Hey Bob?

Anybody who has ever had much contact with Telescan over the years has undoubtedly run into Bob Vornberg. Bob has guided product development for Telescan for many years. Most of you know him as the tireless, kind, gentle voice of technical knowledge always ready to help. Over the years, Bob has helped guide Telescan through massive changes in the industry. We thought you’d like to know this sage of technology a little better. Here is our interview with Telescan’s Director of Product Development, Bob Vornberg.

Q: How long have been at Telescan?
A: My involvement with Telescan began as a consultant in 1981. In November of 1994 I officially joined Telescan as a full-time staff member.

Q: What did you do before Telescan?
A: I earned my Masters degree in computer science at Missouri University of Science and Technology at Rolla. After college I lived in Minneapolis for a couple of years and worked at Control Data Corporation. This was the era of large mainframe computers. I came back to St. Louis and worked for McDonnell-Douglas and various small companies before venturing out on my own as a consultant. I worked with a number of companies in the St. Louis area, including, beginning in 1981, with Telescan. The rest, as they say, is history.

Q: What drew you to Telescan?
A: Telescan circa 1981 was very different. There was no Internet then. Microprocessors were just coming into commercial use and I was starting to do a lot of work in that area. George Meyer was outsourcing most of Telescan’s development work and there was plenty to do. My first project was to create the firmware for the Microscan II and Telescan II. There have been a few generations since then. Looking back, I thank George and Judy (his wife and partner) for their confidence in me and for providing me an opportunity.

Q. Why did you stay?
A: The thing I like about the Answering Service Business from a developer’s point of view, is that the industry is very diverse: telecommunications, data communications, database applications, the Internet … all of it is always changing and never gets boring. There’s always something new to discover. But beyond that, there is a people-side to the business that I find most rewarding. There is a direct line to the people that use the products, to the point that their development is truly a mutual effort.

Q: Tell us about your family.
A: I’ve have been married to my wife, Brenda, for 35 years. We have two grown children, a son, Bob and a daughter, Katy. Our daughter and her husband have been blessed with two little girls, Maddie 4, and Kayla 2. They are just finishing a new house in St. Charles County. That’s very exciting.

Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I’ve worked for very large and very small companies, and I prefer the small company atmosphere we have here at Telescan. Here I have more direct involvement with all aspects of the company and I have the opportunity to get involved with the people who use the products we develop. The involvement with our users is very important. They give life to everything we do here, and that interdependence is what makes the job so satisfying.

Q: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments at Telescan?
A: I don’t think about that too much. There’s always the next thing I’m looking forward to. There’s never a dull moment in this industry.

Q: What do you see for the Future of Telescan?
A: I think that the biggest thing that’s happening in this industry is the move to mobile devices as the communication method of choice. The industry is trying to keep up with the changes, including the phone company. We’ve followed evolution of telephony from cord boards to mobile devices. It’s been an amazing journey. What’s just beyond that, we don’t know yet. But, as long as both we as vendors and users have the energy to adapt there will be opportunities for new products. That’s very exciting.

Q: If you have any spare time, what do you like to do?
A: I am very involved in my church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Catholic Church. For the last 10 years, I’ve been the director of charity golf tournament that raises money for scholarships for seminarians. That and other related projects in the Knights of Columbus takes up most of my spare time. I am a sports fan, too. My favorite teams are the Cardinals and the Blues.

Q: Tell us one thing you’d like to do that you haven’t done yet?
A: Well, I’d like to do more traveling. At the top of the list would be traveling to Rome to see the Vatican. I’d also like to see Mozart’s home in Austria.