A Tektronix Gain


Some seventeen months ago, just as the first of his two EDA WEEKLY articles on Agilent EEsof EDA was about to be posted on EDACafe.com, the writer learned that the VP & General Manager of the featured Agilent Technologies division was leaving EEsof EDA after 10 years of successful service in that position (24 years at HP & Agilent).

Jim McGillivary

Indeed, Jim McGillivary departed at the end of April 2010 after working closely with his EEsof successor Dr. Mark Pierpoint to ensure a smooth transition.

By then, the two EDA WEEKLY articles about Agilent EEsof had already appeared on February 01, 2010 and MARCH 29, 2010. These two articles may still be accessed at the following URL:


Earlier this year (2011), the EDA WEEKLY checked in with Agilent EEsof EDA as part of the EDA WEEKLY ONE YEAR LATER program, and found as expected that EEsof is continuing the do very well with new leadership and the improving economic situation .   Note: The reader may choose immediately to view this ONE YEAR LATER section of that particular issue of the EDA WEEKLY by (1) first reading the hints in Footnote [1] below to learn how to navigate once there toward the bottom of the article where the ONE YEAR LATER section is located, then (2) bookmarking this current article using the toolbar in your browser so you can easily return to the current “A Tektronix Gain” article, and finally, (3) click on the following URL:


Checking in ONE YEAR LATER with Jim McGillivary

Next, the writer touched base in April 2011 with Jim McGillivary as well, to see how he was faring ONE YEAR LATER, i.e. a year after he left Agilent.

By way of background, the writer first met Jim McGillivary in early 2005 along with key members of Jim’s team, when Henke Associates was engaged by Agilent EEsof to evaluate the then-existing competitors of EEsof, to assist Agilent EEsof in evaluating signal integrity companies as potential candidates for acquisition. This project turned out very well and is the basis for Case History #18. To read Case Cistory #18 immediately, first (1) bookmark this current article using the toolbar in your browser so you can easily return to the current “A Tektronix Gain” article, then (2) click on the following URL:


Shortly after that consulting project was completed, Agilent EEsof under Jim McGillivary’s continuing guidance proceeded with and consummated the acquisitions of both Eagleware-Elanix and Expedion, each of which has since added key software offerings and personnel to expand EEsof’s product lines.

The Recent Meeting with Jim McGillivary

To best determine what Jim McGillivary has been involved in over the last year, the writer invited Jim to a face-to-face get-together. The subsequent meeting with Jim took place in Santa Rosa, CA at the end of April 2011.

Not only is Jim and his family doing very well these days, but also the writer gained a wealth of additional knowledge about Jim’s background, capabilities, interests and personality that were not apparent from previous, more limited encounters. These insights have been incorporated into the current article.

At the time of our April 2011 update session, Jim was in the midst of selling his home in Santa Rosa and preparing his family’s move to already-selected new digs in Oregon, the better to pursue a new opportunity at Tektronix in Beaverton, Oregon. Jim began this new career assignment on February 01, 2011, and he has been commuting by air weekly between PDX and STS ever since.

Why Tektronix?

Readers will recall that Tektronix had been acquired in November 2007 by Danaher Corporation, a worldwide conglomerate based in Washington D.C. Today Danaher’s total revenue for the trailing 12 months was $13+ Billion and it has a Market Cap of about $36+ Billion.

When Danaher acquired Tektronix, Danaher had paid slightly more than $2.8 Billion in cash for Tektronix, which represented something just north of $38 per share to Tek stockholders (many of whom were Tek employees). Danaher had coveted both the Tektronix Test & Measurement business as well as Tek’s Communications Division, the latter of which was spun off to a separate entity called Danaher Tektronix Communications.

Never having heard the Danaher name before Danaher acquired Tek, the writer among others nevertheless figured at the time that Danaher management must be “smart cookies” indeed, since they kept visible the venerable Tektronix name and reputation after the acquisition.

After all, anyone in electrical or electronics engineering, or early EDA or MCAD for that matter, knew the Tektronix name. Who among us was not aware of early Tektronix oscilloscopes (first developed in 1946 when “Tek” was founded [2]):

An early 5XX Tektronix Oscilloscope

Years later, those of us in MCAD and EDA software were equally delighted by Tek’s first storage tube computer terminals (in the early seventies). After starting our tiny business by developing and using primitive MCAD software in the late 60’s and early 70’s via Model 33 Teletypes or other alphanumeric-only terminals linked to offsite service bureaus, the writer and his colleagues at SDRC Cincinnati were among the first recipients of the initial Tektronix 400x and later the 405x graphics terminals:

A Tek 4014 [3]

A Tek 4051 [3]

Tektronix continued to play an important role in SDRC’s development later in the 70’s (and thus in the writer’s development), when SDRC licensed its CAE software package to Tek for re-selling with Tek’s 408x graphical Interdata minicomputer workstations.

A Tek 4081 Workstation [4]

This ongoing Tek/SDRC relationship prompted frequent trips by the writer in the late 70’s, back and forth between Cincinnati and Portland (foretelling the many more frequent trips between San Jose and Portland after the writer became a general manager at Mentor Graphics from 1990 to 1994. In fact, the writer moved to and lived in Portland for two years 1994-96 before returning to the SF Bay Area).

As a matter of fact, Tek played a major role in the very formation of Mentor Graphics in 1981, as founders Tom Bruggere, Gerry Langler, and Dave Moffenbeier were all former Tek employees. (When the writer first went to work for Mentor Graphics in 1990, the founders were still running the Company).

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