Dave Tutelman's Thumbnail Biography

I retired in 2002, after 40 years in the field of computers and data communications working for Bell Labs. During that time, I developed hardware (circuits) and software, was a manager for a while, and did advanced R&D and technology forecasting. Over the course of my career, I have also taught courses at the graduate and undergraduate level in computer networking.

I have been married to
Rochelle Honey Tutelman (née Rice) since 1966, and we have two sons. One is a software engineer and the other a pharmacist. My current primary hobbies are playing golf and doing golf technology. We live at the New Jersey shore.

That's the short form. But it didn't really say what I've been up to, so....

I am an engineer.  It's not just what I do, it's who I am. In 2002, I retired from a 40-year career, almost all of it with Bell Labs. But I remain an engineer. It has always been how I approach things, and it still is even in retirement.


After graduating from the Bronx High School of Science in 1958, I got a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering at the City College of New York. I followed that with a Master's in EE at MIT. I was really interested in computers, but there was no such thing as a degree in Computer Science at the time. In the mid-'60s, when the University of Pennsylvania introduced a CS major, I enrolled to study for a PhD. I finished all the coursework and passed the qualifying exam but didn't finish my dissertation, feeling I had already gotten all the educational value I was going to. The additional year would be more credential-building than learning.


One of the wonderful things about working for Bell Labs was that it was so big and varied that it was possible to change jobs without changing your employer. I had an incredible variety of work assignments during my nearly 40 years with the company. Most of them had to do with data communications in one form or another. Here are some idea of the things I've had the chance to do over the years:
  • Hardware development. I did electronic engineering -- circuit development -- early in my career. Of course I worked on the usual datacomm fare of modems and multiplexers. But I also got to do early work on the architecture of bit-sliced microprocessor chips, a field in which I hold a few patents. I also did design of instrumentation for data communications; I have always been interested in measurement instruments of all kinds. One of my contributions was to push, sometimes successfully, for the digitization of the Bell System's instrumentation.
  • Software development. I have developed software for telephone switches, PBXs, mainframe computers, personal computers, and Internet servers. I have programmed at the machine-language level, intermediate languages including C++, and as machine-independent a level as Java. In fact, I even developed a real-time-critical application in Java -- that was an interesting challenge.
  • Technical management. I became a supervisor in 1968. Until about 1980, a first-level engineering supervisor at Bell Labs was mostly a project leader, a role I loved. Then, fairly suddenly, the management work ("bean-counting", schedule tracking, salary administration, etc) expanded and drove out any technical work; it even sucked up the time for mentoring my people. I discovered I really didn't like it, and consequently wasn't very good at it. One of the nice things about the Bell Labs culture is that it is possible to "resign your commision" and go back to being a techie. In 1986, I did that and have been smiling about my job ever since.
  • The Internet. Anybody whose career was data communications from 1962 through 2002 has to have been intimately involved with the evolution of The Internet. And I was! I have used email in my daily work since the 1970s. I participated actively in newsgroups (an Internet forum before the World Wide Web came along) as early as 1982. My last few job assignments before I retired included development of PC-based internet mail software, a security firewall for big companies to protect their Internet access, and Voice Over IP servers (how telephone calls get transmitted over the Internet today).
  • Technology forecasting. Over the period from 1979 to the early 1990s, I had quite a few opportunities to assess the implications of new technologies and to do 5-year forecasts of where computer and communication technology were going. These were very exciting work assignments. For instance, around 1980 my group did studies of the feasibility of telephone access via cable TV, broadband data via cable TV, and a high-speed packet network carrying telephone and video traffic as well as data. It took until the 2000s for those to become real businesses, but we blue-skied the technology back then. In fact, I now get my telecommunications services at home that way: telephone, TV, and broadband data via digital fiber (and cable before that), and my telephone calls travel over the Internet packet network.
  • International negotiation. During the 1970s,  I was Bell Labs' delegate to several national and international standards committees involved in data communications. It was my job to negotiate datacomm interface standards in the interest of AT&T and what its products could and would do. It required traveling all over the world, until we had our second child and I requested an assignment with less travel.
  • Teaching. Bell Labs offers graduate-level courses to its employees in relevant technologies. I taught several of these courses. Notable among them was the course in Computer Networking. In 1977, I designed that course from scratch, and taught it the first time it was offered.
  • Paralegal. At several times during my career, I was an in-house consultant to the legal and patent staff. But, for a few months in 1983, my involvement with legal issues was much deeper. My group's assignment was to negotiate a half-dozen software development deals with software companies around the country. Bell Labs and AT&T lawyers were simply not up-to-date on software law, so I put my group and myself through a crash course in software law and we did the contracts ourselves. We must have done it OK; the legal department wound up using the form contract we developed as Bell Labs' standard software contract well into the 1990s.
When the bottom fell out of the telecom market in 2001, I was surprised to be one of the survivors of a huge layoff. But, with only a quarter of the people left on my project, it just wasn't fun any more. By early 2002, I had had enough and retired.

