Back in the early part of 1980 while sipping a cocktail or two with a friend, Mike Sieber began to ponder the idea of starting his own computer company. He and his friend agreed that computers would one day be a popular device in every home. On July 1, 1980 Mike began selling home computers, “toy computers” as Mike referred to them out of his first Bailey Ave location. Officially, on August 4, 1981 PCI was incorporated by Mike and 9 other investors.
The business was off to a slow start and Mike soon realized home computers were not his best option to succeed. He began to sell the Osborne 1, the first commercially successful portable microcomputer, released on April 3, 1981 by Osborne Computer Corporation. Business began to pick up, and Mike soon realized business computers were the future.
Enter Pat McGrath. Pat joined the company in September of 1983 as General Manager at the second Bailey Avenue location and that is when business started to take off. Mike credits this both to Pat, as well as Hewlett Packard “giving us a chance”. As Mike pointed out “HP legitimized PCI and helped us to hit the ground running”. Pat focused PCI on business to business relationships, something we continue to do today within our community.
Pat was not the first McGrath to be involved with the company. Tim McGrath was the outside independent company auditor in the early years. He and Pat began to see the potential for growth and expansion and Tim soon joined PCI full time in October 1985. Just a few months later in December of 1985 Mark Gaulin came on board to focus on sales and on a new technology called “Networking”.
As Mark focused on networking, Mike, who left his “real job” to dedicate himself 100% to PCI in January 1985 began to focus on AutoCAD. Mike soon elevated PCI to the top AutoCAD dealer in Western New York offering the complete solution; sales, support, training, and relationship management. Mike’s first CAD client soon became Diamond Saw Works and his largest CAD client was Bethlehem Steel.
When asked about his favorite vendors, Mike of course mentions AutoCAD, along with HP, Novell and Sun Computers, each vendpr played a crucial role in helping PCI really take off. Among some of the best PCI memories, Mike was honored as the HP Dealer of the Quarter; he, Pat, Tim, and Mark were all flown to Pebble Beach, CA on HP’s private jet. Mike references fielding his very own PCI baseball team and playing third base as another cherished memory from his time at PCI.
Mike is proud of PCI, its successes and accomplishments and the role he played in it. Yet when he thinks back, it is not about technology, profits or the long hours, rather the PCI picnics, football games, golf outings, Christmas parties and the camaraderie that he believes made PCI the company it is today. All the sacrifices made, time spent, challenges of business, pale in comparison to the positive impact it made on Mike’s life, family and personal relationships.
Mike retired in 2001 at the age of 72, before PCI’s 20th anniversary. Mike along with his late wife Georgean have 2 children and 4 grandchildren. He spends most of his time at home in Lime Lake and enjoys his daily conversations with Mario. When asked what he misses most about PCI, “the people and the camaraderie”.
In 2021, we celebrate forty years of service all in thanks to the effort and ideas of Mike Sieber. Thank you to longstanding employee Catherine Roach for taking the time to sit down with Mike to discuss all things PCI.
Want to learn more about PCI and our forty years of service?