As a young boy growing up in Oakland , education was David Brown's family's highest
priority. "Neither of my parents went to college and there was no way that my sister
and I were not going to graduate." Brown's father, who worked at Grand Auto Supply,
was a self-taught manager, attending business seminars on his own and eventually becoming
general manager of the retail auto store.
Brown, like many engineers, was, as a child, a tinkerer who enjoyed taking things
apart and putting them back together again, especially model airplanes and cars. Early
on his father suggested he should become an "engineer," by which Brown thought he
meant a train engineer. By high school, however, he realized that he wanted to be
a design engineer. Transferring from Cal to San José State , Brown appreciated the
smaller, faculty-taught classes. It was also far away, relatively, from his home in
Oakland , providing for autonomy from his family.
Specializing in gas dynamics with an eye toward designing and building jet engines,
Brown was first recruited by Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in Connecticut . Throughout
his career, as Brown acquired more and more managerial experience in the high-tech
industry, he realized he wanted to form a company "out of a need to manage people
The result was Quantum Corporation, founded by six individuals in 1980, which had
as its values fair treatment and respect for its employees.
Applying his managerial expertise to non-profit organizations, Brown served on the
board of directors of Zonta for eight years. A school for children with severe behavioral
disorders , Zonta merged with Peninsula Children's Center, which then became Achievekids.
The merger was the result of the strategic planning process that Brown introduced
and shepherded. Organizational success requires committed, responsible leadership,
and Brown has consistently striven to provide this vision for everyone with whom he
David A. Brown
Co-Founder and Retired President
B.S. Mechanical Engineering
"Back in '60s when you drove from Oakland to San Jose, there was nothing on the freeway
when you left Oakland until you hit San Jose; it was all farmland. San Jose was a
good hour and a half drive from home, so I thought it was a great place to establish