The year after I retired, I tried teaching at the college level. As an adjunct professor at The College of New Jersey (what used to be called Trenton State), I taught computer networking to MIS majors. I was unimpressed with the desire of today's undergraduates to actually learn the material -- as opposed to sit through four years and collect a degree. That was too frustrating, and I have no intention to try it again. Perhaps I was spoiled by having taught in-house courses to motivated and very smart Bell Labs engineers.


OK, that's the job story. What about my personal life? Yes, I have one. (As I mentioned above, I changed jobs to have more time with my family.)

2016 marked 50 years of marriage to Rochelle Honey Tutelman (née Rice). We have raised two sons:
  • Jeff was born in 1971 and is a computer/software engineer. He is married to Robin Ventriglia Tutelman, and they have twin sons born early in 2013. They live about 40 minutes drive from us, and we see them often.
  • Dan was born in 1975 and is a pharmacist -- his second career, originally getting a degree in English and teaching high school. He lives and works in Arizona.
I'm glad that, while they were growing up, I got away from the office enough to do things with them. I was their music mentor (and occasionally instructor; I play a few instruments), and their soccer coach (I coached teams in the town's recreation program for a dozen years).

As for hobbies, the most important ones have been in music and sports.

Music: I come from a musical family. In addition to monitoring my sons' instrumental practice, I play music myself. My primary instrument is piano. I have also learned banjo and a little clarinet (the former for long bus rides -- see "skiing" below -- and the latter to practice with Jeff when he took up clarinet). In addition, I have been involved in electronic music: some performing and some technical, including both circuit and software development.

  • In graduate school, I learned to ski and sail. That's a nice combination, because the seasons do not overlap. I skiied for many years, until at about age 50 I decided my increased brittleness and declining healing powers would make it too dangerous.
  • I enjoyed sailing throughout the late '60s and the '70s. For much of that time, I belonged to the Monmouth Boat Club and raced in the Albacore class, a 15-foot planing sailboat. In 1975, I was the Northeast District champion and tenth at the US National championships.
  • From 1967 through 1995, I was always in at least one recreational volleyball league, and once as many as three leagues.
  • When my sons proved not to be interested in sailing, I turned to coaching them in soccer and getting my own exercise on a bicycle. While I was never a competitor in bicycling, I found it a good way to keep fit without the boredom or the pounding of running. In my 40s, I was cycling about 120 miles per week in season. I rode at least once or twice a week until I was 67, when a nagging knee problem made it painful to chug uphill.
  • In 1986, I began playing golf again; I had played as a teenager and when I was in college. Now that I'm retired, I get to play three times a week. Now into my 80s, I still walk the course -- and finally can sometimes shoot my age.
Sports Technology: As I said when I started, I am an engineer. When I participate in a sport, I often get involved in the technical end of it as well. This includes:
  • When I was sailing competitively in 1971, I built a centerboard whose design I optimized by computer, which was one of the early applications of Computer Aided Design (CAD) to sports. Having derived the equations, I had the computer draw the templates on hardboard using a flatbed plotter. For the next few years, nobody won an Albacore US national championship without first borrowing my templates and building a centerboard.
  • If you were a serious cyclist who did his own maintenance in the late '80s and also used a PC, there's a good chance you downloaded and used my "BikeGear" program to design your gearing ratios.
  • When I got back into golf in the late '80s, I started building my own clubs from components. But, being an engineer, I wanted to know more about how golf clubs really worked -- and there wasn't much around except the propaganda from the club manufacturers. So I did my own research, and published my findings on the Internet. By the time I retired from Bell Labs, I was getting calls from companies in the golf business to do consulting. Since I'm retired, my fees depend mostly on my interest in the project; if I see a high hobby value in it, I'll do it for free. And I do freelance a lot of projects I come up with myself. Things I have done in golf technology include:
  • My tutorial on how golf clubs work has been the first text of a surprisingly large number of custom clubfitters, both professional and amateur.
  • Of course, I fit and build almost all of my own clubs. I also build the occasional club or set for family and friends, but I am not a professional clubmaker.
  • I have designed and built my own shaft flex instruments, including a frequency meter, an EI meter and (along with Dan Neubecker) the NeuFinder 4. Using these instruments, I have profiled shafts for Graman shafts, Mercury Golf, AccuFlex, and others.
  • Along with Frank Schmidberger, I am the co-developer of TrajectoWare Drive, a golf ball trajectory computer application.
  • I have done consulting and technical writing for The Golf Institute in Naples, Florida. That included the screenwriting for an educational video on golf clubs.
  • I have done occasional consulting for The Golf Coast of  Santa Ana, California.
  • I have profiled shafts for Graman shafts, Mercury Golf, True Temper, and others.
  • I have been the beta tester for several computer applications for clubmakers and club researchers.
  • Just because it's interesting, I have done analytical studies (and articles on my web site) on:
  • I have been an officer of two companies that make golf training aids: Pro-Head Golf and Aim-Sense Technologies.
  • Starting in 2010, I have gotten involved in the physics of the golf swing as well as the club, which has brought me into collaboration with biomechanists like Sasho MacKenzie, as well as noted instructors like Jim Mclean and Martin Hall. I have been in the middle of some of the more interesting disputes in golf biomechanics in the past half-dozen years. Exciting!

Last changed  --  3/24/2022