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Peter Tedder: Of Efficiency and Orange Juice

Peter Tedder
Peter Tedder ’85

When picking up a carton of orange juice, people typically think of leafy citrus trees and sunshine—not computer programming. But for the last 30 years, Peter Tedder (Computer Science ’85) has been a key player in improving efficiency at PepsiCo’s Tropicana.

While progressing from an IT analyst to an IT operations senior analyst, Peter has used his time to provide necessary support, useful programs, and analytical skills. “I like helping users to resolve their issues and to come up with solutions for their request, which helps them do their job better and faster,” he said.

Peter first learned about Pensacola Christian College after seeing a catalog while at a friend’s house. He liked how the catalog presented the College, and, in 1981, he and his twin brother began their attendance. “For my first semester at PCC, I put down the classes I wanted to take,” he said. “My advisor looked over the classes that I selected and said that it looked like the computer science program. With his advice, I changed my major to computer science, for which I am greatly grateful.”

Peter Tedder with Dr. Arlin and Beka Horton.

In 1995, Peter Tedder began as an IT analyst at Tropicana in Bradenton, Florida, the company’s most productive orange juice plant in the U.S. Over his time there, he provided baseline support and development for several applications used for account purchasing and reports, electronic data purchasing and customer service applications, and broker applications. One of his programs supported an application that automated creating new barcodes for new parts—a process that was regularly lost between new users.

Peter’s program creates two files and transfers them to a file transfer protocol (FTP) server. Overnight, another one of his programs—a batch program—downloads these two files to a computer for use. “The user would run a MS Access program that would link to these two files on this PC, which would allow the user to print barcode labels for new parts that were created the day before,” Peter said.

Another program automated client ticket verification that eliminated the need to hire seasonal work to sort through several hundred tickets one-at-a-time. “I created a Java program that recorded each step (keystrokes) the user had to go through for each ticket, which may be ten screens,” he explained. “The user would click on the program to run from their PC, which would go through each outstanding ticket and verify that ticket. This process would only take a few seconds to minutes. After the user runs this program, there would only be a few tickets left with issues that the users would have to manually verify, which may be 0 to 10 tickets a day, instead of 200 to 500 tickets a day.”

Peter Tedder standing and looking at a computer.

As a senior IT specialist with the company since 2002, Peter has done far more at Tropicana. Peter continued to provide baseline support for SAP plant maintenance, while also managing materials and IBM mainframe applications and overseeing a support team of employees and consultants. For the support team, he develops project plans and provides weekly status and metric updates to senior leadership. “God helped me to not give up and to find solutions for when I was faced with difficult challenges,” he said, citing Philippians 4:13 and 19.

Peter has been grateful for the skills he gained and the always-improving mindset he has retained since his time at PCC. “I took COBOL programming at PCC, which I use for one of the applications that I support at work,” he said. “PCC helped me get my foot in the door at Tropicana by taking a computer operations class working on the Burroughs system, which Tropicana was using also, even though I was hired in the computer operations and data center to support the IBM Mainframe. Tropicana had two operating systems which were Burroughs system and IBM Mainframe.”

Since first joining, Peter Tedder has been able to use his skills to better work and customer experiences at Tropicana. “There were many appreciation or ‘great job’ awards from the user group for reports, programs, and solutions that I came up with to help make their work life easier,” he said. “PCC helped me to get into the computer programming group from the operations group by having a B.S. degree in Computer Science.”

Check out PCC’s engineering department for majors in computer science and information technology.

Read more about how God is directing and working through PCC faculty and alumni.