Dave Packard

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In Memorium





In Appreciation
of David Packard
1912- 1996

by John Minck


The life and career of David Packard influenced the lives of millions of people. Customers enjoyed innovative products, from test and measurement breakthroughs to powerful pocket calculators. Competitors found an ethical and spirited technology rivalry. Visitors to Packard's Monterey Bay Aquarium in California learned about our relationship with the ocean, and critically-ill children found advanced medical treatment at the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.

The U.S. defense establishment experienced new procurement innovations during Packard's years as Deputy Secretary of Defense. Packard served on several Presidential Blue Ribbon committees to improve efficiency of U.S. government operations, and was a member of the board of directors of several leading U.S. corporations.

Packard's national service was a reflection of the company's committment to public volunteerism, which he and partner William Hewlett fostered at HP. Packard supported numerous community and philantropic causes. He also served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Stanford University and Chairman of the Palo Alto School Board.

But it was undoubtedly the technology business community and the tens of thousands of HP employees who benefitted most from Packard's leadership and humanity. His lasting legacy is the organizational culture that he and Hewlett instituted and refined, now called the "HP Way." The HP Way built a team spirit, with an ethical approach to business relationships, offering an open working environment and a management style that encouraged employees to achieve their highest potential.

By recognizing that employees want to do their best in any situation, Packard and Hewlett built one of the most loyal and creative employee teams in the era following WWII. The HP Way and "Management by Objective," both credited to Packard and Hewlett, are the subject of many business school case studies based on the success of the HP management style. These philosophies were later captured in Packard's book, The HP Way---How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company, published in 1995.

Since its founding in 1939, Hewlett-Packard's growth has paralleled the development of the Test and Measurement industry. Building on the technology vision of Professor Frederick Terman of Stanford University, Packard helped make the region around Stanford one of the world's most exciting and challenging places to work.

HP grew and diversified into new product areas, including computational products, scientific calculators, computers, communications, printers, medical and analytic instrumentation. But Packard and Hewlett always insisted that innovations meet real user needs. The current annual revenues of over $30 billion dollars confirm that HP products continue to anticipate and meet those needs.

From the beginning, Packard and Hewlett maintained cordial but hard-fought relations with competitors. They recognized that competition fostered innovation, creating better technology and product solutions. One of HP's toughest competitors was the late John M. Fluke, who was also a personal friend of Packard's, dating back to the 1930s when they were engineers and roommates with the General Electric Co. in Schenectady, NY.

In more recent years, Packard retired from chairmanship of the company, but he continued to influence HP and other community organizations with his support, advice and counsel. And, in a most characteristic gesture, Dave and Lucile transferred much of their wealth to a charitable foundation to serve humanitarian causes.

Packard valued contributions in every venture. His spirit lives on in the over one hundred thousand HP employees, their products and their services. In a real sense, this catalog reflects the test and measurement contributions of his team. The thousands of HP products described here empower engineering, science and business to do a better job and to enhance the future of our world.

We will miss this man. And we pledge to continue the traditions of quality, innovation and integrity that he inspired.


John Minck



This Public Tribute was written by John Minck and published in the 1997 Hewlett Packard catalog.

Below are three links to Biographies of Dave Packard,
among the many available on the web:

- HP invent Web Site

- Agilent Technologies Web Site

- Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute Web Site

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