Francisco D. Fernandez,
Puerto Rico, USA
My first visit to DEC impressed me
greatly because of two things I observed that I feel is what made
DEC a great company:
1- I saw Ken's office at the mill, do I have to say anymore.
2- The pride of the group of workers when the first PDP8 passed
This led me to eventually buy a DEC 11/70, the first in Puerto Rico.
Stow MA USA
I was very sad to hear about Ken Olsen's
death - even though I knew he was ill for quite a while.
Ken was totally unique among any CEO or any other senior executives
that I ever knew. Despite the fact that he invented a new industry
and ran it for so many years, the testimony to the man was that he
was kind hearted, moral man who delegated authority to anyone (including all
employees - not only senior executives) and just asked them to "do
what's right" and then back it up with "those that propose Do!". He
virtually invented matrix management. He trusted in his employees.
Yes, we often disagreed (sometimes forcefully) but always respected
the ones on the other side of the issue. That was the Digital
Meanwhile, he did not have the ego, selfishness, nor greed that so
many of the CEOs have today. By doing so he taught thousands of
people that worked for Digital to carry on that noble type of work
environment wherever they went after Digital.
In my case, he empowered me to do my best as he did with so many
other employees who went on to found new entrepreneurial ventures
and improve their lives having the legacy of their employment at
There will NEVER be another like him!
Bill Costello, Pittsburgh PA
I held various sales & marketing
positions in "the field", working out of PTO (Pittsburgh, PA) from
'84 to '96. I was recruited to leave by IBM & worked there and for
E&Y until I went to work for the USAF after 9/11. The only places
that I felt that what I did made a difference was with DEC and for
the USAF. The other places were just jobs & I credit Ken for being a
true business leader & developing a culture @ DEC that made DEC
unique as compared to today's business climate. RIP, Ken!
Lexington MA, USA
Being part of the DEC family for 23
years and having the opportunity to say I grew up to become the
professional I am is because of the mentoring provided by Ken and
the staff he provided to us across DEC nation. What a tribute it is,
to his legacy, to see so many people still looking back at the time
and years spent working under such an extraordinary teacher and
leader. Thank you Ken, as I will never forget my years at DEC.
Lou Greer, Greenville SC, USA
Ken had a unique management style. He
encouraged innovation and even competition within his organization.
Early in my DEC career (1982, I think) I was the Networks Manager
for the MDC product group, and a customer visit made it clear that
we needed an interactive connection between DECnet and IBM's SNA. I
was able to drive an effort to raise the funding for the project for
various product groups within Digital, and the project moved along
at a good pace. Some months later, I received a phone call from
Roger Cady, MDC's Group VP. He told me that he was in Ken's office
and that Ken had commented that he didn't see the DECnet/SNA Gateway
on the May announcement list. I assured Roger that it was alive and
well, but it was scheduled for a September announcement. Roger
repeated that to Ken, along with my suggestion that if Ken wanted
the gateway announced in May, all he had to do was call Dave Rogers,
who headed the development team, and say so. Roger held the phone so
I could hear Ken's calm response. "Tell Lou that I don't want them
to HAVE TO announce the product in May. I want them to WANT TO
announce it in May, and that's Lou's job." We got it done, and that
experience was a life lesson I will never forget. Ken will live
forever through all that he taught us.
Jerry Neri, USA
Ken taught many lessons of life that are
not discussed at business schools, like "do the right thing" . Ken,
you will be missed and you have taught many.
Jerry Bernath, FL, USA
I had the pleasure of meeting Ken Olsen
when in training in May, 1971. I never in my years with Digital
forgot those famous words;"do what's right and do the right thing!"
I owe my success to Ken and those words off wisdom that I still
embrace in my retirement life.
This words keep him alive in my mind forever.
Jerry Bernath S/v BiBi currently cruising in the Bahamas
Guillermo Fierro, Miami FL USA and
We all go through life learning from
mentors. Sometimes they are our parents, grandparents, teachers,
etc. In my case, Ken was a very strong role model, and a mentor. I
acknowledge his legacy and have striven to pay it forward. I do
lament his death, but would rather celebrate his life. Thank you
Ken! Thank you for creating a nurturing environment at DEC that
brought out the best of us, and taught us that knowledge is best
when shared with our peers and co-workers. Rest in Peace!
Marce Enright, MA USA
I pray that his spirit and values
persevere in those of us who were lucky enough to have worked with
him. -- Marce Enright
Cecily MacArthur, MA USA
Such sad news. He was a great man, who
created an extraordinary company. It was a honor and a privilege to
have been part of his dream...
Ken was a visionary. Not only in
technology but in how he related to and treated other people. As an
employer, he "set the bar" for management to a level that few
employers have or will ever reach. By doing so he gained an employee
work ethic, dedication, and loyalty that few employers will ever
see. I am proud to have been one of those employees.
David Carthy, Israel
My son Roi Carthy posted our story about
What Mr. Olsen Meant to Me on TechCrunch. Roi will
be participating in a show by NPR in Boston about Ken's life.
Vanessa Fox, Arlington MA USA
See Vanessa, and Ray Stata, interviewed in NECN's (New
England Cable News) coverage of Ken's passing and his legacy.
Click for 4-min. video.
Thanks to Ken:
I was a Digital employee from 1984 -
1996. It was a great honor to work for DEC the time you were CEO.
I had the opportunity to have known you in Cannes which was an
extraordinary and helpful experience.
