Happy Birthday David Packard: The Man With Manifold Talents

The journey of David Packard, from his humble beginnings as an engineer to his pivotal role as the co-founder of one of the world's largest electronic device manufacturing companies, is truly awe-inspiring. On his 111th birth anniversary today, here are a few interesting yet less-known facts about this legendary figure.

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The journey of this legendary figure, from his humble beginnings as an engineer to his pivotal role as the founder of one of the world’s largest electronic device manufacturing companies, is truly awe-inspiring. His aspirations extended far beyond electronics, leading him to serve his nation as the 13th United States Deputy Secretary of Defense. David Packard, a celebrated philanthropist and the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ), has made enduring contributions and left an indelible mark through his achievements. On his 111th birth anniversary today, here are a few interesting yet less-known facts about the entrepreneur.

Take risks. Ask big questions. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; if you don’t make mistakes, you’re not reaching far enough.

Date of Birth: September 7, 1912

Died:  March 26, 1996

  1. David Packard was born in Pueblo, Colorado, where his early fascination with science set the stage for his remarkable life. His innate curiosity led him to delve into the pages of the World Book Encyclopedia, devouring every entry under natural sciences. But his interests didn’t stop at reading; he had a true passion for constructing mechanical wonders. His backyard became a playground for his ingenious creations, and by the time he was twelve, he had already built a radio receiver – a testament to his early brilliance and ingenuity.
  2. In 1934, shortly after earning his Electrical Engineering degree from Stanford University, David Packard found himself faced with a career crossroads. Packard received a tempting offer from General Electric Company, yet his true passion lay in establishing his own business alongside his friend William Hewlett. Despite his aspirations, Packard opted to heed the advice of his professor, Fred Terman, and joined the testing department at General Electric. This decision was influenced by the challenging job market conditions during the Great Depression.
  3. In 1938, David Packard returned to Stanford University, where he successfully earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering. During this time, while working at General Electric (GE), he marked another pivotal life event by marrying Lucile Salter. What’s particularly remarkable is that he chose to take only a single day off for his wedding, which took place on a Friday, and he promptly resumed his duties at the office on the following Monday. This demonstrated his unwavering commitment to both his career and personal life.
  4. In 1939, David Packard’s long-cherished dream became a reality when he co-founded Hewlett-Packard, starting the company from a humble garage in Palo Alto with a meagre capital of $538. It was a modest beginning for what would become an iconic technology company. The company’s official incorporation took place in 1947, with David Packard assuming the role of President.
  5. Hewlett-Packard Company got its name through tossing a coin. As Hewlett, the other co-founder of HP, won the toss, it was named Hewlett-Packard. The historical domain name “HP.com,” was registered on March 3, 1986, under Packard’s guidance. The domain name is one of the earlier ones to get registered.
  6. David Packard held various leadership roles at HP throughout his illustrious career. He served as the first president of HP between 1947 and 1964. Subsequently, he assumed the roles of chief executive officer and chairman of the board, holding these positions until 1968. In 1969, Packard temporarily departed from HP to serve in the Nixon administration. He returned to HP in 1971 and was re-elected chairman of the board, a position he held from 1972 to 1993. During his tenure, Packard oversaw a significant reorganization of the company. In 1993, David Packard was retired from HP. At the time of his passing in 1996, his ownership stake in the company was valued at more than $1 billion, underscoring his enduring impact on Hewlett-Packard’s success and growth.
  7. When President Nixon of the USA approached David Packard to take up the position of United States Deputy Secretary of Defense, he readily agreed. However, this career move came with a remarkable sacrifice. Despite his substantial success in the business world, Packard’s annual salary was dramatically reduced from about a million dollars to just $30,000 in 1969, reflecting his commitment to public service and national defence.
  8. David Packard was not only a visionary entrepreneur but also an ardent philanthropist who devoted a substantial amount of his time and resources to charitable endeavours. His alma mater, Stanford University, was a major beneficiary of his generosity. Alongside his close friend and business partner, William Hewlett, Packard personally contributed more than $300 million to various causes.
  9. In recognition of his exceptional contributions to the national interests and security of the United States, David Packard received the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988. This esteemed award represents the highest civilian honour in the USA and is bestowed by the President of the United States.
  10. On November 2, 2015, Hewlett-Packard split its PC and Printers business from the enterprise products and services business, resulting in two publicly traded companies – HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Why are we here? I think many people assume, wrongly, that a company exists solely to make money. Money is an important part of a company’s existence, if the company is any good. But a result is not a cause. We have to go deeper and find the real reason for our being.

David Packard’s contributions to society and the world of technology remain evergreen, leaving an indelible mark that continues to shape our lives. On his birth anniversary, we have the opportunity to reflect on his remarkable legacy and express our gratitude for the enduring impact of his wonderful venture. His vision, innovation, and dedication continue to inspire generations, reminding us of the profound and lasting influence that visionary leaders can have on our world.

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 renewed leaders who moved the industry with their 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, and Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribing to your daily newsletter.

To make it more exciting, we suggest you make use of the comment section if you are among the ones celebrating their birthday with today’s featured personality.


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