author: CINDE INGRAM ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER
Don Ussery, 84, retired Aug. 17 after 60 years with Electronic Data Magnetics. Ussery began work there as a press operator to produce IBM computer punch cards.
Don Ussery, 84, retired Aug. 17 after 60 years with the same High Point company.
Electronic Data Magnetics prints mass transit tickets and smart cards for clients like airlines, major municipal subways and the federal government. During Ussery’s time, the company has evolved, changed ownership and altered the technically advanced printed products it makes to suit specialized needs of its customers across the nation and in Canada. When Ussery joined the company in July 1958, it was called Electronic Accounting Card Corp.
Ussery began work there as a press operator to produce IBM computer punch cards long before magnetic stripe cards were developed. He moved into other positions as needed at EDC, becoming its troubleshooter and director of purchasing before completing his unusually lengthy career.
“Whatever it takes to get it done, we jump in there and do it,” Ussery said. “I think that’s been our strong suit for many years.”
Richard Hallman, EDM chairman of the board and treasurer, said Ussery taught him how to operate the press when he joined the company after completing his military service in 1959. The two men became fast friends.
“At one time in our history, EAC was producing 1 billion tabulating cards a month,” Hallman said.
“That’s when we were at our peak of growth.”
At that time, trains delivered multiple carloads of paper to the company headquarters, which include 250,000-squarefeet in three buildings at 210 Old Thomasville Road. The company acquired Business Supplies Corp. of America and had about 18 smaller satellite plants across the nation to make production and shipping more competitive, Hallman said.