Happy B’Day C Edward McVaney: The Entrepreneur Who Subdued Dyslexia

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A man who led his life by inspirations not by calculations. A Philanthropist, an investor and a fighter: who fought with dyslexia from early childhood and became one of the most successful men in USA’s history. Meet C Edward McVaney, the co-founder of JD Edwards on March 1977.

McVaney graduated from Iowa State Teacher’s College (now the University of Northern Iowa) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. His passion for computers made him realize his dream of setting up a successful firm.

Birth Date: December 29th, 1940. Omaha, Nebraska USA

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Died: June 4, 2020

Net Worth: $670 million

Some lesser known facts about C Edward McVaney:

  • McVaney’s father was sent off to World War II as a dentist, later when he returned, he suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome and was haunted by nightmares for many years.
  • His performance at school was pathetic as he suffered from dyslexia. He ranked 30th in the class of 36 and could barely read the chart when his father took him for the eye test.
  • He became passionate about computers in his final year at the college and took some courses that included Operation Research and Advanced Dynamics. In his own words: ”absolutely freaked out on computers”.
  • Married his high school sweetheart Carole in 1963, they have 3 children.
  • After completing his post-graduation from Rutgers University, he got his first job at Western Electric as an Operation Research Engineer.
  • He learned Machine language programming while working at Western electric and was paid $9200 annually.
  • Snapped his second opportunity at Peat Marwick Mitchell (now KPMG) and was offered $14,000 annually, where he worked until 1970. Later switched to Alexander Grant (now Grant Thornton LLP).
  • The three Musketeers: While working at Thornton he made acquaintances with Dan Gregory, an MBA student at Denver University and Jack Thompson, also working at Thornton.
  • JDE: J-Jack Thompson, D-Dan Gregory, E-Edwards McVaney, that was how the company’s name was derived. McVaney was the head of the company and handled management and marketing.
  • Birth of JD Edwards: The company was started with the copy machine as their only equipment. McVaney developed a non-conventional approach to business and accounting software. Total customer satisfaction was the top priority. Later, the company was acquired by PeopleSoft, now owned by Oracle Corporation.
  • The initial investment was injected by McVaney from his own salary. Optional family expenses that included piano lessons, swimming lessons and skiing were slashed.
  • He planned on working with smaller clients akin SAP, which was also JDE’s competitor and soon the business boomed, in order to expand his business he made his company public on September 24, 1997.
  • A hefty 22% of the company’s revenue was put into research and Development strategies and products by McVaney.
  • Philanthropy: Donated $32 million to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to find the JD Edwards Honors Program in May 1998. He also lived in Baghdad’s Green Zone to help rebuild Iraq which was demolished by America in order to take down Saddam Hussein.
  • On June 4, 2020, C Edward McVaney died due to pancreatic cancer.

The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or a renewed leaders who moved the industry with his exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, Sir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.

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