01 Dec Charlie Haycraft and the Legacy of Service Automation, Inc
Charles L. Haycraft passed away peacefully in a hospital near his home in San Clemente, California on Sunday, October 17th, 2010 with his beloved family by his side: his wife of 47 years, Karen; sons David and Clint, and daughter, Claudia. Charlie was born on a farm on June 23rd, 1939 in Witt, Illinois and attended a one room school house until going to Witt High School. He served in the U.S. Army, and was a member of the 101st Airborne (“Screaming Eagles”). Charlie went on to get 2 masters degrees in business from Southern Illinois University. Charlie was also interested in genealogy and served as President of the Haycraft Family Heritage Association in Kentucky and was very proud of his roots.
Charlie got his start in the automation business back in 1969 when he started working in the supermarket industry. At that time the supermarket industry was starting to utilize bar-coding for inventory management and Charlie
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worked for MSI Data Corporation, which sold the bar-coding equipment to the supermarket chains. Charlie prospered in that industry for many years and even relocated his family from Illinois to southern California in 1975 to pursue that career until the mid 80’s when he purchased a telecommunications contracting company. Venture Data was a successful telecommunications company which served many large accounts in southern California like ARCO, Northrop, County of Orange, Wells Fargo, and Western Digital to name a few. As the telecommunications market saturated in the early 1990’s Charlie started to phase out of that industry and back into the handheld industry where he got his start.
Charlie had initially found out about Service Automation (SAS) in 1993 through a mobilization project he was involved in with an SAS client in Solana Beach, California. While working with Coast Plumbing on a bar-code/handheld project, Charlie did some research on SAS and found that the software had been installed in over 300 locations throughout the US and Canada and that several of the contractors using it were major players in the service/installation industry. What Charlie saw was an excellent opportunity due to the fact that the service/installation industry was moving into the handheld and wireless arena and he could use his expertise in that field to guide them in a cost effective direction.
Charlie purchased Service Automation in 1994 and eventually brought in a programming team for the development of the initial Windows product which was released in 1996 and called SASWIN 2000. Charlie gave me (David Haycraft/VP) the opportunity to come on board as the sales manager for the new product and with the support of our expert programming staff, Heather Fitch, and other previous employees we started selling the new system across the US and Canada. Integrity and perseverance have been the two main attributes that have driven Charlie and Service Automation to succeed in the highly competitive arena of software vendors catering to the service/installation industry. Charlie was heavily involved with the management and sales for Service Automation and even spent most of his time in Houston, Texas for the last 15+ years to guide the company’s’ growth and product direction.
Charlie was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in 2008 and luckily it was detected early enough that surgical removal of the tumor was an option for him. Prior to his surgery Charlie relocated back to Southern California to be with his family full-time and went into semi-retirement but stayed involved with Service Automation until his final days. The surgery and treatments bought Charlie a nice amount of extra time to spend with his family at his home in San Clemente. Charlie will be remembered as a friendly yet professional man that committed his life to the care and comfort of his family and for his adventurous spirit, integrity, and grit.
Charlie has passed on the legacy and ownership of Service Automation to my sister Claudia, my brother Clint, and me. With the commitment from the other SAI staff members that we treat as our extended family we intend to carry on his legacy with his spirit and dedication as our example. We know that your patronage has to be earned and we are committed to refining our products and services to meet your specific needs.
While many software companies operate from a corporate perspective and approach, Service Automation continues to operate from a family owned and operated ideology where the customer matters most. My father’s wish for all of you is that our products and services will assist you in realizing your own dreams of success in your prospective trades. Please help us honor my father’s passing by helping Service Automation grow and improve what we do as your solution provider.
Rest in Peace Charlie. You were a leader and an inspiration to many!!! Your personality and spirit will continue to inspire all who met you and we will do our best at Service Automation to bring forward your legacy with the ambition, integrity, and perseverance that you taught us all!