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In Memoriam: Sheboygan's Eugene (Gene) Schnelle

Monday, January 16, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lou Buell


Eugene (Gene) Schnelle, 83 of Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin passed away on January 11, 2012. Gene spent 43 years at Plastics Engineering Company, Sheboygan, Wisconsin planning, implementing, and then directing the automation of the organization from card key systems to their current digital global network environment. Growing up in nearby Kiel, Wisconsin he completed his education and his military commitment to country prior to starting at Plenco in 1952. During his working life he devoted his time to his 6 children and their activities, the St. Dominic Catholic Church (he used his automation skills for the church during his working life and in retirement as well), and the Data Processing Management Association as a Charter Member (1964) of the Sheboygan Chapter 207.

Gene held every DPMA office during his tenure and held the gavel as our President in 1973. You could not find a more willing worker and he founded our June Dinner Dance and assisted in organizing our Annual Golf Outing (40th annual is coming up in 2012) with fellow Charter Member Cliff Van Ess (Superior Supply) and the late Doug Doebert (Richardson Industries). Until health issues hindered his participation two years ago he had attended every event.

Cliff Van Ess at 88 has made every meeting and has just come out of retirement again to use his programming skills for Superior Supply per the request of the company president. Cliff was the subject of a great Information Executive article recently done by Larry Schmitz (Region V President)

The Sheboygan Chapter AITP will miss Gene but never forget his contributions.

In regards to the twenty five additional 1964 Charter Members on the list with Gene it is interesting to note some of their accomplishments as listed below;

Terry Kohler – Terry's father was the Governor of Wisconsin from 1951-1957 (Walter J. Kohler Jr.). Terry owns Windway Corporation that includes the Vollrath Company and North Sales Inc. both located in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Terry is an avid sailor and competes in the World Cup annually.

Terry's cousin is Herbert V. Kohler Jr. the Chairman of the Kohler Company. Terry was the Data Processing Manager at Vollrath Company during his time in DPMA and an early proponent in building the companies own proprietary "ERP” software solutions.

Stuart Warrington – Stu during his DPMA time was the Data Processing Manager of Heritage Mutual Insurance Company (now known as Acuity) and chartered their subsidiary called Heritage Computer Corporation (HCC) in 1969 to sell insurance software nationally. Chartering a software company in 1969 was extremely insightful and HCC was one of the top 2 national providers of insurance software for 25 years. In addition he went on to form his own company called Strategic Data Systems in the mid 1980's that was on INC Magazines fastest growing list annually.

Bill Smudde – Bill was the Data Processing Manager for Armour Leather (later known as Armira) during his DPMA activity. Bill went on to partner with Dave Marshall to form DASD Corporation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin which was the state's first "service bureau processor”; they leveraged a contract from Miller Brewing Company at the time to "outsource” some of their data processing requirements.

How about that, in the early 1960's DPMA members in Sheboygan were moving towards chartering software companies, building ERP systems, and offering outsourcing. The charter class of 1964 was a real good one.

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