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Cal Poly Memories - by Emeritus Professor George R. Mach, Mathematics, 1954-1991

SESLOC Memories

Some folks call me the "Founder of SESLOC" or the "Father of SESLOC," neither of which is the case. SESLOC was founded in 1942, long before I came on the scene, but I did have an interesting part in the history of our local credit union.

The original field of membership (School Employees San Luis Obispo County) was eventually expanded to include Cal Poly. In the early 50's Don Wright was the president and Milo Whitson was the vice president. The treasurer (and hence SESLOC's "location") was shifted to Cal Poly's Mathematics Department. Clyde Fisher was the treasurer in 1953 and Vol Folsom took it in 1954. One year seemed to be about each person's limit. I was appointed treasurer in June of 1955.

In those days Cal Poly had about two dozen old surplus army buildings, called cubicles, located where Engineering West is now. SESLOC was located in the bottom two right- hand drawers of my desk in the Mathematics Department in CU-G. Every day at 3 p.m., I closed my grade book, pulled out the SESLOC ledger, and the credit union was open for business (until 5 p.m. or whenever I could get away).

In 1955, SESLOC had one employee (me) and owned an accounts ledger and two rubber stampers - no adding machine, no file cabinet, nothing. I figured loan payments using my slide rule. (Now SESLOC has over 100 employees in four locations.) Frequently the books didn't balance at the end of the month. Then I would take everything home. Mary Ruth and I would spread it all out from one end of the living room to the other and recreate every transaction of the month until we got it right.

In 1956 the Mathematics Department moved about 100 yards to the old Agricultural Education Building, and SESLOC moved with me, still in my bottom two desk drawers. We soon purchased an accounting machine and hired a clerk to work two hours a day. That was the end of the "one-man band."

SESLOC stayed in the Mathematics Department as a 3 to 5 p.m. operation with me as a part-time treasurer until 1960. I remember the first car SESLOC ever repossessed. There was a divorce or separation, and we had the address of the wife in Los Angeles who had the car. I asked my friend and SESLOC member, Jim Wills, to go with me. We took a chain and some rope, drove to L.A. and found the house with the car parked in front.

Fearlessly, we knocked on the door and said that we had come for the car. After a few minutes wait, the lady produced the keys and gave them to us. Surprise, the car started. We drove to a nearby used car lot. The man sized us up pretty well and offered us $100. We tried another lot, getting the same offer, and so we sold the car and drove home.

Julian McPhee was Cal Poly's president in those days. He liked to buy used Chrysler Crown Imperial cars and had his motor pool manager, Jim Carrington, pick out his next one to upgrade. When President McPhee got ready to trade, he had to come to me because I had his pink slip. He didn't have any trouble getting his loan approved by the credit committee.

Well, five years was pretty long for a part- time treasurer, and the credit union really needed to grow. Cal Poly gave SESLOC its own room in the Ag Ed Building and we subscribed to our very own telephone. I picked out the number, 543-1816. After 18 years of existence, SESLOC was finally listed in the phone book. Steve Hickenbottom replaced me, and SESLOC had a full time treasurer for the first time starting in 1960. -- George Mach


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