Ken Olsen has been an inspiration to all
of us as an executive who rigorously applied his impeccable personal values and
ethics to create our unique professional culture. Digital was
an engineering company, yes, but each of us was appreciated and
encouraged for our contributions. In the days of the booming hi-tech
economy, many people could regularly switch jobs to increase their
salary. This happened less frequently at Digital, because it
was the ideal place to work. Where else were individuals
valued as highly for their innovation and initiative? What other
company can boast of so many long-term employees? My 21 years
is probably about average.
will never forget what a kind man Ken was. He did not know me
personally but stopped me in the hallway once as I carried a stack
of business plans and asked if I needed help! What other
company founder would be so kind to his employees at all levels?
Rest in peace, Ken. Your
lasting contributions to the fields of technology and management
would be noteworthy alone, but thank you for enriching the lives of
350,000 employees the world over.
Boy, this is sad, because I have never
worked for a organization with the commitment and cooperation that
there was in The DEC world. I started in the Westborough group right
out of Sylvania technical school and for most of my next 23 yrs it
was not a job, but a fun loving experience. The DEC CULTURE should
be studied because this is where you wake up in the morning and
*want* to go to work.
Thank you, KEN OLSEN, for creating it.
During the original VAX11780 prototype
debug circa 1977, Ken would take us out to lunch at the Powder Mill.
He never lost touch with the 'sharp end' at DEC and mentored us
towards one of the IT industry's most successful product launches.
A true gentleman. Sadly missed.
My-Quan Tran,FL USA,
Thank You Mr. Ken Olsen for the DEC
CULTURE. You will be missed and remembered as a great pioneer that
have made the difference in so many of our lives.
Jim Higgins, Harvard, MA USA
The outpouring of sentiment by my former
colleagues for this industry icon over the last couple of days has
been overwhelming. It is noteworthy that despite his technical
excellence and business acumen the things that most people admired
about him were his sincere caring for individuals, his encouraging
leadership and the high moral standards and ethical behavior he
insisted on. I am truly appreciative of the culture he engendered
and the opportunity to work in his Company. I will always treasure
the personal interaction, however limited, I had with him. May he
rest in peace.
Westford MA USA
As a kid from Dorchester/Boston MA with
8 brothers and sisters I had a dream that some day I would like to
work for a big company, own a house in the country, raise my kids in
a better neighborhood than I grew up in, have the kids go to college
and graduate, travel to other countries, meet new people, and
hopefully have fun in the process. This gentleman gave us all the
opportunity to aspire both personally and professionally and do as
much or as little as we wanted. I personally met all of my goals and
exceeded my dreams exponentially. Thanks Ken and may God bless!
Carolyn Abbott, MA,
First, thanks for passing along the sad
news about Ken's passing. A great loss. He was a man of great vision
and integrity who helped to create the world of computing and global
communications that we know now. I was privileged to work for DEC
for 23 years. Ken Olsen was a visionary and a role model for
thousands of people. He leaves a legacy that may never be matched. I
am grateful for what I learned and experienced and the friends I
made while there.
Condolences to the Olsen family.
Ken’s passing truly represents the end of an era.
Working at Digital was a tremendous experience – and I remember it
well; miss the professionalism of my fellow “DECies.”
Harvard MA, USA
Ken Olsen will continue to live in our
hearts... The DEC community has demonstrated once
again that the spirit and the culture of our beloved company as
created by Ken Olsen is powerful. His passing has brought so many of
us together again just by reconnecting with one another spending
minutes from our busy lives reminiscing about the days when we were
one big happy family under father Ken. May his soul rest in peace.
Lisa Brown, Human Resources
Jim Rainville, USA
I started at the Mill in Maynard in 1969
and spent the next 38 years with DEC, Compaq, and HP. Ken was a very
big inspiration to everyone in the company. The highlight of my
career was when I got to spend an hour and a half interviewing Ken
for the VAX VMS/OpenVMS at 20 book in 1997. He was truly a very
smart and caring man. It was a very sad day when I heard of his
passing. My prayers are with the Olsen family.
It was my extraordinary privilege to
work at Digital Equipment Corporation from 1978 to 1998.
I met Ken for the first time in 1979 when he was touring the Cherry
Hill, NJ office and he stopped and spoke with every employee for a
few minutes. He asked what I did for the company and at the time, I
sold word processing systems. He turned to his host and asked why I
didn't have a word processing system to use at the office so I could
use what I sold (we used typewriters at that time to do generate our
proposals). He voiced my own thoughts and in that instant, created
within me an incredible respect and unshakeable loyalty to Ken and
As I think about Ken and his legacy, it occurs to me that through
his vision, his creativity and his passion for technology and
always, always doing what was right, he created an environment that
enabled hundreds of thousands of people all over the world to work
hard, know they could take a risk, learn from mistakes, be creative
and most important know they could accomplish any goal -- for so
many years anything seemed (and was) possible at Digital -- the only
boundaries were those we, individually, placed on ourselves.
For myself, Ken provided an environment where I developed a rich,
fulfilling career, learned so very much, made lifelong friends and
learned that it is possible to work for a "for-profit" entity that
always strove to do the right thing for our clients and employees.
I am SO very fortunate to have briefly met and interacted with Ken
several times during my Digital career and have the utmost respect
for him and his accomplishments.
