Sid Preston was the founder of PDI. By the time of the Great War, he had become known as the "greatest entrepreneur since Ford".
Sid was raised in the countryside of Pennsylvania, alongside his brother, Paul. They were of Amish descent, and as such lived apart from the hustle and bustle of any majorly populated areas. Sid's early life was relatively unremarkable otherwise.
Once he had reached the age of 18, he and his brother took a tour of the "civilized" world, and Sid was, for the first time, introduced to the concept of capitalism. It was love at first sight, and Sid immediately began to plan for his undertaking: the founding of a company. Paul, who had reached that age two years before, joined his brother. In 2045, Paul joined the military and began to funnel money to his brother for their project.
Early adulthood and the founding of PDIEdit
In 2050, Sid purchased a terminal database and a small office in Pittsburgh. Paul was serving a tour in China meanwhile. Sid filed the proper paperwork and opened his "data company" in 2051. This was to form the basis of PDI later on, but in 2051 the company was a total failure.
Sid, penniless by 2053, migrated to Maryland, where his brother had some contacts. After Paul made a few calls, Sid was set up with another office, this time in Rockville, and Paul was there to aid Sid in the opening. Initially, the plan was to have multiple terminals to be accessed on the streets for a minor fee of 25$ per inquiry. However, this was to prove problematic, as the first few terminals were constantly failing due to weather and suspicious activity by the first consumers. More than once, the money-collection box had been broken into.
Thus Sid began to draft designs of the first "hard-network" system, where only packets of information, rather than whole documents, would be sent electronically. He used the first version of this in a small, local network, and gradually tested it outwards. Finally, he charged a few of his friends for a month's worth of access, and after this testing he began to market it to the public.
In 2057, Sid began his famous marketing campaign. He bought billboard space all over Rockville and the surrounding countryside, put up bus-side ads, and even went so far as to hire telemarketers. Attention was finally being given to the upstart company and its founder. Sid adjusted the prices he had charged in the beta testing and the cash began to flow in. Sid, as quoted by his brother, was "as happy as a man could be, given the circumstances". What he was referring to was the war.
By 2059, Sid had purchased two more network centers in Bethesda and Silver Spring, and had 4 million subscribers. Paul, who had been effectively shunted aside, retired as co-founder of the company. Sid, though feeling remorseful, as though he had purposefully ousted his own brother, spent less time working and more time with his family in Pennsylvania.
In 2067, Sid was contacted by the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. General Babcock, who was leading the occupational force in Canada, wanted to buy a version of Sid's hard-networking system. Though quite wary of the military, seeing that many companies had already been absorbed by them, Sid agreed. He formulated an encryption software and integrated it into his networking system.
And Babcock bought it for several million dollars.
Later life and deathEdit
Preston, now with more money at once than PDI had made since its founding, decided to retire. He purchased a large estate in the Frederick County countryside, which he moved to almost immediately. PDI, which had quickly been absorbed by the government after being left to one of Preston's subordinates, continued to provide Preston with a pension of one million US Dollars per financial quarter, and as a result the man lived in relative ease all the way up until the Food Riots began just prior to the Great War.
Preston was targeted numerous times for the luxury in which he lived, while the less well-off of the Commonwealth were forced to make do with almost nothing. His property was vandalized, his house burned down twice, and he had his pension checks intercepted several times by disgruntled neighbors. Frustrated and at his wits end, and then living with his brother's family, Preston was offered a place at a new facility which was being built underneath the NNMC -- as well as a place at the head of PDI again.
And so it was there that he lived, and would continue to live even after the Great War consumed the earth. His position in PDI, who had taken shelter in what was known as the "United States Navy Advanced Fallout Shelter No. 1" was purely symbolic. He was a familiar face to the company, and somebody the American population was already well-acquainted by the time he rejoined the company just under a decade after he had left it. However, power was almost entirely in General Babcock's hands.
After the Great War, Preston retired permanently from PDI dealings. He spent the rest of his days as an overseer for one of the resident halls in the fallout shelter, having been sent into a slump after his tumultuous final years above ground and the subsequent total collapse of human civilization.
On December 24th, 2083, Sid Preston was found hanging from the rafters of his penthouse.
Preston's work laid the foundation for what was essentially the internet -- a means through which a network of computers could be connected efficiently, and transmit data back and forth.
Perhaps most notably, PDI's networking model was used as the basis for Vault-Tec's (and the Enclave's) Vault-monitoring network. The USN AFS No. 1 was just one of several hub-type fallout shelters built by the United States Government for the sake of making use of this network.