Fred was born in Jalisco, Mexico. He came to the U.S. with his parents and settled in western Nebraska when he was three. He was appointed as navigator on trips to visit grandparents in Mexico and he enjoyed matching physical features to those shown on the maps.
Fred excelled in a drafting class he took in high school and later attended Nebraska Western College where he took an additional course in engineering drafting. He was initially supposed to draw an airplane engine for that class, but he and his instructor decided house plans would fit better with his extracurricular endeavors. At the time, Fred was working part time in a lumberyard to pay for college. His class experience ultimately helped him secure a permanent position after completing two years at NWC. While at the western Nebraska lumber yard, he drew architectural plans for additions and did the estimating.
He met Gina, the love of his life in 1975 and they were married the next year. They moved to Denver so Fred could attend Engineering Drafting College. Fred had initially planned to get a 2000-hour technical certificate in architectural drafting, but the director of the school convinced him to try for a Geologic Drafting Certificate instead. The specialized course work was designed to give students an entrance into the lucrative mining and oil and gas businesses. He took advantage of his training and joined Rocky Mountain Energy in 1977.
Over the next 15 years, Fred worked with geologists, engineers and environmentalists and provided them with all types of maps and graphics for their projects. It was there that he met his long time colleague and friend Terry Cox. He and Terry worked on many projects together at RME. Terry always had a twist to his maps that Fred enjoyed and welcomed. In 1991, RME became UPRC Minerals and left the Denver area for Ft. Worth Texas. Fred decided to stay in Colorado and went to work for the well-known Woodward Clyde geotechnical company. Fred started CADD Services in October, 1993, in an effort to provide drafting services to engineering, environmental and mining companies. His reputation for getting things done landed him many opportunities, some larger than he could handle on his own. In 1997, the Union Pacific hired him to work on their tax maps, so he called on his old friend and mentor Terry Cox to help out. In time, other former colleagues and friends were added to help the growing demand. Rich Valdez and J.O. Williams were both former RMEers. Jeff Meyer was a friend of both Terry and Fred. Let us not forget The Kid, Craig Maurer our valuable School of Mines student (now graduated).
Terry became interested in caving ("spelunking" to non-cavers) at Indiana University. After mapping many miles of cave and looking at the undersides of rocks in Indiana, Kentucky, Mexico and elsewhere, he decided geology might be a better career choice than astronomy. After graduation, he headed off to explore for coal with Amax Coal Company. He drilled lots of holes and sampled many, many mines from Alabama to Pennsylvania, which convinced him that western scenery was more to his liking.
The coal mines of the West were pretty much like the mines of Appalachia, just much larger. Rocky Mountain Energy gave him the opportunity to visit and evaluate coal operations in all the major coal fields from Texas to Alaska. Petroleum prices collapsed in the late 1980s and shifted power generation economics more toward gas. He decided to take his leave of the coal business and pursued other interests. He consulted for a few years, both on his own and with a small hardrock minerals firm. He wrote Inside the Mountains: a history of mining around Central City, Colorado in 1985, followed by Stocks and Bonds of North American Railroads in 1995.
Ultimately, Terry got back together with Fred in 1997 for a large project indexing thousands of railroad line maps for the Union Pacific Railroad. From there, Fred and Terry decided to work together using their collective geologic, database, organizational and map-making skills. Terry published Collectible Stocks and Bonds from North American Railroads in 2003 and continues that massive online database project through his Coxrail.com web site.
Jeff moved to the Denver area in 1960 at the age of 6 and stayed there ever since. He claims to have ill-managed his post high school and spent them in dangerous pastimes like bull riding, motorcycle racing and hydroplane racing. Unbeknownst to him, self-preservation gradually pushed him toward safer endeavors like snow skiing, and hunting and fishing. During his formative years, he worked as an apprentice plumber and a heavy equipment mechanic.
The births of his children and a broken back slowed Jeff down a little and forced a career change. Somehow he ended up in the confines of a machine shop. Something apparently clicked because he spent his next thirty years as a machinist making metal parts and mountainous piles of shavings. His ability to interpret mechanical drawings allowed him to become a prototype machinist and he ended up owning his own shop for a decade. His longevity in the business and his shop's ability to make small-run, complicated prototype parts brought him many interesting projects. Some of his metal widgets have flown into space aboard Titan missiles and the space shuttle.
With time, Jeff's interests evolved to include golf, certified scuba instruction, riding his Harley and playing bluegrass music. Through music, Jeff met Terry Cox who thought an ability to read often-contradictory mechanical drawings would translate nicely into an ability to understand often-contradictory land and geologic issues. Soon Jeff was racing a mouse is a new career as a map maker at Cadd Services.
J.O. started off with a bachelors degree in chemistry from Whitman College. Once he had his degree in hand, a future spent in a chemistry lab didn't sound quite as enticing as it once had. He enrolled in graduate school in Exploration Geology at the University of Idaho and everything proceeded normally until faced with an elective class in either statistics or Fortran programming. Programming turned out to be a fortuitous choice.
Programming was fun, demanding and new at a time when programs were submitted on cards and long term data storage meant nine-track tape. After that, everything undertaken had a "computer" slant with respect to geology and geochemistry. His first job out of college was with Union Carbide Corporation looking for uranium and tungsten in the West. Working in the Mine Engineering Department, J.O. tried to illuminate his coworkers on the benefits and labor-saving possibilities of computers, but the personal computer revolution was still in the future. When the uranium boom fizzled, he was hired by Minesoft, which later became Techbase. There he programmed commercial software for the geological, mining and environmental industries. During that time, Techbase farmed him out for several years as a "computer consultant" to Rocky Mountain Energy. It was during that time he met Fred and helped him get the hardware end of computer-aided drafting started at Rocky Mountain Energy. Eventually, the information technology bubble burst and programming jobs became impossible to find. Since Techbase was fundamentally a GIS system, J.O.'s skills at programming, tech support, and teaching user classes transferred easily to ESRI's GIS system.
Rich is a native Coloradan who started working for Rocky Mountain Energy in 1976 where he worked with Fred and Terry. He left to pursue other opportunities with Anaconda Minerals, Arco Coal, and ultimately Chevron. Chevron transfer him to Houston, Texas but he later returned to Denver with Ampolex, an Australian oil and gas company.
After a takeover by Mobil, Rich again met up with Fred and Terry at Union Pacific Railroad. During this time Rich played softball at the national level, collected and kept old hot rods, and acquired a single-digit golf handicap. Once the job at Union Pacific was complete, Rich moved into the telecom design field with Rooney Engineering (Qwest), Parsons Brinkerhoff (Level3) and 360 Networks. Soon after the telecom bust in 2001, Rich joined up with Fred and Terry. Again.