I extend my deepest sympathies to the Olsen family on the loss of a
man who truly made a difference in the world.
Steve Lambert, Colorado Springs CO
Ken would call all the engineering team
members, Monday Mornings, specific to his project agenda to his
Bldg. 12 office oval table and you soon learned that Ken is your
lead engineer of your project and progress had best be positive or a
large set of keys (Ken's massive key ring) comes flying down the
table if Ken wasn't happy.
Conservative Ken assigned Steve Lambert and Ken Fitzgerald to
design, build, document and build the 1st Disk file production line
in the oily floors of Bldg. 5. Both Fitzgerald and Lambert had never
designed a Disk before and that was true with many assignments from
Ken Olsen. Ken provided funding for both of us to learn the
technology that started with a Gerad 80 turntable (modified) for
head testing that later resulted in the DF32 disk that was DEC's
first Disk product that later led to a Disk Production facility in
My name is Lucille Kilpatrick-DaCosta
badge #18692. I had the honor to work for Digital for twenty years.
I felt like Ken really cared about us and it showed. I will miss him
and his great leadership.
My thoughts go out to his family and there are in my prays at this
time of sadness.
All I can say is God brought home another ANGEL!!!!!!
Amherst NH USA
Ken was a many-faceted person who could
determine the essence of problems and opportunities in many aspects
of Digital's complicated business. The first time I met him was in
the early 1980's. The ESG Product Line was running a CAD/CAM Expo on
the west coast. It was our first show of that type and I was very
surprised to see him there.
Engineering Systems was the first group to develop joint marketing
relationships with third party application vendors as a fundamental
strategy to leverage the sales of the new VAX computer. Ken dived
into the displays with a tremendous amount of energy. He talked to
our demo people about their backgrounds and even tried out some of
the software. He asked the customers what they thought of the event
and how important the software was to their business and asked our
management about the partnership strategies and deals. I was even
more surprised at the length of time he spent in long conversations
at the event.
We returned to the office pleased with the customer results. A
while, later Ken's office announced DEC Town the pre-cursor for the
highly successful DEC Worlds that extended this model in a networked
fashion to all the applications and industries that Digital served.
What a vision he had!
Santa Barbara, CA USA
I joined DEC in 1960 after interviews
with Ken, Stan, and Dick Best. I got to know Ken a bit in the very
early days when I hauled him along on several customer visits. We
made several trips to Bell Labs together, and I know he really liked
visiting with those guys. He met Ed David on one of those visits and
it was Ed that got him appointed to Nixon's Board of Scientific
Advisors. I just happened to be in Maynard the day after Ken got
"the call" from Ed and he told me about it. He was very pleased.
Dave Denniston, who worked in Field
Service Marketing, Digital Australia, Mid-Atlantic Region, LDP
Bruce Lynn Lexington, MA USA
In 1980, early in my tenure at DEC, my
father passed away. Shortly after I received a beautiful houseplant
with a card signed by Ken to express his sympathy. How many
companies of this size would have a policy like this? My guess would
be close to zero! That was how I thought of Ken for the 18 years I
continued to work at DEC and how I remember his to this day.
Bruce Lynn (Lexington, MA), Global Healthcare Solutions Practice,
I started working at Digital in 1980 at
age 21, at the Semiconductor plant in Hudson, Ma. I didn’t even know
what a computer chip was. I owe my life to Digital and Ken.
Everything I am as a person today, was nurtured at that company. If
you were a hard worker and had ambition, the sky was the limit. The
opportunities were endless, and the Digital family was there to
support you. I feel very lucky to have worked for such a wonderful
company for some 25 years. And I do believe that working on the
Alpha chip team can be counted as the best of my career.
John DeMarco Plymouth, MA
I had the tremendous pleasure to work
for DEC from 1983 until 1998, and then for COMPAQ and HP until 2005.
During my DEC tenure I was always made to feel that I mattered,
because Ken and the company made me feel that way! I was fortunate
to win a COE award in 1991 and a trip to Palm Springs. Our banquet
for that event was an old-fashioned "sock hop". Well during the
event in walks Ken wearing a sweat shirt with "COACH" written on it.
That was perfect because all of us DECcies always felt like a part
of one great big team. Then Ken walked to every table and shook
hands with all the award winners. He spent time thanking us for our
contribution. My wife and I were shocked to see my CEO doing this
ever so personal touch to the event. There will never be another Ken
Ken Olsen was a man of vision in many
areas. Not widely known is his important contribution to national
security. In November 1991, I heard Ken speak with pride at a
conference about the vital role played by DEC computers in Operation
Desert Storm during the Gulf War. This triggered a flash of
inspiration. During a coffee break, I walked up to Ken and proposed
that DEC build a high tech management and control system for Soviet
nukes and fissile materials, which were in danger of falling into
the wrong hands following the country’s collapse.
Ken immediately recognized the importance of the problem and said:
“Write me a proposal.” The Executive Committee gave their
“enthusiastic support” for the project, and since at Digital “he who
proposes does,” I was assigned with its implementation.
I traveled to Moscow, meeting with former US Defense Secretary Frank
Carlucci and the Russian general in charge of his country’s nuclear
arsenal. This was the first effort by US industry to address what
became known as the problem of “loose nukes.” I worked on this until
Ken’s resignation in 1992, following which support for the project
vanished abruptly. I soon left DEC and the work was implemented
successfully by another company, and is now helping safeguard US and
world security. But Ken Olsen’s farsightedness and support were
crucial at the onset of the project, and I am eternally grateful to
I was fortunate. I had the opportunity to interact
with Ken on many occasions both at DEC and after we both left.
