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Tech visionary, Seagate co-founder Al Shugart dies at 76

Friday, January 12, 2007

Al Shugart, a visionary and independent thinker instrumental in creating a new industry to store information electronically, died Tuesday at age 76 from complications after heart surgery.

The company he co-founded in 1979, Seagate Technology, is the world's largest disk-drive maker, employing 43,000 people worldwide. He was a Renaissance man who enjoyed Shakespeare as well as engineering ' and an iconoclast who ran his dog as a congressional candidate to make a statement about partisan politics.

He was named the most admired industry executive in data storage for six years running. He made the Forbes list of corporate America's most powerful people and was chosen for the Computer Resellers News Industry Hall of Fame.

"I think very highly of him," said Steve Kang, dean of the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz.

Shugart made his mark not only in the tech world but in Scotts Valley, where a campus employing 1,000 people sprang up next to Carbonera Creek.

"He came to town and changed it," said former Scotts Valley Mayor Joe Miller. "He was a starter."

Julie Still, Seagate's vice president of corporate communications, said Shugart was beloved by employees.

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