people on the SPARTA e-mail distribution list.

• Send any e-mail address changes to Chris Blackshire so he can update the SPARTA distribution List. The SPARTA meeting notices are being sent via a simple distribution list maintained by Chris.

• Randy Springs is looking for a new Treasurer volunteer. He projects about 2 hours per month is needed.
- Contact Randy Springs if you are interested.

• LabCorp Meeting Place Update: No update needed from Bill Johnson.

• There was discussion about a possible 2022 in person meeting, depending on vaccinations and room availability. Stay tuned.

• Mike Lockey will be sending the website bills to Randy for payment with an update in the next newsletter.


• We will continue meeting virtually with a 2022 in person meeting date TBD. Stay tuned.
• Randy Springs has setup a SPARTA group on LinkedIn. Please join.
• The Business portion of the meeting and the meeting itself ended about 9:10 P.M.

• The Presentation started at 7:30 PM.

• Presentation Topic: Educating the Next Generation of Mainframers

by Cameron Seay of East Carolina University

• Agenda
• Introduction
• How I got into this…
• What I have found as an IT professor about teaching mainframe at a college/university
• How to make a mainframe program work at a college/university
• Non-curricular Programs: Apprenticeships, Bootcamps, and Self-study
• Assess the Current State of Training for your Company
• Internal training might increase retention and loyalty
• This is an issue that WILL be addressed… sooner or later

The online presentation ended at about 8:50 PM.

• Presentation Access - See Below for a full outline of the presentation.

See the SPARTA webpage for all recent presentations including this one.

Contact Info:
Speaker: Dr. Cameron Seay
Adjunct Professor at East Carolina University
East 5th Street
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
ECU Phone: (252) 328-9600
Work Phone: (919) 368-9180
Web site:
ECU IT website:

• The August 2, 2022 monthly meeting ended about 9:10 P.M.

Treasurer’s Report for August 2022

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $1489.66 as of July 31, 2022.

SPARTA Financial Report
8/01/2022 through 08/31/2022


Opening Balance 8/1/2022


Total Deposits

Food money donated











Web Site


Petty Cash


Bank Service Charges






PETTY CASH on hand




Items of Interest

SPARTA Schedule and Menu for 2022

contributed by Chris Blackshire

Sept 13, 2022 - Pizza (Labor Day holiday is Monday Sept 5)
Oct 4, 2022 - Chicken
Nov 1, 2022 - Subs
Dec 6, 2022 - BarBQ

Home Team Advantage for Installing PTFs

contributed By Ed Webb

"I’ve been getting an interesting question lately. It does show me that folks are thinking more deeply about how z/OSMF is going to fit into their enterprise and how they will use z/OSMF for managing their software. This is something I like to see, so I love this question!

This is the question: Once I have installed my product(s) with z/OSMF, do I need to continue to use z/OSMF to service those products? Which is also sometimes worded as: Do I have to install PTFs with z/OSMF once I have used z/OSMF to install the products?

To answer this question, I’d like to think more about what a z/OSMF product installation results in. What is delivered. What you have when you are done. What valuable capabilities you have when z/OSMF knows about your software. Once you understand these things, it will be evident what the answer to that question is."

Here's the SHARE Blog article from Marna's Musings with additional information and links.

SHARE Announces 2023 Conference Cities and Dates

contributed By Ed Webb

At Columbus in August 2022, SHARE announced their 2023 Conference schedule:

SHARE 2023 Atlanta will be a four-day event March 5-8. This conference will have more sessions than the four-day SHARE 2022 Dallas event.

SHARE 2023 New Orleans is planned to be a full five-day conference August 13-18. SHARE was last planned to occur in New Orleans in Spring 2006 but Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 derailed those plans. Looking forward to some good cajun cookin'.

Visit SHARE's Event Calendar for more details soon.

Two Recent Redbooks of Interest

Contributed by Ed Webb

"Configuring your new IBM z16 and then exploiting its high-powered cryptographic capabilities to be quantum-safe are the themes of two recent IBM Redbooks."

For information about implementing your IBM z16, check out the IBM z16 Configuration Setup Redbook.

For details about making your systems quantum-safe, read Transitioning to Quantum-Safe Cryptography on IBM Z.


Wit & Wisdom continued

contributed by Ed Webb

If you don’t know where you’re going any path will get you there.
If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.
We can’t all be heroes: Someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
First say to yourself what you would be, and then do what you have to do.
Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

7 p.m.

Location: Online

Information about access to our online meeting will be sent to our e-mail list by Tuesday, September 13.

