John Pugh’s last tour of duty as an Army officer was with the Defense Communications Agency (DCA). The DCA was founded in May of 1960 with the mission of operational control of the Defense Communication System. At first, the DCA let a contract to centralize worldwide control in Washington DC. But as integrating dozens of incompatible networks with entrenched interests proved too ambitious, the DCA let a second contract to IBM to establish a decentralized system of Area Centers that would preprocess information and facilitate network integration. Pugh’s assignment was to supervise the ‘programming effort of the Area Centers’ … ‘ to use computers to keep track of the status of communication circuits worldwide.’ It was then that he learned to appreciate the limitation of 1200 bps modems. So when Art Carr, Director of Marketing of Computer Control Corporation (C3), launched a search for someone to fill the role of Marketing Manager for Communications Applications, Pugh was a perfect fit. So in 1965, Pugh left the Army and joined C3. Pugh then followed Carr to Codex in 1968 were he would have a highly successful career, serving in senior marketing, strategic planning, and project and engineering management roles.
In this interview, Pugh skillfully weaves the history of Codex with the development and evolution of the entire data communications industry, focusing on key product, market, and regulatory trends, as well as the companies and people who shaped the industry in the later part of the 20th century.
This was my first interview with an executive from the leased-line market and I could not have been more fortunate. John was exceptionally knowledgeable, felt no time constraints, was willing to share his experiences and was as friendly and gracious as any interviewee could be. I took his advice as whom I should interview and found Pugh’s remarks accurate and balanced. This is a long interview, seventy pages in length, and a must for any avid historian. As I set up my recording equipment, and John left to get us coffee, I had time to scan cabinet surfaces filled with family photographs, organizational mementos, artifacts we would soon discuss and paperwork everywhere, but seemingly organized, and a neat desktop. In all it was a cozy office with a large window and the sense of a senior executive who had served his time and had earned organizational loyalty. Returning carrying Styrofoam cups, John encouraged me to make myself comfortable. Please enjoy an interview with a man who had proved to be a trusting employee, the kind of person successful organizations need in order to grow.
Keywords: Codex Corporation, Computer Control Company (3C), Motorola, 9600-bps, AE96