Timeline - Memoirs of HP People

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Memoirs of Hewlett Packard People

One of our main objectives in starting this website five
years ago was (and still is today) to get in touch with people
who have worked at HP from the birth of the company up to
today. We are interested in hearing your memories no matter
what division or country you worked in, or whether you were in
engineering, marketing, finance, administration, or worked in
a factory. This is because all of you have contributed to the
story of this unique and successful enterprise.

Your memories are a treasure for this website. While product and technology are our main concern, other writings related to the company life are highly welcome, as far as they stay inside the HP Way guidelines.

The contributions made by Edward H. Phillips, Jim Hall, George Stanley, Bob DeVries, Ray Smelek, Dave Cochran, John Minck, Chuck House, Art Fong, Hank Taylor, Betty Haines, Zvonko Fazarinc, Les Besser, James Robinson, Cort Van Rensselaer, Alan Bagley, Hugo Vifian, Dave Kirby, John Uebbing, Bob Steward, Jerry Collins, Bob Grimm, Al Steiner, Ted Podelnyk, Bernie Clifton, Carl Cottrell, Marvin Patterson, John Borgsteadt, John Wastle, Dave Evans, Chris Clare, Wilhelm Jirgal, and Roy Verley during their careers at HP are illustrated in this chapter. They are good examples of the type of memories we would like to present on this website.

Anybody Else ? Please get in touch using the Contact US form.

And if you need more inspiration about the work culture at HP, please start by reading the "Inside HP" Narrative written by John Minck. It is THE reference reading for anyone who wants to tell others why Hewlett Packard was such a special place.



My HP Remembrances -- for HP Years: 1979-2000

Roy Verley - Suppose you were assigned to write speeches for John Young during the first year of your HP career? Then suppose you worked closely with Young, Dean Morton, Joel Birnbaum and others on the business introductions of major new computer systems like the Spectrum Computer Project? Or in 1992 you were caught up in a preemptive "misunderstanding" between Dave Packard and John Young about John's impending retirement in a Forbes Magazine interview. And suppose you got to serve as Lew Platt's media coach when his presidency was announced? Now you get to satisfy all your suppositions with Roy Verley's new HP memoir. This is a fun read.



My Memories of Early Days at Hewlett-Packard GmbH

Wilhelm Jirgal - Imagine starting your new job in 1960, with HP GmbH located in an old textile manufacturing building. For Willi Jirgal, it must have felt much like the Polly and Jake garage (big enough for about 15), when Bill and Dave moved from their Addison garage in 1940. But the German factory found itself on a MUCH FASTER growth curve. Willi's remembrances of how managers Fred Schroder and Eberhard Knoblauch, with Ray Demere from the US, installed the HP Way (e.g.,management by objectives, the open door policy, first name relationships, coffee speeches every week) into Europe.



My Story at Hewlett-Packard and Before Hewlett-Packard Laboratories

Chris Clare - Imagine a boy about 12, getting his dad to buy him a WWII war surplus bombing computer, the Norden bombsight, a top secret invention which revolutionized precision bombing over Germany. And then taking it apart, down to the nuts and bolts, and reassembling it. Imagine building a go-cart with a Ford Model A transmission. Or building a ham radio, or a Jacobs ladder of arcing high voltage that drove the neighbors' TVs crazy. And then went to Cal Poly and came to HP Labs, to live a career of intrepid design inventions and major automation improvements in semi-conductor processing technology. This is a great story.



The Hewlett-Packard Years: Optoelectronics Division-Dave Evans

Dave Evans - Other than silicon in integrated circuits, the only other semiconductor technology which is creating massive social and economic change is the light-emitting semiconductor technology. As multi-color and super-high-efficiency, and brilliant new high-intensity lights come into use, a lot of that accomplishment can be laid at the feet of LED application engineers like HPA's Dave Evans. With hundreds of HP customer designers, engineers like Dave promoted the design complexities of lights and displays to exploit their uniqueness for customer-pleasing products which have revolutionized our lives.



International Procurement Can Be Fun...!!!!

John Wastle - This is a story about the HP Way, installing the HP work culture in a class-society in Europe, and full-on inter-HP-divisional politics. John grows up in Scotland in an industrial apprenticeship role, enters the HP production functions, moves into the beginnings of fabricated parts outsourcing, and serves his career in crucial International Procurement Operations. He and his team brought the HP Way into his subcontractors around the globe. His narrative has some rough edges, and many Nixonian (expletives), has some disguised personalities, and is long at 145 pages. But it reads like a novel, and you will be charmed by this memoir of life in the HP trenches.



