Dr. H. Charles Baker's Career at Exxon Company, U.S.A.



Dr. Baker joined Humble Oil & Refining Company as of August 1, 1968, becoming Humble's first Telecommunications Advisor to the Headquarters Telecommunications Function in Houston, TX. (At that time, Humble was a fully-owned subsidiary of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. During Baker's tenure with the company, its name was changed to Exxon Company, U.S.A., and Standard Oil changed to Exxon Corporation.) In his advisory position, Baker worked on a variety of advanced technology projects and provided technical support for approximately a dozen electrical engineers and several technicians on their own projects.

His first major challenge included complete project management of communications and electronic navigation systems for Humble's Northwest Passage Project. In 1968, oil had been discovered by Exxon and its partner at Prudhoe Bay on the northern coast of Alaska. The question then was how to get this vast quantity of oil to market. Several options were considered, among them being to bring the oil through the Northwest Passage between the islands of Canada's Northwest Territories to the east coast of the U.S. In 1969 and again in 1970, a scientific experiment was conducted involving the conversion of the then largest U.S. flag-carrying vessel, the SS MANHATTAN, to an icebreaking tanker. The ship was outfitted with a thick steel ice belt and numerous sensors to measure strain, and was sent through the icy waters fully loaded with seawater to provide momentum.

Dr. Baker was resposible for ship-to-shore, ship-to-ship, ship-to-helicopter, ship-to-ice, and on-board communications on the vessel, including CCTV, voice, fax, and data, plus satellite and sonar-based position fixing and navigation systems in a geographic region where even the best maps were as much as a mile in error.

Numerous experimental communications techniques were used in this project, many of which have become standard operating procedure in commercial maritime operations today:
While at Exxon, Dr. Baker was also responsible for developing voice, data, and facsimile encryption equipment for use in Exxon's oil exploration and development. He evenually became the architect of Exxon Corporation's worldwide electronic security systems.

Other interesting projects included development of a 500-mile long private mobile radio dispatching system for Exxon Pipeline Company, development of a nationwide private telephone network, development of a worldwide computerized message handling system, and development of a nationwide telephone call accounting system.

From 1974 until he left Exxon in 1979, Baker was in charge of all data communications projects associated with the Exxon Company, U.S.A. Headquarters Computing Center in Houston. During this time, he worked with the Computing Center managers, using data multiplexers and DDS circuits to aid in consolidating four major computer centers into one. He also worked in the area of remote testing and control of modems and terminals at over 300 remote unmanned sites (the forerunner of modern SNMP-type systems).

Dr. Baker resigned from Exxon, effective May 1, 1979, to form his consulting firm, Telecommunications Engineering, Inc.




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