- unknown (b.)
Born in Chicago, she earned a BA in chemistry and math at the University of California-Los Angeles; then a Master's in Aeronautical Engineering at Stanford. She worked in technical and marketing positions with General Electric selling computer time-sharing services and for TRW. In 1971, at the age of 24, she started her own company ASK Computer Systems Inc., which later became ASK Group, Inc. in her apartment, investing $2,000 of her savings. She began writing software that created recipes for robots, but swiftly graduated to programs for business. She later created minicomputer programs and information systems that helped manufacturers improve the quality of products. In 1978, she came up with ASK's most significant product, named Manman (a contraction of manufacturing management). Manman was an ERP program that ran on Hewlett-Packard minicomputers and helped manufacturing companies plan materials purchases, production schedules, and other administrative functions on a scale that was previously possible only on large, costly mainframe computers. The program had a six-figure price and was aimed at small and medium-sized manufacturers. Small companies desiring the least expensive implementation could purchase time-sharing cycles of the software. It was a huge success and quickly come to dominate the market for manufacturing systems and software. ASK's fortunes rose as a result. In 1978, after recognizing that software could boost hardware sales, ASK quickly became the world's largest reseller of Hewlett Packard computers. The company later became a major reseller of computers for Digital Equipment with revenues at $13 million. She decided to take ASK public in 1981 and the company stock sold out immediately. Two years later, her personal stake in the firm was worth $67 million. When sales reached $79 million in 1985, she resigned as CEO and president. In February 1989, she also resigned as Chairman of the Board to set off on personal pursuits that included writing an autobiography, spending time with her two sons, and building a house in Hawaii. In September 1989, at the request of the board of directors, she returned and assumed the title of CEO, president, and chairman. At its peak, ASK had 91 offices in 15 countries before Computer Associates acquired the company in 1994. She has appeared on Good Morning America; and has lectured in several places across the United States on continuing education and women taking charge of their lives. She was recognized by Business Week editors as one of America's most influential business leaders.
Noted For:The first woman to take a high-tech company public, as developer of ASK Computer Systems Inc. and it’s product, Manman; an ERP program that ran on Hewlett-Packard minicomputers and helped manufacturing companies plan materials purchases, production schedules, and other administrative functions on a scale that was previously possible only on large, costly mainframe computers
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