HP technology pioneer passes away at the age of 77
We are saddened to learn that Ray Smelek—the man who brought HP to Boise—passed away Monday, 3 September at the age of 77. Our hearts go out to his wife, Candy, and his family.
Ray Smelek.The first time Ray stepped off an airplane in Boise, he fell in love with the city. Ray started the HP Boise operation and was the first general manager on the site, and cemented himself into a position of prominence in Idaho’s high technology community in 1973.
Ray worked for Hewlett-Packard for 37 years, starting in the student engineering pool while he was an undergraduate in electrical engineering at San Jose State University. He was inspired by HP’s legendary founders, Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett. As Boise Division Manager, Ray led the team that introduced a number of impact and laser printers into the worldwide marketplace—including Hewlett-Packard’s first LaserJet in 1984.
Ray had been extensively involved in community-building in Idaho. He was actively involved in higher education in Idaho, and was a founding member of the Boise Chamber of Commerce’s “Technology Task Force.” He also was appointed by Governor Dirk Kempthorne to serve on the Governor’s Technology Task Force.
In 2010, Ray Smelek and Dick Hackborn were the first inaugural inductees into the Idaho Technology Council Hall of Fame for their distinguished contributions in building the Idaho technology ecosystem we know today.
Ray inspired many people within HP and outside of HP. He will be remembered for using several famous quotes, including “Don’t mistake motion for action,” and “There is a reason why the windshield is larger than the rearview mirror.”
“Mr. Microwave” was a true original
Arthur “Art” Fong, revered Hewlett-Packard engineer from 1946-1996, died
May 17, 2012. He was 92 years old.
A native of Sacramento, California, Art graduated from U.C. Berkeley in
1943 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Tapped to work in the
secret Radiation Laboratory, commonly called the Rad Lab, at M.I.T.
during the Second World War, Art made significant contributions to the
then nascent technologies of radar and microwave. In 1946, Art was
personally recruited by William Hewlett to join the company Hewlett had
co-founded with David Packard in 1939. During Art’s early
Hewlett-Packard years, he developed signal generators and the industry’s
first calibrated spectrum analyzer, both indispensable tools of
electronic test and measurement. By the early 1960s, Art’s product
designs represented 27 percent, roughly $55 million, of HP’s annual
revenue. In 1964 he was awarded the title of Senior Staff Engineer, the
company’s highest technical title created to acknowledge the
contributions of engineers who chose to stay in the technical field
rather than take the management track to advancement.
Upon his retirement in 1996, HP had three divisions—each with a
$100-million annual product line—devoted to producing equipment based on
Art’s body of work. His product designs were so advanced that one of
them is still offered in the Agilent Technologies catalog.
“Art made an enormous contribution to this company’s success, and we can
all thank him for that,” said Anna Mancini, HP Corporate Archivist. “He
was a brilliant engineer and the embodiment of the HP Way, which he
promoted tirelessly. Long after his retirement, he remained interested
in what was going on at HP and continued to contribute to the company.
He was the definition of a lifelong employee and a true original.”
Rosemary Bradford Hewlett, the wife of late HP founder Bill Hewlett, passed away on 29 October, 2010. Rosemary and Bill loved the outdoors and met on a ski vacation. At the time, they were both widowed and both had five children. They married on 24 May, 1978.
Rosemary played an active role in Bill’s public life and in the history of HP. She regularly attended company events and was a true partner to Bill in helping create a rich family environment for HP employees. As recently as 2001, Rosemary made a surprise appearance in Boise at a performance of the all-HP Jazz band Boise Straight Ahead.
Standing up from her third row seat, she declared, "I’m Mrs. Hewlett. And I want you to know that if Bill were alive today, he’d be very proud of you all."
Rosemary was also well known for her philanthropy and efforts to give back to her community, including support of her alma mater, Smith College, where she helped establish the nation's first engineering program at a women's college.
Born in 1919, Rosemary leaves a long legacy of contribution and accomplishment. That legacy will live on through her generosity of spirit, the love of her family and friends, and her many philanthropic endeavors.
Dave Symmes, who recently celebrated his 40th anniversary with the company died unexpectedly
May 31 from a heart attack. Symmes worked as operations and planning manager for Solution Alliances
Engineering in the Technology Solutions group.
Lew Platt, who rose from an entry-level engineer to become the chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, died Thursday night of an aneuryism. He was 64 years old.
Platt led the Silicon Valley technology giant as CEO through most of the 1990s, serving a total of 33 years at the Palo Alto company. Platt joined HP in 1966 as an engineer in the company's medical products group. He moved up the ranks and was named president and chief executive officer in 1992. He succeeded HP co-founder David Packard as chairman in 1993, and was president, CEO and chairman until he retired in July 1999, when he handed over the reins to Carly Fiorina, then a high ranking executive at Lucent.
"He was just a great man, a great father, a good fisherman," said his wife Joan Redmund Platt, in a brief interview. ``He was a man of wonderful integrity. A person to be admired.''
Platt oversaw one of HP's biggest growth periods. During his tenure at HP, Platt also oversaw HP's spin-off of Agilent Technologies, its former test and measurement business, in 1999.
"It was a very productive period for HP historically," said Jean Bozman, an analyst at IDC who has followed Hewlett-Packard for many years. ``He was always thinking about what's next, how could the company grow from there.''
Platt had a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University and a master's degree in business administration from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He also had an honorary doctorate from Santa Clara University in Engineering Science.
"Lew cared deeply for HP and its people, and his loss is being felt widely across our company," said Mark Hurd, who became HP's president and CEO on April 1. ``He was a natural leader who was enormously well-liked and made an enduring impression on those he encountered. The way he treated people and how he ran the company set an exceptionally high standard of personal decency.''
After retiring from HP, Platt became CEO of the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates from 2000 to mid-2001. More recently, he served as the lead director on the board of aircraft maker Boeing, whose board he joined in 1999.
Platt is survived by his wife, their children and one grandchild.
ACM, the University of California, Berkeley, and IEEE will jointly host a tribute to legendary computer scientist Jim Gray on May 31, 2008, at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall. Gray, who has been missing at sea since Jan. 28, 2007, is renowned for his work as a programmer and database expert that helped make possible such technologies as the cash machine, databases like Google, e-commerce, and online ticketing. He received UC Berkeley's first PhD in computer science in 1969 and worked at Bell Labs, IBM, Tandem Computers, Digital Equipment Corp., and most recently at Microsoft. Gray received ACM's A.M. Turing Award in 1998. "Jim was a true visionary and leader in this field," says Shankar Sastry, dean of the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley. "We are honored to host this tribute to Jim's remarkable achievements and the impact he made on so many of us."