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 some independence."
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 better."
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 works.