A Mandatory College Class Triggered a Life Time Career:
Alice Truan, IT Manager at Williams Kastner & Gibbs

Compiled By: Monica Bay
February 8, 2017

 

Alice Truan has worked at Williams Kastner since 1984, and has been the firm's IT manager since October 2015. She describes herself as a "desktop applications specialist," and has worked with PayneGroup since 1999, "starting when they helped us move from Corel's WordPerfect to Microsoft Corp.'s Word. We also use Metadata Assistant and Outlook Send Assistant."

Truan, graduated with a B.S. degree in 1975 from Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University) in her hometown of Springfield, Missouri. "My major was in Office Administration with a minor in music." One of the required courses was business machines, where she learned the Mag Card I1. "Little did I know that one course would propel my career in technology."

Shortly after graduation, Truan moved to San Diego. "My first job was working in the Accounts Payable department at Foodmaker (then the corporate company for Jack in the Box restaurants). Nine months later I started working at my first law firm job as a word processor and worked on a Mag Card II. I taught myself how to use the system, based on my business machines course in college," she recalled.

"On my first day of work, it took me more than 30 minutes to code and print out one page of my first pleading. One of the attorneys noticed my struggle, chuckled and remarked that the experience probably was a good drill and knew I would get better."

In 1984, Truan's husband Michael was transferred from San Diego to the Submarine Base, Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state. Shortly after, she started working at Williams Kastner as the word processing supervisor, working on a Wang computer. "As technology continued to change, I transferred to the Computer Systems Department and began working with applications, including a document management program called PC Profound,” she said. PC Profound was one of the first document management programs sold by Wang.

"In 2014 I was asked to be interim IT Manager until a new manager was hired. While I considered applying for the job, I didn’t feel I was qualified because my technical expertise was in applications—and I believed at the time I was not technically qualified because I wasn’t a network analyst," said Truan.

"A new manager was hired, but only lasted for about six months—and I was once again asked to be the interim IT Manager. Each time as interim IT Manager I had prepared the annual IT budgets—and now I would be preparing a third," she recalled. "I began to reconsider whether I was qualified to be the IT Manager and perhaps my idea of what qualified me was misguided."

"In October 2015 I was promoted to be the IT Manager. It was an easy decision, because I had already been doing the job. The firm decided to make it official."

1 Information about IBM typewriters, including Mag Card: https://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/modelb/modelb_office2.html

 

QUICK QUESTIONS

  • Leadership style: "Determining my leadership style is still a work in progress. It’s a mixture of visionary, coaching and pace setting. When projects aren’t moving as quickly as possible, I intervene and work with the IT staff on priorities and how we can get the project completed."

  • Bucket list: "Going on a cruise, but not sure where I want to go."

  • Personal motto: "Every day is a new day; a new start; a chance to try again."

  • Greatest success: "Married to my adoring and loving husband for more than 32 years."
     
  • Advice about working with PayneGroup: "If a program isn’t working like you think it should, contact PayneGroup. Very helpful technical support team."

 


Monica Bay
Monica Bay is a Fellow at CodeX: The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics, and a freelance journalist. She is a member of the California bar.