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An idea whose time had come (Part 2 of 3)

Eugene M. FrankIn a series of three blog posts, ISACA’s 1972-1973 president, Eugene M. Frank, tells his story of how the association was established.

After experiencing overwhelming support for the creation of a formal organization to share EDP audit knowledge and approaches, Stu Tyrnauer arranged to have the nonprofit incorporation documents prepared and he presented them at the next meeting. The seven people present at that meeting signed the incorporation documents and thus became the founders of the EDP Auditors Association (EDPAA). They were:  Dalton Davis, Eugene Frank (me), Eric McAlister, E. Rae Shaw, Cliff Perkins, Parker Seeman and Stu Tyrnauer. The year was 1969.

Stu Tyrnauer offered and was elected EDPAA president and the rest of us became the supporting cast.

Over the next year and a half, EDPAA continued to function uneventfully under Stu’s leadership. Then, in early 1971, Stu resigned as president. I talked Woody Woodward into taking over the presidency and I remained on the board of directors. Woody was a partner in one of the “big eight” CPA firms in Los Angeles, a position I thought would help establish EDPAA as an important and recognized organization. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter Woody was assigned a new position that required extensive travel. In December 1971, the association collapsed.

I had scheduled a discussion workshop for the December meeting to address the organization’s original idea: the exchange of audit approaches and methodologies. Only three people showed up. Upon seeing the dismal attendance, I cancelled the meeting. It was a bitter lesson I learned that night. At that point in the development of the EDP audit profession, many auditors were so unsure about the profession and themselves that they sought only to be told what to do and were uncomfortable sharing what they themselves were doing.

As I sat trying to analyze and understand the meeting fiasco that had happened, Parker Seeman, the elected treasurer and a director of the association, came over to where I was sitting and handed me the written resignations for himself and every other board member. I was the only remaining active board member.

So I sat somewhat dazed at the double whammy I had just experienced: the meeting fiasco and the board resignations. I had much to ponder. As I saw it, I had two options: (1) Walk away and do not look back (I did not relish doing that), or (2) Take a stab at resurrecting the association. That, I thought, would be a big challenge and I admit that I had doubts about whether or not I was up to it.

At that moment, a stranger approached me and introduced himself as Bud Friedman. He had heard about the association and had come to attend that night’s meeting, which he just learned had been cancelled. He was an EDP technician who had recently been transferred to the EDP internal audit department at the Northrop Corporation as a manager of EDP audits. I invited him to join me, which he did.

For the next hour, Bud became my captive audience as I expounded on the idea and the potential of the association. I presented my vision, and what I thought could be accomplished by a reborn association properly organized and properly run. And, if successful, how the accomplishment would look on his resume and in the eyes of his management and peers.

Bud answered that he was not a joiner of organizations. He had never actively participated in any organization and would not know what to do. I told him that I knew what to do and I asked Bud if he would join me in the effort to restart the association. By the end of the hour, Bud agreed to join me.

To be continued…

Eugene M. Frank
Former ISACA president

The third post in this three-part series will appear on 27 June.

Read the first post here.

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