Amanda & Richard Haddock
When I graduated high school in 1976 and headed to college, my plan was to get degrees in architecture and business, and have my own architectural design firm soon after that. Roger Birckhead was my drafting teacher at Heights High School, and I really enjoyed designing houses, and working on projects. But once I got to Kansas State, I took a computer class as part of my business degree requirements. Back then, we used punch cards, and learned logic and programming. In order to get my jobs done, I’d head over to the computer lab after midnight when fewer people were around. Of all the classes I had, the computer class came easiest. In fact, I finished my semester class in less than half the semester, and was able to take the next class in the same semester. I’d found my niche, and knew that computer technology was where I wanted to be.
In 1978, Lloyd Parrish asked me to find a computer and program to do his “joint interest billing” for his oil and gas company. While there were a number of solutions, they were all very expensive. I found the IBM 5110, which was “under $18,000”. It had 16kb of memory and used 8” floppy drives that held 1.2 mb each. There were very few programs for it, and IBM encouraged me to write the software for the oil and gas industry. Even though I had no idea how I was going to accomplish it, I agreed to write the software for the computer, and over the course of many months, I learned about the oil and gas industry and programming the IBM 5110. After finishing and installing our first system, I sold over 100 systems throughout North America to independent oil and gas producers. “Petroleum Accountant” worked on the IBM 5110, IBM 5120, the IBM System/23 Datamaster, and the IBM 5150, the original IBM PC which was announced in 1981.
After deciding I should diversify from just one industry, I opened two “software only” stores in 1983, and our stores were full of boxed software. In 1984, Apple introduced the Macintosh, and the local Apple representative, Walter Corby, brought me one and asked me to sell the Apple Macintosh. After one weekend with this new computer, I enthusiastically signed on to be an Apple dealer. I knew, based on my programming experience that the new interface was going to be huge. We soon became one of the largest Apple resellers in the midwest.
After becoming an Apple Reseller, we were also able to sell to schools, through the Apple Education Agent Program. In 1985, we began selling to schools in the state of Kansas, and by the mid 1990s, we were selling into 11 states for Apple. I really enjoyed going to the schools because I felt like I was making a positive difference in the lives of children by bringing them new technology that they were learning from and would need to understand as they grew older.
In 1995, there were rumors that Apple was going to sell their products “direct only”, basically cutting me and other dealers out, using the “Dell model” as we called it. I was very concerned, so I flew to Cupertino, Apple’s headquarters, for the first time, and listened anxiously to hear my fate. Fortunately all they did was simply increase the minimum purchase requirements, which we easily met. However, I took the time in person to strongly suggest that they needed a reseller advisory group, and that being in the midwest made me a perfect candidate to be on their board. After a few weeks, I got a call, and sure enough, they had formed the Apple Reseller Advisory Board, and I was asked to be a part of it. I was ecstatic, and proudly accepted. For over ten years, about once a quarter, I got to go to Cupertino to meet with executives, and give them my opinion on what I thought they should do. I didn’t write down much of those meetings because they were all under “nondisclosure” and felt compelled to keep everything secret. I really wish I’d documented more because I learned a lot about how things get done and how business works.
In 1996, when Dr. Gil Amelio became CEO of Apple, I was able to get a meeting to talk with him and suggest that Apple start a program that recognized the dealers around the United States who mostly sold Apple computers. He liked the idea, and assigned Paddy Wong and Loretta Flores to work with me to design the parameters. Over that year, I was able to attend executive briefings at the main campus and give them my ideas. Apple rolled out the “Apple Specialist” program in late 1996, and as of today, the program is still in place. I think it’s one of Apple’s longest-running programs, and I’m proud to have been part of its formation. Most people don’t realize it, but Dr. Amelio saved Apple by securing a large bank loan. Dr. Amelio was instrumental in acquiring NeXT, Steve Jobs’ company, and even though he was ultimately fired as CEO, he was instrumental in rescuing Apple.
In 2003, Kevin Langdon joined the Apple Reseller Advisory Board, and he recommended that we start a co-op to help all Apple Specialists in the United States. Arnie Zuckman, David Lerner, Kevin Langdon and I formed a committee and began the design of the Apple Specialist Marketing Corporation. It began in 2004 at a small meeting in Portland Oregon, and continues to this day. I’m proud to have been part of getting this group of great people together.