However, one of my first encounters always comes through when I
think of him. As you may recall, the blizzard of '78 caused all the
roads in the Commonwealth to be closed for a week. After getting dug
out and hanging around for a few days, I decided to go into my
office, then in the bowels of Building 4, and get a jump on things.
So, I quickly drove to the Mill - it was only 4 miles- and started
working. No one was around and the mill was strangely quiet. About
one-half hour after I got there Ken walked into my office and sat
down and proceeded with some small talk about the devastation of the
storm and then a technical discussion of the things we in the
Research Group were working on. This went on for at least an hour
and, as it was starting to get dark, I headed home. Needless to say,
I didn't get done what I planned but was happy to trade it for a far
ranging and interesting conversation with a very nice man.
My name is Jim Raffa. I worked in the
Law and Contracts Department in Merrimack, NH from February 1978 -
My first day at
Digital in 1978 was a Monday in February. It was a dark day with
light snow and with a forecast of a severe Northeaster expected over
the next 24 hours. I signed in, signed all my papers, was briefed on
my position, met my new boss, sat at my desk for less than 1 hour.
As the day finished, I said good bye to my new acquaintances. I knew
my drive back from the Merrimack, NH facility to Stow, MA was going
to be slow as there were 6 inches of snow on the ground when I left
the facility. I did not return to work for over a week. The snow
storm turned into the Blizzard of '78.
I knew that I was a new employee with
no sick or vacation time built up. Therefore, I expected that
February was going to be a tight month financially for me and my
wife with over a week of no pay. However, when I arrived at the
Merrimack, NH facility, the first thing my new boss said to me was
that Ken Olsen had approved payment for all employees, even me the
new employee, of salaries for the time missed because of the
blizzard. The time that I missed was not to be docked from my sick
or vacation time. This was one of the many wonderful experiences
that I had while working at Digital and my beginning admiration for
a man that remembered his employees as much as making great products
and being profitable.
Harwich, MA USA
Back in 1971 or 72, I was in the PDP-8
Group. The PDP-11 had been announced and was just starting to ship
and the PDP-11 was the Pizzaziest thing going.
We in the PDP-8 Group were demoralized to make an understatement.
Ken called Bill Long (our Product Line Manager) and said he would
like to meet with Bill's Group. Half an hour later there were 25 of
us in a very small conference room.
"I know the PDP-11 is the neatest thing going, but we need the
revenues from the PDP-8.
If you people don't think you can make your numbers, no problem. No
problem at all.
I'll just find someone who can!"
Well . . . You never saw a more motivated group - - and we did make
Bill Gassman, Merrimack NH USA
Ken tested the durability of a customer
demo I was staging for him by “accidently” tripping over the power
cord. During the conversation that ensued while the systems were
rebooting, we got into a deep technical discussion about VAX DECnet
hardware design. He liked being involved in all aspects of the
company. It is an honor to be a 17 year DEC alumni, schooled under
Ken Olsen’s leadership.
DEC Sophia Antipolis, France
As a young
engineer, DEC was my first company, soon a family, of which I was so
proud to be part of.
Born and grown in Faith too, I valued Ken’s approach to and
orientation of business, management style and company values.
The 14 years spent allowed me to continue shaping and enriching my
professional and personal life and through DEC’s multiple past
innovations, everybody’s life nowadays.
Thanks Ken for everything!
Star Dargin, Littleton MA USA
I am grateful to Ken for creating a
thriving company that respected and valued people. A company that
allowed people to grow, learn, and contribute in meaningful ways. I
started at DEC since I was 17, my sister, and mother both worked
there for many wonderful years. Star Dargin (mom: Rollie Sargent,
and sister: Rosalie Delea)
Many thanks to Ken and his family! I once was
working for Digital Equipment. And it was really the very very best
and nicest time in a company I had in my life.
All people I met within my time at Digital have been in a very good
mood. This was the spirit of Ken, which was all around the daily
I wish his family lots of peace and power, Katja
wonderful man was a role model and mentor to all of us. Ken set the
bar for ethics and leadership in corporations in my opinion. As many
did, I had numerous wonderful meetings and experiences with him. He
came to Cincinnati to visit our customers, he came to Sales Training
to speak to our new sales classes, he mentored me thru various
presentations to the Product Line Managers, he coached me on using
DEC TV and specifically on the MicroVax II WW new product
introduction. Just an absolutely superb leader and mentor in my
Thank you to the Olsen Family with our sincere condolences.
Cecil M. Dye
Alpharetta GA, USA
To the family of Ken Olsen:
There have been so many times I wanted to send a letter of thanks to
Ken Olsen. Unfortunately now is the time I am actually doing so …
during the passing of this great computer pioneer Ken Olsen. In 1984
as a young 23 year old African American female I was blessed with
the opportunity to work for one of the most amazing companies in the
world. This was truly a turning point in my life. To this day there
are DECcies around the world that I meet who have high praises and
gratitude for the opportunity to have worked for a company such as
Digital Equipment Corporation (you have no idea). I am pretty sure
you have heard it all but it was a pure joy and an life long
fulfilling experience working for DEC. DEC was about it's people and
it's people was about DEC. There is no other company that I am aware
of such as Digital and it would not have been that way if it was not
for Ken Olsen and his vision.