Free Food before meeting: Your Food at Your Home


SHARE 2022 Columbus Conference Report


Ed Webb of SPARTA

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services


August 2022 Presentation outline

• Presentation Topic: Educating the Next Generation of Mainframers

by Cameron Seay of East Carolina University

• Agenda
• Introduction
• How I got into this…
• What I have found as an IT professor about teaching mainframe at a college/university
• How to make a mainframe program work at a college/university
• Non-curricular Programs: Apprenticeships, Bootcamps, and Self-study
• Assess the Current State of Training for your Company
• Internal training might increase retention and loyalty
• This is an issue that WILL be addressed… sooner or later

- Prior to 2000, companies would hire new mainframe candidates based on a variety of criteria: college degrees, written assessments, personal recommendations, etc
- They would then put them through an intense and sustained training program, sometimes lasting several years.
- Over time, as training budgets were reduced, companies began to search for cost effective ways to onboard new mainframers.
- Before the late 1990s, most college programs had some mainframe technology in their curricula.
- After 2000 colleges began to strip mainframe technology out of the programs (that is another conversation).
- Because before the late 1990s most CS and IS programs had mainframe technology in their programs, companies could assume candidates had some exposure to things like COBOL and JCL
- After 2000 college students were no longer exposed to anything related to mainframe, so new hires’ first exposure to it was when they were hired
- Companies began using screening criteria like a high GPA in CS or IS
- Over time, this proved lacking in predicting who would make a good mainframer.
- So companies were left needing a set of skills NOT taught in the colleges
- And massive retirement in the mainframe space is accelerating

How I got into this…
- I began teaching at a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in 2004
- I noticed immediately that HBCUs faced challenges that larger, better-resourced, higher-profile schools did not
- My students needed a strategic advantage as an entry point into IT
- Mainframe was clearly an area where this could be accomplished
- Since 2004 I have taught at 4 HBCUs and 1 non-HBCU (ECU). At every HBCU it was exactly the same story:
- Mainframe attracts companies to the school that did not recruit there before
- The companies then not only hire mainframe candidates but also hire across all disciplines of IT
- - Rinse, repeat…
- This approach has worked for over 400 students

What I have found as an IT professor about teaching mainframe at a college/university:
- First, many (most?) academic CS/IS/IT departments don’t keep close contact with industry, and their curricula reflects this.
- CS/IS/IT Faculty often have mostly an academic background, with little recent industry experience. They lack the perspective to move students from the classroom to the shop floor.
- The tenure process itself is an impediment to teaching mainframe in the colleges: Junior faculty are focused on getting tenure (which has little to do with mainframe), and senior faculty have research priorities that don’t include mainframe. There is no way to incentivize junior faculty to teach it.
- The hard sell: college faculty, college administrators. Why? They are resistant to something they see as old and antiquated.
- The easy sell: the students themselves. Why? Because once you show them how much the global economy relies on the mainframe they want IN!

How to make a mainframe program work at a college/university:
- It is essential to have at least ONE internal ally: faculty or administration.
- They in turn need to secure signatures up and down the line:
- At the end of the day you will need sign-off from the affiliated dean, the affiliated chair, and the faculty member that will teach the course. If you have all these, you are in good shape.
- It’s best if you have employers waiting for the candidates. You don’t want to offer a class and no one gets hired in mainframe. You also want to let the students know about the course early in the preceding semester.

Non-curricular Programs: Apprenticeships, Bootcamps, and Self-study
- Formal academic programs that teach mainframe have been, and perhaps always will be, few and far between.
- - I am seeing tremendous growth in bootcamps and apprenticeships.
- - They require less administrative buy-in from a school, and have several advantages that degree programs do not.
- Advantages:
- - Students focused on specific technology; instructors usually have expertise in the topic; usually current and relevant; candidate does not need a four-year degree
- Disadvantages:
- - Peripheral skills like communication and collaboration are usually not the focus.
Bootcamps: Give intense focused training, and can last anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks or more.
- Apprenticeships: Give sustained, broad training, and can last anywhere from 6 mos to 2 years.
- The US Dept of Labor has hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and contracts to support apprenticeship programs:
- IBM has a wonderful apprenticeship program (that I helped get off the ground):
- USDOL will help you set up an apprenticeship program for your organization from scratch
- IBM will give you a template to follow and the administrative work can be done by an apprentice “intermediary” like Franklin Apprenticeships:
- Companies like Knowledge Transfer Consulting Services can help you with 12-week bootcamps:

Assess the Current State of Training for your Company:
- Are you doing more or less training than before?
- What is the focus of this training? Which technologies?
- Are you focusing on getting fully trained applicants or do you have an internal training plan?
- A quick look at the industry’s demographics will reveal that the number of experienced IT people- especially mainframers- is diminishing each day, and will continue to do so at an increasing rate.

Internal training might increase retention and loyalty:
- US Dept of Labor data clearly shows that alums of apprenticeship programs- degreed and non-degreed- have appreciably higher retention rates
- The dilemma has always been having high starting salaries to attract entry-level candidates has to be offset by the delay in their becoming productive.
- US DOL Registered Apprenticeships and less formal apprenticeship-like programs have been an effective solution to this problem
- The candidates go through a 1-2 year training program at a reduced salary while they undergo focused training, and are gradually raised to full pay upon completion of the program.
- Successful implementations of this program can be found at IBM, Ensono, Broadcom, Rocket, and several other companies.

This is an issue that WILL be addressed… sooner or later
- Each quarter you don’t deal with the need to have a skills plan is only postponing the inevitable.
- Delay will only make the process more difficult and expensive. Schools do not teach mainframe and do a questionable job of preparing students for the workplace in all IT disciplines (from a college IT professor of nearly 20 years).
- Organizations that can help, whether you seek to start an apprenticeship, give focused bootcamps, or just ad hoc mainframe training:
-- The Open Mainframe Project:
-- The IBM Apprenticeship Program:
-- The Enterprise Computing Community:

The online presentation ended at about 8:50 PM.