My Life at HP and Beyond

John Borgsteadt - From the time John joined the US Navy 2 months after Pearl Harbor, then joined HP in 1948, he was a busy man. His 45 year career in HP marketing brought him in contact with a world of visitors, his decades-long volunteer work at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and its MBARI research arm brought him in contact with Dave Packard. His personal activities in mountain climbing, precision target shooting, classical music, and global travel were enjoyed by both he and his wife Olive, and give us an interesting read.



Discovering the Fundamentals of Hard-Copy Graphics and Innovation Management; The HP 7580 (Big Bertha) Story and What Happened Later

Marvin Patterson - This is a story about motivational leadership and technology dissemination in a globally-dispersed enterprise. It is also about organizing creativity and innovation-sharing, crucial for a large enterprise like HP. Marv thought a lot about these principles as he progressed in his career-but first he had to gain experience in the design trenches and project leadership like his Big Bertha product. His observation: "If HP only knew what HP knows, we'd be a much greater company" says it all. And it pinpoints the focus of the centralized HP Corporate Engineering Division of the 1990s.



My Life at Hewlett-Packard

Carl Cottrell - The Hewlett-Packard of the 1950s had recovered from the Post-WWII business slump, and was embarked on solid technology-based growth, to continue for decades. The engineers who ran the company were learning how to organize a business, finances, work culture, people-relations, and customer satisfaction in the sales operations. Carl joined HP in 1952, and tells us how HP engineers built the preeminent business of the "golden years of technology" in the second half of the 20th Century. Read on.



The First Hewlett-Packard Color LaserJet

Ted Podelnyk and Bernie Clifton - The LasertJet printer and follow-on InkJet printers catapulted HP into a household name. Then came the Color LaserJet printer, the project that challenged authors Ted and Bernie to printing excellence, and which is the subject of this interesting HP memoir.




Al Steiner - Read how a Stanford BSME with a Harvard MBA joins the world's preeminent high tech company, climbs up the management ladder, moves his high-growth division out of state, makes serious and lasting contributions to the telecoms industry, dodges a medical disaster bullet, then accepts foreign assignments for HP which leverage his technological experiences.



My Life of Hewlett-Packard and Civic Volunteerism

Bob Grimm - Follow Bob's career from Purdue in 1951, to engineering in the Redwood Bldg, through Dymec and HP Systems, to running 3 different Tech centers for Barney's HP Labs. Plus, read why Bob is probably the HP record holder for decades of extraordinary Community Service, some shared with his wife Marion.



An Alabama Boy and the Birth of Silicon Valley

Jerry Collins - Before Jerry passed away March 21, 2009, he had taken the time to write down in considerable detail, his fascinating engineering career. Out of a boyhood in Alabama, he worked for at least 9 different high-tech companies, after his Korean Wartime duty. Intrepid might be a suitable adjective for Jerry. Jerry's grandson, Ian Plamondon, took Jerry's writings and compiled a fascinating book, and with the permission of Jerry's wife and family, gave us the OK to publish the HP/Dymec chapters of that book. It was a rapid growth period for that HP systems division.


The blue-coded memoirs above are added after Curator Marc Mislanghe's untimely death.

The 20 Memoirs below were compiled by the orginal curator of this web site, Marc Mislanghe. They are a wonderful and fitting memory of his vision.



How LEDs Evolved from Geek Playthings to the Global Lighting Solution in Six Decades

Bob Steward - The enormous strides in getting light out of semiconductors did not come easily. Engineers like Bob Steward endured years of tough and frustrating times, to enlist science and find the secrets of processing crystals to make light, first for little numbers, then to street lights, brake lights and iPad backlights. Then to serious commercial substitutes for tungsten and sodium gas and fluorescence lights to meet the global climate change threat.




My Interesting Life In High Tech

John Julian Uebbing - Starting in the 1950s, as HP exploited semiconductor and optoelectronic technologies like photo-diodes and emitters, then light emitting diodes, and later, fiber optics, it depended on bright and clever engineer/scientists like John Uebbing to do the exploiting.




My Years in HP Corporate PR, by Dave Kirby

Dave Kirby - How do you publicize a young company like HP, growing into greatness, to the global public, its customers and its employees, and the business and financial community? You hire a Public Relations Manager like Dave Kirby and get out of his way.




From WWII Switzerland to HP Santa Rosa, an Engineer's Life

Hugo Vifian - As HP's RF and Microwave revenues exploded in the 1970s, driven by the introduction of those blockbuster Spectrum and Network Analyzers, Swiss Engineer Hugo Vifian moved to HP's new Santa Rosa Division to take over Lab management of that innovative technology and expanding product line. His life story is a fun read.




My Long and Satisfying Career at Hewlett-Packard

Al Bagley - Follow a young man from a small California desert town, to rise to a WWII B-29 Pilot, graduate from Cal Tech and Stanford, then lead a great HP Division to become the World's Cesium Timekeeper, to measure microinches with dual-lasers, and to dominate the 20th-century high-tech industry of frequency and time measurements.