Hail to you Ken Olsen and for the memories. May you rest in peace
My heartfelt condolences to the Olsen family. This
was my first real job and I felt pride and loyalty. I always felt
that Digital would take care of me - it was a true family.
I was able to learn so many things that have helped me throughout my
career and today I have so many friends - we still keep in touch.
I'm proud to be a Dec employee forever...I worked in the San German
manufacturing plant in HR, then I went to work in Sales office in
San Juan, Puerto Rico. I then relocated to Los Angeles and worked
with Digital in Culver City, and when I returned to Puerto Rico I
joined again...it was a great ride!!!! Twenty-five years of pure
leadership, learning experiences, and wonderful people...you cannot
beat that ever.
Ken was the glue that kept us together...Rest in Peace !!!
Paris, France and Hong Kong
“Un Grand Bonhomme” as we say in French.
[A great gentleman]
Sadness and respect come to my mind for the fantastic achievement
and contribution he made to the 20th Century.
Paix a son ame [Peace to his soul]
Deo gratias [Thanks
to God for having given Ken to us]
My thoughts and condolences are with the
Even if I never met Ken personally, I also feel that all the
contributions DEC has made to my world, my business and personal
development, was really enriching my life. Thanks Ken that he has
formed such a company. Nowadays my best friends I have met in DEC 30
Sylvia Karl (Employee Name Sylvia Hofmann)
as Secretary to the Service Mgr. Middle European Region and later on
Sales Rep. Installed Base Group
from 1972 to 1988 with DEC Germany/Munich
Carlos and Manuela Sacanell, Germany
Dear Olsen family, our condolences to
the entire family.
I remember that I met Ken once in my life but I have been more
impressed by the spirit that he gave to this company. I have been
working 11 years for DEC where I met my wife. This is 28 years ago.
The education of “how to treat your employees and run a company” is
still present every day and it has been the best professional
experience until today. DEC has been exceptional by all means and
this was only possible due to one person… Ken.
I am really sorry to hear this but be
assured the spirit of Ken’s work is still alive at a lot of people
around the world. Carlos and Manuela Sacanell
Vero Beach FL, USA
I was saddened to learn of Ken's death
this past Sunday. He was not only a great visionary in the early
days of computing but ran a company which had true values. We need
more of them today! I have often quoted the last of the 10 "Rules"
that we all knew and followed: "When in doubt, do what's right" What
powerful and simple words that were actually followed while I was
there. Ken's Quaker roots showed through in "our company". We all
had a real pride of being part of something special which was built
up by a special person. We'll miss you Ken.
Bill Taylor - ('72-'91)
Chito Collins, San Jose CA, USA
Hello, I had the privilege of meeting
Ken at a training session in 1978 and he truly inspired me to be the
best and to "do my job well". My computer career is still influenced
by him, and sending his family and dear friends and fellow ex Dec my
deepest sympathies. He will be in my prayers.
Ms. Chito Collins
Volkach, Bavaria, Germany
I‘m very sad to hear from the death of
Ken Olsen. I want to give you my condolences upon the loss of a
This is all too sad. He was a righteous
man. I discovered a couple years ago that early in his career at MIT
he started coming out to Wenham, to the estate that became Gordon
College. Now I know that he secretly poured money into building
dorms, the science center, etc. and it makes me happy to think that
the profits and dreams he had at DEC, although the company
disappeared, made their way into the school that he founded on his
ethical principles and strong character. We're lucky to have had
Patricia Moody - worked in Westminster,
Mass and Salem, NH FA & T
Note: Patricia also shared a section
from Psalm 1 about the life of a righteous man and how it reminded
her of Ken.
From 82 thru 92, I worked for
Professional Press. We published ‘The DEC Professional’ and ‘The VAX
Professional’ magazines (among others). Needless to say, I was
keenly aware of DEC, it’s products and it’s people. And today,
like you, I’m sad at Ken’s passing.
Oracle DBA/MediMedia USA
Peggy Romano, USA
I just read the news and feel sadness
for the loss of someone who through his visionary leadership
provided me an opportunity to work at a great company for many
years. I do not think I can fully quantify the rewards brought into
my life as a result of working at DEC. Best friends who I met at
DEC, personal and professional growth and wonderful work experiences
are just a few of the things for which I thank Ken and DEC.
My condolences to his family and
friends. I'm sure he will be missed by many. -- Peggy Romano
Thanks to Ken for the Saturdays he spent
on the Mill floors chatting with the guys and girls putting in
overtime. He always had an interest in the products and people
associated with them. One always knew he was nearby when someone
mentioned “ Uncle Ken is coming to flip some switches”. He will
always be the guy in the Red flannel shirt to us.
All the best to his family.
George Lander, HPTC Support Team, CSC-Unix
Hello, You have my condolences in
the lost of Ken Olsen. D.E.C. was my first employer out of college.
I worked for D.E.C. for 14 years (until the company was sold to
COMPAQ). I love the family values and commitment to employee
training and development that Ken implemented. May God continue to
bless your family in this time of bereavement and always.
Keith Allen, USA
God Bless Ken....
I did get to meet Ken a few times when I supported the Office of the
President, I was always very nervous around him.. Ken always made me
feel at ease and he seemed to always be interested in what the issue
Was I was trying to resolve. Very nice guy, felt like I was visiting
my grandfather. (He let me sit in his chair to fix his issue once….)
