That’s right, on February 8th, 1979, Ahlers & Associates was officially formed as a corporation by Joe Ahlers! He didn’t name his new company Ahlers & Associates originally, he named it Retail Accounting and Control. Catchy name huh?! Joe was a CPA at a retail company based in Waco Texas and formed the company to tap into the huge potential of the power of computers, which were not yet available to the masses and were quite expensive. The purpose of his new company was to assist small to medium sized retailers with their bookkeeping chores by renting time on a mainframe computer and doing their bookkeeping work, thereby eliminating the 15-column ledger paper which was quite prevalent at the time. He hired a few programmers and a couple of data entry staff and was off to the races! Keep in mind that in 1979 there was no such thing as a personal computer, or iPod, or smartphone. Microsoft and Apple were in their infancy, Jimmy Carter was President, and Roger Staubach was entering his final season as quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.
So, how did Ahlers get involved in Title X data collection and reporting? Well, shortly after Title X became law in the early 70’s a company named Informatix got a contract with the federal government to gather Title X data and generate reports to justify the expenditure of Title X funds. After many hiccups, the feds decided not to pursue nationwide data collection and the contract was ended. Meanwhile, shortly after starting Ahlers & Associates, Joe started volunteering at the Planned Parenthood of Central Texas. The executive director and he became friends, and they started talking about data collection and Medicaid billing systems and how cumbersome it was for the staff to do it all manually. Joe had the bright idea to create a system to automate these functions, and the rest is history! Ahlers started processing Title X data and Medicaid billing for Texas providers in 1980, got the data contract for the 4 states in federal Region X in 1981, the New York state contract in 1983, and many more after that. And, even today, we still process Title X data for all providers in Texas and Medicaid billing claims for many, Title X data for all but 1 state in Region X, and just got renewed for 5 more years in New York!
Many things have changed over the past 40 years. Ahlers was the first company to offer a PC-based software program which enabled Title X clinics to submit error-free electronic CVRs to a Title X Data System. We were the first company to develop a web-based reporting tool, Build A Report, for state and agency personnel to run their own user-defined reports. We were the first company to process over a million Title X records a year, then 2 million, then 3 million. And we are still the largest processor of Title X records nationwide.
And, some things have NOT changed over the past 40 years. Ahlers & Associates is still owned by Joe Ahlers, who retired in 2007 but still comes by for lunch a couple of times a week to make sure his son Rich is running the company properly. We still have many of the same employees, many of whom started with the company during the first 5 years of its’ existence. There’s an old joke around here that if you don’t have at least 10 years of service, you’re still a rookie! Joe and Rich are very grateful for the loyalty and dedication all of the Ahlers associates have given over all of these years. We wouldn’t still be here without them!
We also wouldn’t still be here without many of the same clients who have been with us since 1979, both at the statewide level and provider level. We cannot thank you enough for the faith you have shown in a little computer company from Waco, Texas. We will continue to work hard to keep that faith, and provide you with the products and services you need to fulfill your mission. Here’s to another 40!