As a small child, Charlie Morris's mom labeled her son a gadget freak. He used to spend his free time dissembling motorized toy cars to see what made them tick. Today, at 43, he is still mesmerized by machinery. As chief technology officer for Princeton Financial Systems (PFS) in Princeton, which develops and sells portfolio management software to big investors, Morris plans the future of the company's software products, as well as managing the computing hardware.
Years ago his boyhood technical interest led him to work with computers in high school. "This was before the era of desktop computers," he explains. "I took a programming class, one of the first of its kind for the mid-seventies, and began programming in FORTRAN IV using punch cards. I was very excited by the things you could do. I knew pretty early on that computers were in my future."
Morris graduated from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1982 with a B.S. degree in experimental psychology and a double minor in mathematics and computer science. "I ended up majoring in experimental psychology because it dealt explicitly with understanding the nature of problems and problem solving, a skill critically important in technology jobs," he notes. He went on to work as a programmer and to attend Villanova University in Radnor, Pennsylvania in the evenings, earning a Masters of Science degree in computer science in 1990.
He launched his career handling programming for military systems for Planning Research Corporation in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania in 1982. Ultimately, he came to Princeton Financial Systems in 1993.
While he admits that he couldn't have predicted the twists and turns his career would take, he says it has been an "interesting, fun, and rewarding journey." Morris adds that those who understand that the tech field is not a static one can always survive, even if the economy takes a downturn.