My HP Memories, by Cort Van Rensselaer

Cort Van Rensselaer - We know a person who not only started to work at Hewlett-Packard in December 1942 but also took the time to write about it. We call Cort Van Rensselaer "Mr. HP Longevity" because he remembers working part-time in the Polly & Jake garage and the Redwood Building during his engineering student days at Stanford. After his US Navy service and Masters Degree, he came back full time for a fruitful career of 45 years. This is his wonderful memoir of those times.





James Robinson - No corporation can operate without their Facilities Department. The Facilities people operate behind the scenes, with none of the excitement of the Sales Dept, the inventors in R&D, or the production geniuses who ship the final products. James Robinson was one of those unheralded facilities workers who supplied the services that kept HP a great place to come to work every day. His memories of those days are another view of the HP work culture.




Hurdling to Freedom, by Les Besser
" Mr. COMPACT" -- Father of Computer-Aided Engineering Software

Les Besser - This is a story of survival. And accomplishment. A gritty tale of a childhood during WWII, finding achievement in athletics, fighting in the Hungarian Revolution, then a dangerous escape to the West. Although Les had worked at HP for less than four years, his COMPACT circuit optimization software truly made a HUGE difference in engineering processes. Later, his continuing education group provided training for a large number of professionals.




My Association with HP, by Zvonko Fazarinc " Mr. HP Labs"

Zvonko Fazarinc - Many of us wondered what it was like to work for Barney Oliver in HP Labs? Zvonko spent several decades working there and has nothing but appreciation for the stimulating intellectual environment he experienced there. His major accomplishments in computer-based circuit modeling and education were significant and extraordinary.




Thank You for Calling Hewlett Packard

Betty Haines - Did you ever wonder what went on behind the scenes in the headquarters of the world’s greatest high-tech company in those Golden Years of 1960-1990? Betty Haines was on the PBX switchboard and the PA system and around the mail room to know all the top execs and the daily goings on. It will be hard not to laugh out loud.




Experiences During 40 Years at HP

Hank Taylor - It all seems so simple now. Corporate data is "in the cloud" on server farms with 50,000 disks. Data and voice circle the globe on fiber optic networks at 10 GB/s, PER COLOR, PER FIBER. Terminals are in your shirt pocket. But in the 1950s, it was punchcard tabulators, teletypes, Kardex, manual processes, telephone and the US mail. Information Technology system visionaries at HP were scratching out progress, project by project. One of our best scratchers was Hank Taylor.




My Life and Times, by Art Fong "Mr Microwave"

Arthur Fong - Here is an interesting question. If Microwave Engineer Art Fong had decided to turn down Bill Hewlett's job offer back in 1945, how would the Hewlett Packard product line of microwave signal generators, bridges, and a long line of spectrum analyzers be different today?
Here is the story...




"Logic State Analyzer Birthing Pains," by Chuck House

Chuck House - This is a story about engineering politics, written by the accomplished author of "HP Phenomenon." During the 1970s & 80s the Data Domain (he coined the term) was in ferment, with a maddening variety of IC and firmware technologies. The Birthing of Logic Analyzers plays out over a cast of fascinating personalities; of Chuck's management, his design customers, his technical mentor gurus, and his engineering team.




FROM 1939–1990, by John Minck

John Minck - Take a work culture trip through the Golden Age of high tech, from the 1930s to 1990, inside the Hewlett-Packard company, looking at organization, legendary people, and significant products.




"A Quarter Century at HP ," by David S. Cochran

Dave Cochran - Start with an electrical engineer designing test instruments, convert him to a specialist in computation processes of the first desktop scientific computer, and finish with the blockbuster HP-35 handheld.




"Making My Own Luck," by Ray Smelek

Ray Smelek - Management perspectives on leadership of several HP division organizations, opening new HP operations in foreign nations, and direct personal advice on growing a successful leader.




Some Memories of a Hewlett Packard Product Designer,
by Bob DeVries

Bob DeVries - The high-tech world of HP, from the perspective of an inventive Product Designer and the dozens of oscilloscopes, tape recorders and microwave products he participated in developing.




My HP Life and Beyond, by George Stanley

George Stanley - The absolute crucial role of Customer and Field Engineer Training to high-tech, a best-seller book, "Transistor Basics," and cheerleading the industry for HP Interface Bus and programmable systems.




HP LaserJet - The Early History, by Jim Hall

Jim Hall - The "Father" of the HP Laserjet printers, arguably one of the world's most important publishing product lines, tells the inside story of how HP's inventive teams brought it all to a waiting world.




My Time with hp, by Edward H. Phillips (1956 to 1966)

Ed Phillips - The professional HP career of a creative mechanical engineer, years of designing microwave products, and how to overcome a continuing string of difficult design issues.




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