Guy Lohman | Mathematics

From: San Jose, CA

Pomona Days: Class of 1971 | Mathematics

Current Employment: Retired

Past Employment & Graduate School: 

  • Research Staff Member and Manager @ IBM (1982 - 2016)
  • Group Supervisor @ Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1976 - 1982)
  • PhD, Operations Research @ Cornell

Guy is a member of the Pomona College Alumni Board.


I am from San Jose, CA, and have lived here since returning to the Bay Area in 1982 (I graduated from Saratoga (CA) High School in 1967).  I was a Math major (with a strong interest in computers, but there was no Comp. Sci. department then) and graduated from Pomona in 1971, where I was an R.A. in Clark I and a proud member of Kappa Theta Epsilon and the Pep Band (under the direction of Brian Holmes) when we decided that sagehens must CHIRP, not growl, during kick-offs of football games.  It sorta caught on...

After graduating from Pomona, I worked at Raychem for 6 months (doing simulations for scheduling manufacturing lines), skied in the Alps for 6 weeks (a dream trip of a lifetime!), and fulfilled my (brief, fortunately) military obligation at Ft. Bliss, TX.  Then I spent 4 years in the Dept. of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering at Cornell University, getting my M.S. (1975) and Ph.D. (1977). BTW, I decided on Operations Research for my graduate degrees based only upon a one-semester course at Pomona taught by the amazing Prof. Stan Hales '64.  My first job out of grad school was my dream job, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA (operated by Caltech, funded by NASA), where I worked on tech transfer projects to lower the cost of manufacturing photovoltaics and to establish an Earthquake Prediction Information Network (my dabbling in Geology at Pomona paid off!) and became a group supervisor.  In 1982 I joined IBM's Research Division, first at the San Jose Research Laboratory, which later moved to the Almaden Research Center, both in San Jose, CA.  There I worked in the Database Group (the guys who invented relational databases, now a $40B industry) as a researcher and a manager for 34.5 years, retiring in November 2016.  I think the length of time I spent there says a lot about how I felt about the work and my fabulous colleagues, who helped me co-author over 80 articles in the refereed literature and over 35 U.S. patents.

I was recently interviewed by IBM Gold Consultant Ian Bjorhovde for the Create Database podcast about my career, if you want (lots! ;-)) more details on what I did at IBM, but this is aimed primarily at those familiar with databases and, specifically, IBM's DB2 product.

While my grad degrees from Cornell perhaps did more for my career, Pomona had more influence on me as a person, which is why I'm so devoted to it. But Pomona also taught me how to write clearly, effectively, and persuasively, which is the only way I've survived and thrived in the "publish or perish" world.  Most geeks these days can't construct a cohesive paragraph, much less a persuasive paper!  I was so fortunate to attend Pomona.