Happy B’Day C Edward McVaney: Co-founder of JD Edwards

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An entrepreneur, a philanthropist, an investor and a fighter, who battled dyslexia in early childhood and went on to become one of the most successful men in American history. Meet C Edward McVaney, the co-founder of JD Edwards Corporation.

In 1964, McVaney graduated from Iowa State Teacher’s College (now the University of Northern Iowa) with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. McVaney went to Rutgers University for his postgraduate study. His passion for computers made him realize his dream of setting up a successful firm.

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

Died: June 4, 2020

Net Worth: $670 million

Some lesser known facts about C Edward McVaney:

  • McVaney had very little memory of his father because he was sent off to war as dentist during World War II. When he returned, his father was suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, which had left him haunted by nightmares and terrified of loud noises for many years.
  • McVaney reportedly had dyslexia, which affected his academic performance. In a class of 36, he came in at position 30. When his father took him for the eye test, he could barely read the chart.
  • In his final year of college, he developed a passion for computers and took courses that included Operation Research and Advanced Dynamics. He is “absolutely freaked out on computers,” in his own words.
  • McVaney married his high-school sweetheart Carole in 1963, and they had three children and nine grandchildren.
  • 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.
  • He accepted his second job offer from Peat Marwick Mitchell (now KPMG) and was offered $14,000 a year. He worked there until 1970. Later, he switched to Alexander Grant (now Grant Thornton LLP).
  • The three Musketeers: While working at Thornton, McVaney met Dan Gregory, an MBA student at Denver University, and Jack Thompson, who also worked at Thornton. Later in 1977, they co-founded JD Edwards.
  • 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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