Vice President and Distinguished Engineer, Amazon.com
Vice President and Co-Founder, Ring The Bell Fund
Ken was inspired to help Virginia create Ring The Bell Fund after learning that his children’s school fire alarm was not connected to the local fire district. He also personally experienced the complete failure of relying on cell phone service for a 911 call during a power-line fire next to his and his neighbors’ houses. After helping his neighbors evacuate their homes, Ken drove to the nearest fire station, which was five blocks away, to alert firefighters. Ken believes that schools and their surrounding neighborhoods should be safe with a monitored fire alarm system, at a minimum, so that first responders will automatically respond to an emergency.
Ken is a Chief Technologist, Architect, and Engineer at Amazon.com (Lab126), and is one of the original creators of the bestselling Amazon Kindle e-reader device and the Kindle Fire tablet device product lines. He is one of the key technical leaders of the Amazon Digital organization.
Ken has spun-out and started several companies. His first company resulted in award-winning code debugging tools that set a new standard for software code development. After selling this company to Symantec, Ken led the creation of the first integrated development environment for the Java programming language, Symantec Café. The complete line of ground-breaking Symantec Java tools won multiple industry awards over many years. He also led the creation, development, and release of several ground-breaking Palm handheld consumer devices, such as the Tungsten and Zire lines of handhelds, and key core technology utilized in the Treo line of smartphones.
Ken strongly believes in supporting and giving back to his community, and encourages others to do the same. Along with his wife Virginia, he supports many organizations, including the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter, the California State Parks Foundation, the Northern California Innocence Project and the Innocence Project, the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, the Redwood City Police Activities League, the American Heart Association, the American Society for Suicide Prevention, the Junior League of Palo Alto * Mid-Peninsula, the Sequoia High School Education Foundation and Parent-Teacher-Student Association, the Coro Center for Civic Leadership, The Tech Museum of Innovation, as well as many others.
An Honors graduate of California State University Hayward, Ken and his wife, Virginia, live in unincorporated West Menlo Park with their two sons and a rescued family dog.