(This page is currently in a new construction phase so I will be slowly putting this page together)
Yes, Printex was the name of the company. They manufactured circuit boards for computers. In 1976, I had just left a grocery store job and had applied for this position I saw listed with an employment agency in Mountain View. I was just sick and tired of everything connected to the grocery business which was the last job I held.
I was initially hired to be a utility person for any of the many departments in the firm. I just did any menial job that was required. My first responsibility was to assist the department that handled the inspection/quality control level of the circuit boards after they left the film/silk-screener area of production. This department was totally staffed by women and they had the tedious job of looking for any defects on the circuit boards. And they accomplished this with the use of a powerful magnifying glass.
The circuit boards were positioned/slaight-up on special carrying trays so that they didn't make any contact with the other boards to avoid any scratches. Each tray of circuit boards was required to go through a drying stage for the ink. Because these carrying trays were extremely heavy, my job was to provide a steady stream of circuit boards for the workers, so they could carry out the task of looking for any breaks or scratches on the flow of ink on the board that had gone through the silk-screening process. Believe me, the meticulous steps involved made me appreciate the simplest transistor radio being sold from a Radio Shack store.
I mean, it came right down to the point that everybody's job depended on a cirucit board that was perfect, because a circuit board that wasn't perfect was totally useless to a customer relying on Printex to provide them a product capable to accomplish their goals, whatever it may be.
I really enjoyed this job because of the fact I provided an important role for the women working in the quality control department. The manager of this department was so sweet, and I remember that she invited me to have Thanksgiving dinner with she and her boyfriend. I turned down her offer as I was still going through some serious food/eating disorder issues at the time, which she was totally unaware of.
The manager of Printex really appreciated my work habits and my skill to work with other employees and so he promoted me to be a silk-screener. You need to understand something about being a silk-screener: It took a lot of time in order to master this particular trade.
I was really impressed when I watch these silk-screeners being able to lay that special ink onto the mesh/film. They skillfully meted the ink onto the cooper circuit board to where it would eventually pass inspection by other employees whose job was solely to look for any breaks on the board that would cause the circuitry to fail when being used to properly transmit electricity. It was a much more difficult job process than what it seemed. To make it all work, you had to apply an even amount of pressure when moving the squeegee down the screen with a flow of ink. And if you didn't, it would cause breaks in the circuitry layout which would make the board useless and add an additional cost to the production of these circuit boards. I was told by the operations manager that Printex provided circuit boards to NASA and other companies during that time period. I also remember they had tight security where they stored silver and other pricey components used on the circuit boards and other electronic products.
It was all very fascinating and I love every aspect of this job. I loved the people and I loved being at work. The same manager who promoted me to be a silk-screener at this facility really liked me as a person and invited me to go sailing with him, out on the S.F. Bay, in his sailboat. However, I never felt comfortable with that setting so I turned down his offer. He was a super nice guy who was successfully managing this huge operation in the manufacturing of circuit boards. I was really impressed with everything about Printex and felt priviledged to work there.
During this time period, I was living with my younger brother, Jack, in an apartment located in the Mountain View. I also did my all-important running in the area. Occasionally, I would go over to Stanford University, which wasn't too far away, and use their track to do my long distance running.
My father had left his job at Raley's in the sumer of 1976 and was hired by a supermarket chain in Reno, Nevada, as a retail consultant and eventually placed on their payroll as a supervisor. I hadn't really talked to my dad much in the previous few years as I was living in Boise, Idaho and working for the Albertson's supermarket chain. However, he knew I was living in Mountain View with my brother Jack, and he contacted me.
He asked me if I was willing to come to Reno, Nevada and work for him, and this chain of stores? He wanted to hire me as an undercover retail clerk so I could work inside the stores to be his additional eyes and see what was going on. It was important for my dad to know if rules and regulations were being adhered to by employees and vendors and so having his son inside the stores made it easy for him to ascertain this information.
Anyway, that Albertson's experience was a total nightmare. If it wasn't my dad asking me, I would have immediately turned down the offer. But it was my dad and how could I say "NO" to him? In addition to that, I didn't know my dad very well. In fact, hardly at all. He had nine children and when he was home, a lot of times he just tried get extra rest, or spend time watching his favorite sports team on TV. So, by accepting this offer from him, I would be in a position of getting to know my dad better. But still, I loved this new job at Printex, where I was now employed, and for the first time in my life I saw this as an opportunity to find true fullfillment in a job.