David Packard: Father of Silicon Valley
In 1963, Time magazine gushed about David Packard and his longtime partner, Bill Hewlett, as "shirtsleeved electrical engineers whose idea of a satisfying day's work is just puttering about in a laboratory." They were running, Time reported, "the world's biggest manufacturer of electronic measuring devices," with sales just over $100 million. Today, HP is as ubiquitous as a computer printer. The company Packard and Hewlett founded in Packard's one-car garage now has sales approaching $105 billion. But Time only got part of the story; Packard was much more than an electrical engineer. The story of David Packard is the story of an intelligent Goliath, standing at 6 feet 5 inches, whose achievements span the worlds of business, science and government. The son of an attorney and high school teacher, Packard was born Sept. 7, 1912, in Pueblo, Colo., a rough mining and steel town. His father had dreams of a law career for the gangly athlete who excelled in basketball and track; Packard, who loved science, saw things differently.