Martin Brooks

Though I lived in the Bronx and most of my junior high school friends were admitted to Bronx Science, I decided to attend Brooklyn Tech because of Tech’s Electronics major. I especially loved my junior and senior years at Tech when I was able to focus on my major. I was also co-editor-in-chief of the 1968 yearbook.

I actually attended Bronx Science for a short time during the 1966 transit strike, however, when students were instructed to go to a local school if we couldn’t get to our own high school. I will confess that I did enjoy the company of my female classmates and, for a very brief moment, considered transferring to Science.

I attended Northeastern University for Engineering, New York Institute of Technology for Media, NYU for TV and Film and later, Brooklyn College and NYU for Education, as well as a certificate program from the University of Warwick in the UK. My career reflected that diversity as well.

I started my career as a recording engineer and producer at independent recording studios, the United Nations, and, later, a division of CBS. I also spent a term teaching Television Production at Erasmus High School. As a recording engineer, I met and worked with musicians, politicians, media executives, actors, directors, authors, publishers, critics and business executives. Among them were Johnny Winter, Melissa Manchester, Dennis Wilson, Pete Seeger, Dick Cavett, Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steve Allen, Clive Davis, Dustin Hoffman, Kurt Vonnegut, Theodore H. White, Gunter Grass, Pat Weaver, Norman Lear, Steve Miller, Phoebe Snow, Nat Hentoff, the actors behind the Muppets, and many others.

At Tech, we had an IBM 1130 mini-computer and were taught FORTRAN. I studied it further in my first year in college. Never thought I’d use it. But around 1980, when I was managing the recording studios and audio-visual development at a publishing division of CBS, the executive editor of the science department walked into my office and asked me to make copies of data cassettes. I then had to study how to load those tapes into the earliest microcomputers and I discovered that the programs were written in BASIC, which seemed like “easy FORTRAN”. I got more and more involved and eventually became director of software development, responsible for the development of software applications for the education market. That never would have happened if I had not been introduced to programming at Tech.

In 1985, Microsoft held the first CD-ROM Convention and in 1986, I joined R.R. Bowker, the publisher of Books In Print and many other metadata databases, as executive editor of electronic publishing, to produce their CD-ROM products. Over time, we acquired other companies and produced over 30 CD-ROM products (as well as online databases) and when I left in 1996, I held the title was senior vice president and publisher.

I became an independent consultant after that and, in 1998, I joined Bertelsmann’s BOL.COM enterprise, which was planned as an e-commerce venture in 22 countries. One positive aspect of that job was extensive European travel. However, Bertelsmann cancelled the U.S. launch and invested in Barnes and Noble’s e-commerce operation instead.

I also consulted for other companies, including Dolby Laboratories, and, in 2005, started full time consulting for a New York City and India-based tech company where I was responsible for the development of a business-to-business application that manages contractual and intellectual property rights, which is used by the major cable networks. A related application is used by the major professional sports leagues.

In more recent years, I’ve done photography, videography and created websites for musicians. I also developed a comprehensive website about New York City radio, primarily covering the growth of FM radio in the 1960s-1980s.

I also happily participated in Tech’s Career Days and loved meeting with the Tech students of today. I was glad to hear recently that Career Day will be held again in the future.

I have a wonderful daughter who has her own design and web development company, a granddaughter who is soon graduating college and is a singer-songwriter with tracks available on all the streaming services, and a young grandson who loves to ski and is a talented illustrator.