Every person’s image of the successful programmer location is Silicon Valley. Before Apple and Microsoft could even exist, we have Roy Clay Sr., the Godfather of Silicon Valley, who was at the cutting edge of computing and technology.
Roy Clay Sr., the Godfather of Silicon Valley
Education and Career
Clay was one of the first black men to attend Saint Louis University in 1946 when there was no such thing as computer science. He graduated in 1951 with a Bachelors of Science in Mathematic and was only introduced to computers post-grad.
In 1958, Clay found himself working as a computer programmer at what is now known as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, then would later be employed by the Control Data Corporation working on a computer language (Fortran, a general-purpose language suited scientific computing), and briefly as a programmer with IBM. Corporations often hired mathematics graduates for their software development positions instead.
Clay had his hand of what we consider Forbes-500 companies we know and love today. After working at the LLNL, he would work at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation(a leading aircraft manufacturer at the time) and HP (recruited by Packard himself) as a software development manager and lead developer for the first computer sold by HP. His contributions to HP notably include become the first directors of HP Research and Development.
In 1971, Roy Clay worked as a consultant that specialized in nurturing prospective investments in start-ups for Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the premiere venture capital firm at the time, which 3 of those investments were evaluated at a valuation of $135 billion dollars (Tandem Computers, Compaq, and Intel).
Roy Clay founded and is CEO of ROD-L Electronics, the hipot and electrical-safety test equipment manufacturer (which validates the electrical safety and integrity of line power devices of products).
His company, ROD-L, has received the Consumer Product Safety Award for developing the safest product of its kind and its products are used by the leading manufacturers of electrical and electronics equipment worldwide.