Remembering Frederick S. Burtelson (1922-2007)

Frederick Burtelson is the name and the ingenuity behind Burtelson Security Labs.

 

Fred Burtelson began his career after serving in the United States Coast Guard during World War II. He trained in telecom engineering in the late 1940's, and his first job was splicing cable for the Illinois Bell Telephone Company in Chicago. In the mid 1950's, Fred invented a key product for Bell Laboratories that began his march forward within the company.

 

And march he did! In the 1970's, Fred was asked by AT&T to relocate to AT&T's corporate headquarters in New York, and later in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. It was there that Fred's

promotion into executive leadership would define his professional life. Fred was responsible for some of the most innovative engineering milestones in the history of AT&T and the Bell system. But these heralded successes were typically downplayed by a reserved Fred

Burtelson who enjoyed a sense of accomplishment more than public recognition. During this time, Fred headed one of many task forces responsible for combating phone phreakers. He led AT&T engineering teams in experiments that sought to change how switching equipment communicated within its networks. Fred worked in this role and others until moving back to Chicago and reclaiming a senior leadership position with Illinois Bell.

 

In 1984, two years after AT&T was forced to relinquish control of the Bell Operating Companies, Fred retired from Illinois Bell.

Retiring at a relatively young age and enjoying good health, Fred and his wife, Lorraine, traveled the world and spent time with their children and grandchildren. It was soon after that Fred began teaching one of his grandchildren a hobby that would spark a career and a company.

 

In the late 1980's, Robert Stauss became an apprentice at the age of seven. Fred took Robert to his former Illinois Bell offices in Chicago, where he taught him how to dumpster dive for hardware parts, manuals, and anything else that one could use to build components and learn how they work. It was soon after that Robert, under Fred's instruction, built his first working blue box. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

Fred Burtelson was a businessman, an engineer, an inventor, and an innovator. But most of all, Fred was a family man and a devout Christian. He loved his God, his family, and his country. He also happened to make a profound impact on those who had the privilege of working with him and knowing him.

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