John Kirstner, USA
A very sad day indeed. What a great man
Think for a second of the opportunity he
provided for so many people.
Rest in peace KO.
Richard Gasparoni, USA
Too bad. He was a pioneer in the Computer business.
Sad day around here when that news gets out.
Think of the lives he touched over the years.
He built up a culture at DEC that I have really not seen any other
place since I left there.
There should be a bronze statue of this man in Maynard in front of
He built an empire. Sad. Lots of ex-DECie’s floating around the
David Heuss. USA
I still remember the day that I was sitting in my
cubicle in DDD in Nashua, NH and Ken stuck his head in to ask if it
was OK to use the phone in the cubicle next door J. Like I was going
to say no or something.
Bob Shagoury, USA
Very sad to hear of Ken Passing as he was truly a
great man to work for and know.
Ken’s inspiration lives on…
Mike Hay, USA
It was sure a great experience working at DEC when
Ken was CEO.
Steve Davis, WMO, USA
Thanks for sending this along. It’s a time I’ll never
forget and a man I much admired and had the pleasure to meet in
person. That memory will last forever.
Paul Bennett, USA
Condolences to the family – his whole “DEC family” is
greatly saddened! He was truly a great man, and a wonderful leader
to us DEC employees.
Bob Dufresne, WMO, USA
A legend has passed but his kind works and deeds will remain
forever... not many like him anymore....
Carla Jalbert, WMO, USA
Sad to hear this news… knew that he wasn’t well – we
owe so much to him for creating such a great company as Digital!
Jim Kersey, WMO, USA
So sad to hear our beloved Ken Olsen has passed away.
Merillyn Chicknavorian, WMO, USA
This is sad news about a great man.
Luanne Buccieri, USA
May you rest in peace Ken Olsen: Founder of Digital
Equipment Corporation (DEC). Having worked in the Maynard Mill at
DEC for 16 years, I had the pleasure of meeting Ken as he did his
daily walkthrough shaking hands and chatting with many of the
employees. One of the highlights of my career.
Christine Pineau, WMO, USA
For all those former Deccies out there, Ken Olsen,
founder of Digital Equipment Corporation passed away this weekend.
He was a great man, inventor and boss. He will be greatly missed.
Janet-Lee Lanzilotti Norris, WMO, USA
OH so sad. Ken, thank you for starting a technical
revolution. I will never forget your bright smile and your blue eyes
as you totally dissed the guy you were talking to and said good
morning to this 24-year old outside Acton-On-The-Hill.
Elaine Carroll, WMO, USA
The man inspired loyalty like no other…
you can bet that current employees won’t feel the sense of loss and
sadness most of the DECies do upon hearing about KO’s passing.
Many thanks Ken for enriching all of my
life. My condolences go to the Olsen family.
Guy Dalmasso (DEC employed)
Maribeth Marcello, MA USA
...the love and affection for Ken Olsen
speaks to a bygone era that we will cherish forever!
Santa Cruz, CA, USA
The PDP-11 minicomputer revolutionized
the computer industry in the 1970’s so much that I HAD to move from
Albuquerque to Boston to work for DEC. My first job there was
as the quality engineer who debugged V1.0 of what you now call MS
My second job was to write the DEC* and
IBM Culture manuals and teach the information to DEC employees. My
third job was industrial visitor @ Stanford University.
[*now posted on our website]
It is the only company I ever worked for where people still thank
the founders for just letting us be there.
I am grateful for all my experiences there. I still talk with
and meet with my team.
Rallis Sarantis, Munich, Germany
I've being working 8 years with good old
DEC in Germany, I became very sad as I heard that Ken passed away!
Rest in peace, Ken, and thank you for all the contributions you have
made to our world, and for enriching all of our lives. Me and my
Family sends the heartfelt condolences for the entire Olsen family.
Diane Miller, NH, USA
Very sad to hear of Ken Olsen’s passing.
What a great visionary he was indeed.
I am one of those ex-Decies that grew up and learned so much at my
years there. I would not be where I am today without Digital, the
best company that anyone could work for.
Just to add some more words (certainly
the same ones) to the comments coming from the DEC community: I
spent 13 years within DEC, and while Ken was the Head of DIGITAL it
was no doubt to me to be a member of the best company in the world.
Mainly due to Ken.
Jean-François Rousseau, DEC member from 1982 to 1995, Jf.firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Falter, Munich, Germany
Remembrances from a German employee to
I never forget DECworld 88 in Cannes
where I had the honour to see Ken live as key speaker at the opening
event in the Palais de Festival et Congres. He was such a good
speaker, very enthusiastic and I was so proud to work for Digital
Equipment. I was one of the fair hostesses and loved to work at the
DECworld 88 event. It was a really big and important event for our
customers worldwide, I met a lot of DEC people from foreign
countries and visited a few of them in several countries and we
became good friends. It was one of my best experiences in my
lifetime to work for DEC and with DEC people. And I still meet a few
of them and we all have great memories. All the best for Ken's
family. He was a real role model for a lot of companies and people.
You can be very proud of him. I will never forget him.
The time with DEC was the best in my
whole lifetime and I regretted it so much that I could not
proceed... Our customers were very proud of the DEC machines and it
was always special for me. I worked as admin in the sales
department, in the sales team who covered BMW first and then for the
head of the German Sales department.
