A long time ago, in a state very far away from where he lives now, Colie Wertz was about to face his biggest fear: using a computer.
Though he would go on to design sophisticated models for films in the “Star Wars” franchise, “Men in Black” and “Galaxy Quest” – among many, many movies – he got a late introduction to this vital tool of modern technology.
The architecture major graduated from Clemson University in the early ’90s without using a computer, thanks to people who typed his papers for him when his print-perfect penmanship wasn’t enough.
“The notion of actually using a computer to get the same visceral feel of building a model was alien to me,” says Wertz, whose love of models grew from studying airplanes in his family’s World Book Encyclopedias and then later drawing the covers from model kits.
But in the summer after he graduated, he successfully built a model for a new grocery store in Charleston, South Carolina, so his new employer wanted him to do more work and gave him a computer.
“I told them, ‘Oh, we gotta talk,’” he says, explaining his lack of experience with the technology. “It was the first time I used a computer.”
But he hunkered down, learning software called PowerDraw that could import CAD (computer-aided design) drawings on a Mac clone (he thinks it was a PowerComputing machine). But his real breakthrough with technology came later, with a move that would set him up for the rest of his life.
Find out what happens to Wertz at Microsoft Stories.