After 35 years with the company, DST Output vice president of Business Development Ray Matteson retired on Jan. 4.
“Leaving DST Output is a significant milestone,” Matteson said. “But it doesn’t mean I’m going to retire so much as just find something different to do.”
“I don’t think retirement is something you should aspire to do, instead aspire to financial freedom to be in charge of your own time,” he added.
“I’ve known Ray since I’ve been with the company — more than 30 years,” said Karl Turner, executive vice president of Operations. “We’ve worked on some significant deals together, and he was extremely instrumental in building CableData. Ray was the key sales guy who would get the deals, and then I’d do the conversions. We go back a long way.”
Matteson’s relationship with the company started even before that, as operations manager of a cable company in Tulsa, Okla. There, he used reporting software developed by CableData founder Robert (Bob) Mathews. “I was one of CableData’s customers,” Matteson said, adding that his putting together a lengthy channel lineup — 30 channels instead of the standard 3 — was a precursor to cable development in bigger cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
When Matteson joined what is now DST Output in 1975, it was U.S. Computer Systems doing business as CableData. “Our business was primarily batch billing and we key punched a lot of the billing. Coupon billing was the predominant method of billing back then. It was a lot of manual work. Technology has dramatically changed how we and our clients produce billing information,” he reflected.
Throughout his tenure, Matteson served in a sales, marketing and customer service role for the company. “At one time when we had regional customer service centers across the country; I headed up all three areas,” he said.
Matteson transitioned into the telecommunications business when Bob Mathews died in 1986, and has primarily focused on bringing in larger deals for the company. He was responsible for landing several major telecommunications accounts which he said, “put us on the map as a real contender and allowed us to go public.”
Eventually U.S. Computer Services went public as USCS International, including its billing division International Billing Services (IBS). Matteson said, “Going public was huge,” and he recalled stock prices soaring.
When DST Systems later acquired IBS it became part of Output Technologies, and the acquiring name and acquisition name married into DST Output. In the course of his time with the company Matteson worked for six different CEO/presidents and through three different capital structures — private to public to merging with DST Systems.
It all goes back to Matteson’s business tenet, “The people are what make any company. I have always enjoyed working with our customers. The thing I’ll miss the most are the people I work with and the customers I’ve worked with, and I hope we keep in touch.”