Kind regards, Barbara Falter - 9 years DEC employee
still at HP, now in Germany
I just want to pass on my sincere
condolences to the family and friends of Ken Olsen. A man I
unfortunately never had the pleasure of meeting. He was the founder
and to myself and many others the father of DEC, an amazingly
innovative and diverse company. In England we say that the acorn
never falls far from the tree, meaning we as children will be very
much like our parents. This also applies to managers of any business
be they large or small. Ken provided and nurtured a wonderfully open
and caring working society where I was allowed to develop and
prosper in business but more importantly as a human being. A feat in
any company … but in such a global corporate it was quite unique.
As I said, I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Ken but, I always
think of him as someone with a very sharp mind, a visionary who
neither suffered fools gladly or could watch a stray cat suffer, a
man with integrity and a huge portion of emotional intelligence. I
worked for Ken for 14 years and look back on that period of my life
with absolute delight. Within DEC, I was an acorn who was more than
happy to fall near the tree.
Ken, may you rest in peace. I never knew you ….. but I miss you all
the same …..
Kindest regards, Gary Holland
Keith G. Hamil
Lawrenceville, GA, USA
I worked for DEC for over 13 years in
various Field Service and Sales Support functions. I embraced the
DEC culture and work environment and it will always be with me. I am
currently employed by Cisco Systems, Inc. and I proudly display my
DEC mementos in my office today.
I had the opportunity to meet Ken at DECWorld ’90. I will never
forget that event and having the opportunity to meet someone who had
such a positive impact on my life. I will always have my memories.
Working for Digital was more about fun than business.
Peace be with you- Ken Olsen friends and family. The legacy lives
Keith G. Hamil
Jay (Jr) LaCroix, Merrimac MA
I joined DEC manufacturing in 1967,
Building 5/5. That blustery winter we had many major snowstorms;
during one of them I called the front desk in Maynard at 6:30am
before I headed out to work in the blizzard and asked if we were
open. The response I got was “Sir, this is Digital, we are always
open.” I still live with this key work ethic to this very day. I
learned and grew so much from watching Ken, his values and the DEC
culture. Thank you Ken! Jay (Jr) LaCroix 1967-1994
Marlborough MA, USA
Our Great Ken Olsen: Ken was a wonderful man, and a great
ICON in the computer world but also to each of us who worked there.
That was the place to be. I was hired in and worked in the Business
Products group and "WE ROCKED", because we had a hard-working,
dedicated group to succeeding in "winning" and the sense of family
was surely felt.
In the 80's I walked the Boston Marathon and raised money, and we
had "MATCHING GIFT". Ken was all about "GIVING TO THE COMMUNITY".
I sang for the "Decarolers" and we went to his office where he sat
with all attention to us and appreciated the service we gave.
Memories fondly fill my heart of the great man and many happy days
are remembered with love and respect.
Natick MA USA
I worked for DEC from 1977 through the Compaq transition and was
laid off by H-P.
From the Natick core lab to HOSS to GIA Field Service, and on, the
opportunities were endless and exciting. In my current job I
still work on a large and critical OpenVMS application at Fidelity.
So, if a "Thank You" for 35 years of gainful employment can be
shared here, I wish to give him my Thanks. I only met him
briefly a couple of times, but he was very kind to shake my hand and
make me feel at ease. Thank you Ken,
California - USA
I was saddened by the news of Ken
Olsen’s death. He has been my life’s Hero. An exemplary bright and
personable leader and CEO with unique and generous management style
unlike any other CEO I have seen.
He led a successful company and touched the lives of tens of
thousands of employees and customers in a unique and personal way.
This is the reason why after twenty-some years Digital’s former
employees still remember and value their time at Digital.
I only met Ken Olsen once in an employee meeting but enjoyed working
at DEC for seven years.
Digital Equipment Corporation is and has been the best company I
have ever worked for. I started at DEC in Customer Support Center in
Colorado Springs, Colorado, moved to Engineering in Marlborough and
finally transferred to the Professional Services organization in
May God Bless his spirit.
Bernadette Rucker, M.Ed.
Children's Services of Roxbury
IFC Program Supervisor
My most memorable experience of Mr. Ken
Olsen was of his passion and commitment to the Urban Community. I
was an employee at the Digital Roxbury, Massachusetts Keyboard
Manufacturing Plant. At that site, there were basketball courts on
the property that the urban teens used and took advantage of during
the spring, fall and summer months of the year. When Mr. Olsen
visited the Roxbury Plant, he was vigilant in ensuring that the
courts grounds were clean and manicured, and basketball hoops were
in place year round. I was proud to work for Digital and grateful
that there was a serious commitment to make a difference in the
urban community. May his family be Blessed and may Ken Olsen rest in
peace – Well Done!
Concord MA USA
I spent the first ten years of my 25
year long DEC experience in the mill and saw Ken walking through the
halls so many times. He always had a smile on his face and a “hello”
for everyone. Working at DEC was a great experience and a place I
miss to this day. The lifelong friendships I made at DEC are the
best. I recently had to appear before our local city council for a
volunteer position with our local Emergency Management office. After
I gave them a brief overview of my past experiences regarding work,
one of the councilors said “I too worked at DEC for a long time. It
was a good run!” Truer words were never spoken. Thanks to Ken Olsen,
people around the world had one of the best work experiences ever. I
had the great opportunity to work in both Ireland and Scotland and
cherish those 3 years as 3 of the best of my life.