We opened our first store in Brittany Center at 21st & Woodlawn, and in late 2004 we moved into the Waterfront in Wichita at 13th & Webb. It was a great move and lots of new customers found us and began coming to us for all their Apple needs. It was also in 2004 that Apple decided to pull their education sales in-house, and we were no longer able to sell Apple products into schools. We began looking for other products that we could sell so that we could continue our sales into schools, and found the Promethean ActivBoard. We soon became one of Promethean’s largest dealers, and have added a few other high-quality lines, and continue to cover 11 states in the midwest.
Because of my seat on the Apple Advisory Board, I was able to meet with some pretty incredible people over the years, including Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, John Brandon, Paddy Wong, Lisa Parker-Kim, Henry Kim and many others inside Apple. It was an honor to be able to go to the Apple campus every quarter and be a small part of their growth.
One of my most memorable events for me was probably early 1997, when I was visiting the Apple campus in California. I was at the Apple Store at 1 Infinite Loop, which sells Apple shirts that you can only get there, among other things. I looked outside and noticed Steve Jobs walking alone, hands behind his back, along the sidewalk in front of the store. He was always easy to spot on campus because he sort of walked on his toes, so he kind of bounced up and down as he walked. I’d never met him and decided to run out and introduce myself, so I put down the things I was about to buy and hurried out to greet him. I think I startled him a bit, but I told him I was an Apple dealer in Kansas and was happy to see him back at Apple. He asked me about my store and how they could help me. It was one of the few times I got to speak with him privately, but I was fortunate enough to have met with him in meetings over the years. In 2004, Steve Jobs announced that he had pancreatic cancer and had surgery to remove his pancreas. In 2009, Steve had a liver transplant, and in 2011 he resigned as CEO of Apple. Steve Jobs has touched my life in many ways, and his death in October 2011 affected me very profoundly for many reasons.
In 2010, David Pearson, my stepson, was diagnosed with a type of brain cancer called “glioblastoma multiforme”, or GBM, which took his life after 20 months. During that struggle, we learned a lot about the medical community, and the state of cancer research. After Amanda Haddock – my wife and David’s mom – and I came to terms with the fact that there was nothing we could have done to help David, we decided that something had to be done to help others who have similar health issues. In 2013, Amanda, David Herrmann, and I founded the Dragon Master Foundation, which is dedicated to bringing big data technology to the cancer fight, including computer analysis of huge volumes of complete genomic data. We’ve made some good progress in a very short time, and have aligned ourselves with the Children’s Hospital of Philadlphia and The Childhood Brain Tumor and Tissue Consortium (CBTTC). Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Children’s Hospital of Seattle are all part of our group, and all four hospitals contribute brain cancer tissue and tumor samples for storage and analysis, available to researchers worldwide. These findings are expected to impact all of cancer research.
While I’m passionate about selling and supporting Apple products, I’m even more passionate about pushing cancer research to the bleeding edge of technology and solving the riddle of cancer once and for all. Amanda and I want to live to see the day that no one dies of cancer. But, the more we know, the more we know that we don’t know very much. Researchers need the power of technology to solve these critical health issues. In order to focus more time on this fight with Cancer, I’ve sold Haddock Computer Center, our Apple retail store in Wichita, Kansas, to LivingSound. They sell and install sound and video systems, utilizing Apple technology, and will take care of our customers in our current location in the Waterfront shopping center, at 13th & Webb in Wichita.
We continue to operate our other division, Haddock Education Technologies, selling and installing technology into schools throughout 11 states in the midwest. I’ve always enjoyed working with schools, and the best part is seeing the children excited about learning, and using the technology that we’ve helped implement. We represent Promethean, Safari Montage, Boxlight, Audio Enhancement, Extreme Networks, Anthro and others.
I’m thankful for all the amazing people who have worked with me at the store over the years. I’ve had the privilege to work with some truly brilliant and awesome people. Our current staff, which is also incredible, will continue at the store, and will be there to help our customers with their needs, along with the staff from LivingSound. Jacob Larson and Hollis Wagner have worked with me for over a dozen years, and I must say thank you to them individually for their hard work and dedication over the years. The knowledge of Apple products that they have is incredible, and they’ve been awesome to work with. A Big Thank You to Amanda Haddock, who has skillfully managed the store for quite some time while I was managing other things.
I’m very grateful to our customers who’ve supported us over the years, and referred friends to help us grow. I’m grateful for all the support and friendships I’ve made by meeting some fantastic people at our store, and I hope those friendships continue.
Thanks to everyone who’ve made these past 30 years in the Apple business so fun. It’s been a fascinating ride.
President / Owner
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~ Steve Jobs