Ron Wolfe: Size of NI in 1982

How big was the company when you started working with NI?

I believe there were about 12-15 employees in May 1982 when I started – with a few added that summer and a few more by the end of the year.  I believe annual sales were under $1M. I’m sure I’m forgetting somebody, but here are some names I recall…

The 3 founders: Dr. James Truchard (President), Jeff Kodosky (Software), and Bill Nowlin (Hardware).  Some others were: Audrey Harvey (1st hardware designer and a friend of mine at UT that started in Feb 1982, she was the first and I was the 2nd design engineer hired), Kyle Evans (software developer came from ARL), Kim Williams (software developer came from ARL), Doug Tashiro (sales manager who managed our reps/distributors), Jerry Olson (VP HR and other stuff I’m not sure about but he’s the one that signed my employment contract), Ruth Koughan (Payroll/Accounting/General Office Manager and Mother Hen), Jim Bacon (printed circuit board layout guy that had like 45 jobs before NI) Kay Fahn (manufacturing manager), Billy Lawson (technician), Mark Durso (technician), Jamie Rhodes (customer support guy answering phone questions and sharing some whiskey with me at the end of my first day).  A few of these folks were part time I think that first summer.  Then there was also Wayne Ashby (the other guy from ARL who wasn’t technically a founder) who came on sometime that summer or perhaps later along with a bunch of his retirement cash when we thought we were going to get the Boeing GPIB deal – that deal later fell through and Wayne went back to ARL but stayed on the NI Board through the IPO in 1995 because his money had bought a lot of early NI stock – it turned out well as he eventually made “founder class” money at the IPO.

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