Rest in peace, Ken and thanks for a good run! My heartfelt sympathy
to the Olsen family.
I worked for DEC in Singapore, started
as Software Specialist and ended as Director, Networks & Systems
Integration Service. Under the great influence of DEC culture, such
as "do the right thing", I grew up with the Company from 1983 to
1998, and made many friends till this day.
Ken has always impressed me an innovator and a great leader. My last
face-to-face meeting with Ken was during the last ever DECWorld
(1992?). He was very approachable, such an unassuming character for
Dian Pekin, USA
Ken required of his employees excellence
in technology development and in human behavior. Consequently, the
world was made significantly better by his presence in it.
I started in 1978 at DEC in Natick; I
never have or will for a better company with such an outstanding
leader as Ken. I transferred to the Mill in 1981 to the MCESS group
on 5-1. I still remember Ken coming around at Christmas to shake
every one's hand and how easy he was to talk to if you saw him in
the hall. He is a great man who ran a great company and will be
missed. They laid off our group in 1990 and, although we got a great
severance package, I cried like a baby that day, never be another
company like it, I’ll never forget those years………..R.I.P. Ken……..Joe
Jim Wengler, Acton, MA
30 years at Digital. I remember
driving up route 27 to Maynard with my then classmate Charley
Valentine in 1964. We had just been hired out of Wentworth Institute
and were reporting for our first day at Digital. We came around the
corner to building 5, went inside and checked in for duty. What is
this place Digital, and who runs it? We and our families soon found
out over the next three decades. Ken's spirit permeated the company
and made it the technology giant that we all came to appreciate and
Rest In Peace Ken, Thank you and May God Bless You. Jim
Taryn (Lee) Johnson,
When I started working at DEC in July
14th 1975, I was only 19 years old. I stayed on for the next 23
years. Now as I look back, there was and never will be another
company I truly enjoyed working for. I met Ken when he came to
Hudson at the Semiconductor plant where we were celebrating the
revealing of the Alpha processor. I stood next to Ken and
congratulated him for the success of the project! He just
thanked me in his down-to-earth way that we all know so very well.
It was truly an honor to have grown up as a teenager, to become a
professional business woman who learned the values of hard work and
dedication. Rest in peace Ken and once again, thanks for creating
DEC and making it one of the best places I have ever worked for in
Taryn Johnson (a.k.a. Taryn Lee)
Iain Watson, European Manufacturing,
I joined DEC manufacturing in 1969 in
Reading England, to subsequently relocate to Galway Ireland in 1971
where I completed my 21+ years of service. During that time, I made
a lot of friends within the corporation from all disciplines and
Countries I am still in touch with many. I was very proud and
appreciative that during that time, I actually talked to Ken twice.
I consider myself to be very lucky to have joined Digital at a young
age. Other DEC managers completed my education by teaching me
management skills, etc.
DEC did not make me rich as in $, but they did make me rich in
myself, I will never forget! Today I am in my early sixties,
retired, 4 grown up children and 14 grandchildren in their own
houses! When I joined DEC I had a wife, nothing in the bank,
no assets! DEC gave me the opportunity to change that! I will
not be able to attend the Memorial, but I will be there in spirit,
as will a lot of others, I’m sure.
Thank you Ken and Digital - Rest in peace!
Bill Hanson, Mashpee, MA, USA
Thank You Ken
I knew when I first walked into the Mill in January 1967 that DEC
was a very special company. Yes, it was a leader in the young
computer world with its mini computers. But it was also a leader in
Doing the Right Thing. I was impressed that there was a Mother
Shift, so that women with young kids could work and yet be home when
their kids were home from school. It was clear to me then, that DEC
was about more than just building computers. DEC was also about
helping to rebuild an old woolen mill town and to be a good
Thanks Ken for the opportunity to help to make the world a better
place not just with our computer technology, but also with how we
treated people and our commitment to do the right thing for all of
DEC stakeholders, from customers to communities.
I write this not only in behalf of myself, but for so many special
folks such as, Pete Kaufmann, Cy Kendrick, and Leroy Saylor, who
would want their opportunity to say their special thanks to you.
And Yes Ken, we still wear our Digital badges with great pride.
Henry Cauthen, Jr., Lowell MA, USA
Mr. Ken Olsen contributed a lot of
ideals and inventions to the computer world.
With great and humble respect, I want to
send a note Ken Olsen. My name is Armand Hebert. DEC badge 49016. I
stared with DEC in 1975, in Salem NH, trained in a few places in MA
but Salem was my main office, Coats bldn if any one remembers, then
moved to NI once it was finished. Westminster was my training place.
I want to send a note to Ken just to say thanks for your excellent
support to me personally back in the late 70’s as you came to the
Westminster MA plant, and also the Salem NH plant often and a few of
us Eng.’s sat with you while you met with us, and listened to us
newbies Engineers for a general coffee talk, you asked of our
thoughts about how to make the company work better, more efficient
…etc. I’m now 57 yo. I was 19 when I first met Ken. Dec->Compaq->and
now HP owns me. I’ve accepted their enhanced early retirement
package after 38 years of continued dedicated employment. I’ve
weathered a few storms over the past decades and I thought if Ken is
still around, I want to send a thx to him as his company provided me
with the tools I needed, gave me the appropriate support, and
because of DEC I’m successful in life. I love computers too, so I
guess that helps.