In 1962 David Packard decided to transfer his oscilloscopes business from Palo Alto, California to Colorado Springs where he felt he could build a strong team and compete in the highly competitive field of electronic test and measurement. The challenge was to invent scientific measurement technologies that would enable the booming electronics industry in the 1960s.
Dave was a native of Pueblo and he wanted to support his home state, but before selecting a site for a factory he needed to ensure there was a nearby university to provide talent in the areas of engineering and business management. Colorado’s governor and the head of the University of Colorado were fully supportive – and this was the beginning of UCCS.
H-P launched the construction of the factory in 1963 at 1900 Garden of the Gods Road – just down the hill from the planned university. By 1964, the HP team in Colorado Springs began inventing solid-state oscilloscopes, cathode ray tubes, digital logic analyzers, telecommunication analyzers and other electronic test equipment.
The original team was led by Cort Van Rensselear, followed by Stan Selby, and Bill Terry. In recent years HP has formed independent companies to carry the business forward – including Agilent Technologies and Keysight Technologies and both companies presently occupy the original site.
The HP/Agilent/Keysight engineering culture is best defined by a concept Packard called “The HP Way” which was based on the personal values of the founders Hewlett and Packard. Codified in 1957, The HP Way was transformative across HP and the entire high-tech industry. Bill Hewlett described it in 1982 as “… the policies and actions that flow from the belief that men and women want to do a good job, a creative job, and if they are provided the proper environment, they will do so.” The HP Way included objectives pertaining to profit, customers, employees, management, and citizenship. It was a revolutionary recipe for managing a high-tech company that encouraged management to walk around the plant, listening and seeking ideas, uncovering problems and driving continual improvement.
HP, Agilent and Keysight continue to thrive and grow in Colorado Springs today and The HP Way remains an important foundation. The workforce numbers over 700 people and the companies remain closely connected with UCCS and are among the city’s most active philanthropic contributors.
Generously Submitted by Alan Steiner, Retired HP Executive