In the fall of 1957 Bud began his data processing career with Rio Grande National Life Insurance Company in Dallas Texas as an operator on punch card equipment. He worked at night and attended Arlington State College during the day
In 1959, Rio Grande installed an IBM 305 RAMAC vacuum tube computer. They followed up in 1962 with an IBM 1401 with 5 high speed tape drives. Bud wrote all the programs to convert over 500,000 insurance policies over to the tape system. He became Assistant Director of Data Processing in the same year.
One afternoon in the early fall of 1962 Ross Perot paid Rio Grande a visit. Ross had left IBM and started Electronic Data Systems (EDS). EDS has recently acquired Frito-Lay as a new client and needed Rio Grande’s 1401 computer from midnight to 7 am six nights a week. This exposure to computer sharing and a service bureau proved to be a major influence for Bud in the future.
In March 1964 Bud returned home to Arkansas and accepted the position of Data Processing Manager for Union Life Insurance Company in Little Rock. Union Life, owned by Stephens, Inc., had on order an IBM 1440 with disks and magnetic tapes to be delivered in December 1964 to replace punched card equipment. Bud designed the systems and wrote about 15% of the programs for five types of insurance. Installation was completed on schedule.
In May 1967, Bud met Jon Jacoby, a vice president at Stephens Inc. Jon was interested in the computer service provided to several of the Stephens’ companies by the Union Life data processing department. Bud presented the idea of a new company to Jon. Over the next several months, Jon discussed the idea with Mr. Stephens, who agreed to fund a new company. In early 1968 they interviewed a few applicants, including Walter Smiley, who became president of Systematics on October 1, 1968. Walter was joined by the 13 employees from Union Life, including Jurdon “Bud” Perry as Vice President.
During the early years of Systematics, the commercial data center built around the Union Life client portfolio provided steady income and an example of data center operations. It also was a training ground for staff who moved on to new Systematics data centers around the country. Clients included Allied Telephone, the nucleus of Alltel which eventually merged with Systematics. Bud was the first data center manager, one of the first district managers and the first manager of the equipment division.
In 1981, after 13 years with Systematics, Bud became Chairman and President of Datamatics Services, a subsidiary of the Frank Lyon Company. Bud purchased Datamatics in 1989 and sold it in 1992 when he retired from Data Processing.
Bud has also been active in the Data Processing Management Association as President and International Director, in real estate activities, and the First United Methodist Church of Russellville. He was President of the Pulaski Businessmen’s Association and has served on the Pulaski County Board of Equalization for over 30 years..
He is married to Joann Hays of Russellville and has six children, ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren.