Retired Sarasota man ran parts plant for NCR

Note: This is one in a continuing series of interviews with former executives who have retired in the Manatee-Sarasota area.

SARASOTA -- Stop by the ATM to grab $20 lately? Chances are Robert Bertelsbeck played at least a small role in helping your cash pop out.

The Sarasota County retiree spent more than two decades running the worldwide parts logistics center in Atlanta for NCR Corp., what's now a $5.2 billion technology company known best for its ATM solutions.

With a background in finance, Bertelsbeck oversaw the team responsible for inventory, warehouse management, internal repairs facilities and parts support for 16,000 technicians in the U.S. and overseas.

At 69, Bertelsbeck now volunteers as a counselor for Manasota SCORE, where he helps inspiring entrepreneurs makes sense of their financial situation. The Cleveland native also helps keep the money in check at his homeowner association, serving as treasurer for several years.

Q: How did you first get started with NCR?

A: I went to work for a CRA firm after school. I spent seven years there. I was assigned as a field guy for NCR, who was our client, and they hired me. Most people who go to work for a CRA firm don't make a career out of it. It's heavy travel. I was gone probably 70 percent of the time. My daughter was 15 months old at the time, and at one point, I was gone for a while, and when I came back, she took one look at me, and ran crying for her mother. After that, I was done. I knew it was time to change careers.

Q: What was your time at NCR like?

A: I worked my way into a management role with the parts operation in Atlanta, and I spent 15 years doing that. That was one of the best jobs in the company. We had good people. It really was a good environment. The facility was responsible for all of the logistics of the parts support for 16,000 technicians both in the U.S. and overseas. We did warehouse and inventory management. We also had our internal parts facilities. I did that until 1993. After the AT&T merger in the early 1990s, there was a change in management philosophy so I retired at 50 years old.

Q: Were you ready to hang up the hat?

A: No, I wasn't ready to retire at 50. At that age, you still feel like you have some gas in the tank. I spent the next year looking for a job and realized it was tough for a 50-year-old guy. I went for nine months and had

nothing. Then one day in 1994, I had two job interviews and two job offers in the same day. I went to work for Fritz, a freight company that was later purchased by UPS after I left. I worked there from 1994 to 1998 running the warehouse operation. I decided it was time to get out of Atlanta, so I came here in 1998 and never looked back.

Q: Why did you decide to retire in the Manatee-Sarasota area?

A: This is one of the finest places in the U.S. to live. The people are good. The weather is good, especially in the winter time. There's just not a lot of negatives about this part of Florida. When I first came down I did some consulting stuff, and I have been fully retired for about six or seven years now.

Q: What do you do with your time now when you're not volunteering with SCORE?

A: Golf is my hobby. I'm not very good at it, but I do that some. I'm still involved a little in my HOA, and the other thing we like to do is putt around with our house. Nothing major, but little remodels and landscape projects -- things that keep the mind active and fresh. I'm also interested in new technology. It's the wave of the future, and I want to know how all this stuff works, and what these people are thinking.

Josh Salman, Herald business writer, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @JoshSalman.