Kenneth W. Simonds
2000 Outstanding Alumni
Ken Simonds began as a trainee in the computer industry in Kingsport, Tenn., and never dreamed he would end up the CEO of an electronics company. Born and raised in Kingsport, he graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School. He attended George Washington University on a football scholarship for a year, but transferred to East Tennessee State University in 1954. Simonds graduated from ETSU in 1957 with a bachelor's in business.
It was in 1957 that Simonds joined IBM in Kingsport as a trainee in the Data Processing Division. The following year, he became a salesman in Columbus, Ohio. In 1960 he was promoted to District Manager of Education and within six years he was promoted to Marketing Manager and then Branch Manager in Green Bay, Wis. He was the youngest Branch Manager in the country. In 1968 he was promoted to Industry Manager with national responsibilities, and three years later was promoted to Director of Data Processing Services.
Simonds left IBM in 1975 to become the Director of Marketing for Amdahl Corporation, a small start-up company in Sunnydale, Calif. He was promoted to Vice President of Product Support and Services in 1976, and then to Senior Vice President of U.S. Operations in 1979. In 1981, he was again promoted, this time to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He retired from Amdahl in 1984. During this time, he was part of the management team that led Amdahl from no revenue in 1975 to $800 million dollars in revenue in 1984.
In 1985, Simonds came out of retirement to join Teradata Corporation as President and Chief Operations Officer. He was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in 1986 and Chairman of the Board in 1987. While at Teradata, he led the company from no revenue in 1984 to $400 million dollars in revenue in 1992. He took the company public in 1987 and raised $70 million dollars. Teradata was named the fastest growing technology company in 1991 by Electronic Magazine. In 1992, he sold Teradata to AT&T for $520 million dollars and retired.
Simonds received the "Spirit of Life" Award from the City of Hope Medical Center as Humanitarian of the Year from the Technology Community in 1981. He was a finalist as Entrepreneur of the Year in Southern California in 1989. He has held membership in the Optimist Club and the Rotary Club, and has been on the board of directors of many non-profit and for-profit organizations. Currently, he is on the boards of the Junior Golf Foundation of the Desert, Acorn Golf Corporation, Hampton International, FileTek, Data National, Medical Care Corporation, and is Chairman of Simonds Enterprises.
Since 1990, Simonds has been involved with the golf industry. He started The Practice Tee Corporation in 1988 and developed three practice facilities and courses. He sold the business to a public company, Family Golf Centers, in 1996. In 1995, he bought The Golf Center at Palm Desert and continues to operate the facility with two of his sons.Simonds and his wife, Sally, live in Indian Wells, Calif. They have five children, Robert Wayne Simonds, Potomic, Md.; Dr. David Bruce Simonds, Greensboro, N.C.; Cynthia "Cindy" Simonds May, San Francisco, Calif.; Joseph Thomas Simonds, La Quinta, Calif.; and Kenneth Wayne Simonds, Jr., Rancho Mirage, Calif.; and nine grandchildren