William R. Hewlett + David PackardElectronics pioneers William R. Hewlett, right, and his late partner David Packard* receive a special recognition in the 1996 Heinz Awards program, the Chairman's Medal.
The Chairman's Medal is a non-monetary prize honoring a lifetime of achievement. Awarded for the first time, it is bestowed from time to time on truly exceptional nominees whose careers have been distinguished by a pattern of singular accomplishment and character.
William Hewlett and David Packard met when they were students at Stanford University in the 1930s. With the creation of the firm that bears their names, Hewlett and Packard forever changed the face of the electronics industry. Starting with $538 in borrowed funds, the two men set up shop in a Palo Alto, California garage, now a state landmark bearing the legend, "Birthplace of Silicon Valley". From those humble beginnings, the two men built Hewlett-Packard into one of the world's most innovative and respected companies.
From the beginning the company excelled at pushing back technological frontiers. Early on, Mr. Hewlett developed the first audio oscillator to test sound equipment. During World War II, the company produced radio, sonar, radar, and nautical and aviation devices, and, at the war's conclusion, began buying smaller electronics firms. In 1969, Mr. Hewlett inspired the invention of the first scientific pocket calculator, setting the stage for Hewlett-Packard to enter the strange new world of computers ... a world it ultimately helped to create. However, the company's innovative spirit was not restricted to technology ... it broke new ground in the area of management as well. Hewlett-Packard's management philosophy scorned strict hierarchy and formality and encouraged individual creativity. This became known as the "H-P Way," which today serves as a model for countless other companies around the world.
Both Mr. Hewlett and Mr. Packard retired from active duty with the company in 1978. Mr. Packard returned to active participation in the company in 1991, supervising a major reorganization and serving as Chairman until his second retirement in 1993. Mr. Hewlett remains on the company's Board of Directors.
Already a noted philanthropist, upon his death in 1996 Mr. Packard left the bulk of his estate to the foundation that bears his name. Mr. Hewlett, too, has established a foundation that distributes grants in areas such as education, the environment, and conflict resolution. A generous spirit is just one of many qualities shared by these two remarkable men, whose character, talents and ideas have left a lasting mark upon the world.
*Mr. Packard was given the award posthumously.
Note: This profile is excerpted from the commemorative brochure published at the time of the awards' presentation.
David Packard passed away on March 26, 1996.
William R. Hewlett passed away on January 12, 2001.
UPDATES SINCE RECEIVING THE HEINZ AWARD
October 2006 - The Hewlett Foundation's project, Connexions, was named a 2006 Tech Museum Awards Laureate. The Tech Museum of Innovation named Rice University's Connexions website, which was developed with the support of the Hewlett Foundation, as one of the winners in the education category of its annual awards to recognize the use of technology to benefit humanity.
November 2003 - Packard's landscape conservation project, which his organization, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, started in 1998 to "preserve 250,000 acres of California open space" has successfully exceeded its goal by 150,000 acres. The original philanthropic effort was a $175 million endeavor for Packard. - San Jose Mercury News
May 2002 - Hewlett-Packard announces that it will use "HP" as "the default name of choice from here on," even though the corporation's name will not legally change. This new HP identity matches the company's aggressive "launch as a bigger, bolder post-merger entity." - San Jose Mercury News
December 2001 - The surviving Hewlett-Packard crew, the children and families of William and David, vote against the merger of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq. While they only constitute 18 percent of the stock, the merger will be extremely difficult to achieve without their support. - The Independent
August 2001 - Hewlett's organization, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, announces that it will launch a "$10 million energy initiative designed to add a new dimension to regional and national energy policy issues." The money will go towards sponsoring environmental research and analysis, and also to develop and carry out new conservation projects. - Business Wire
March 2001 - The David and Lucile Packard Foundation grants the University of California $11 million to acquire more land for its Merced, California campus. The money will also be used to improve the area for local habitants and to encourage the conservation projects underway there. - AScribe Newswire