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Join the celebration - Lifetime IBM Champion Dusty Rivers


On June 1, 1977 :

  • Sir Duke by the legendary Stevie Wonder was at the top of the Billboard Charts
  • The British Virgin Islands adopts a constitution
  • Dutch soccer club FC Volendam is established
  • Dusty Rivers begins what is to become an illustrious mainframe career. 


I recently joined the IBM zSystems and LinuxONE Community and Advocacy team, and Dusty was one of the
first to offer a warm welcome and continued guidance. 

I was excited to have the opportunity to sit down with Dusty Rivers, Director of zSystems at Adaptigent and
IBM Lifetime Champion for zSystems, Dusty Rivers, just ahead of his significant milestone of 45 years working
on the mainframe. 


Shari:     Dusty, I know you've been excited for today. How did you get started on the mainframe?

Dusty:     When I started after college (45 years ago) the mainframe was the only computing platform that was viable. I started in COBOL
and database. Since then I have moved to system programming and then to architecture. The things I am doing today were not around
when I started (web, mobile cloud).


Shari:    As technology has evolved, what has kept you working as a mainframer vs. branching out into another tech area?

Dusty:    Throughout my career I have been working on new ways to include the mainframe into technology as it evolved, from
interfacing with Web apps, to distributed apps and now to clouds apps, the challenges have always been fun.

Shari:     Looking back across your career, what are the three achievements you are most proud of?

Dusty:   Most importantly is that for the past 45 years I’ve been able to balance my family and career.  After this exciting career anniversary,
I’ll be excited to celebrate my 45th wedding anniversary.   Second, I am passionate about giving back, and I love that I have been able to
mentor new people, as well as, being an advocate and speaker to share my experiences with others.  Finally, I can look back and see many
of the systems today running and adding value to those corporations that I helped design their architectures and API’s.


Shari:  You are active in a number of communities – how important is that to you? 

Dusty:   I think “giving back” and paying it forward are important factors that I believe in. I am involved with sharing what I know that can help
others in their quest for success in their jobs.  I also believe that the more you share the more you keep the community viable and thriving.
You have to bring new people along with you on your journey.


Shari:   IBM Champions are the pinnacle of Advocacy – paving the path for technologists that follow. What does advocacy mean to you?

Dusty:  Advocacy means sharing, mentoring and giving back, It also means joining forces with others of the same mindset or even different to
gain greater influence and power for others.


Shari:    What advice would you give someone starting out on mainframes, or considering going into it?

Dusty:  The market is wide open and will be growing and changing in the years to come, the mainframe is not dying, its adapting with the
changes of the industry. There are jobs and there are demands.


Shari:    Dusty, you are so much more than a mainframer / technologist what is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Dusty:   I am an avid rock fan (Metallica), and I have passed that down to my son and grandson, Many people don’t know that I have three
married children and 8 grandchildren.


Shari:    “Mainframe Rocks” is a mantra of yours, is there a history behind it?

Dusty:     As an avid rock music fan many of my analogies are music based. In the past we had a Rock Band party at Insight and SHARE, that
was called “Rocking the Mainframe”, so that was an extension. Most of the people I meet in the mainframe community are all music fans, so
yes The Mainframe Rocks.


Shari:    Who inspires you?

Dusty:    My family inspires me to be the best person I can be, and the statement by my grandson tells it all “Pops can do anything”

Please join me in congratulating Dusty on an impressive career that continues to provide additional opportunities through his work, community
engagement, and advocacy.  Whether you are a student, new in your career or a seasoned professional, there are so many ways to get engaged,
build skills, grow your own eminence and give back to others.  You’ll be able to catch Dusty, in person, at SHARE Columbus in August.


Three ways you can get started:  

  1. Join the  Fans of IBM zSystems Hub to earn badges, amplify your advocacy efforts, and start your own journey to becoming an IBM Champion.
  2. If you  are a student and want to explore what a career in enterprise computing could look like, join IBM zSystems Global Student Hub
  3. Join the IBM Z and LinuxONE Community, then find the user group that is right for you. 




Wed June 29, 2022 03:00 PM

Congratulations Dusty! Still rocking and driving the Mainframes' success :-)

Fri June 10, 2022 12:02 PM

Congratulations fellow guru, success on your journey.

A jedi master in Mainframe, best wishes.

Wed June 01, 2022 03:32 PM

Dusty, Congratulations on your amazing 45th anniversary milestone!! You are an inspiration, rock star and role model for the entire global IBM zSystems Community and we appreciate all that you do!