Thank You and Farewell Dr. Dennis Govoni

Scott McNealy has said on many occasions, that a big part of Sun Microsystems overall historical success is the tremendous talent and passion of Sun's pre-sales technical contributors.

Today, Wednesday November 19th, 2008, we say farewell and best of luck to one of the best there ever was --  Dr. Dennis Govoni.

I have been here at Sun a long time (21 1/2 years), and I can say that without question there is \*no one\* who has had more positive and long lasting impact on the technical community in the DC area for Sun Microsystems than Dr.  Dennis Govoni.

For those of you who have not had the privilege of working with Dennis, let me give you a little background.

Dennis Govoni has been working with computer technology since 1967.  He became Associate Professor of biology at Virginia Wesleyan College (VWC) in 1973, and introduced timesharing computing into both the business and academic areas of the college.  He also received a National Science Foundation grant to develop a generative CAI program to help students understand Mendelian genetics.

After leaving VWC in 1983 to work full-time in the computer industry, he joined Prime Computer, Inc. as a Networking and OS specialist. Responsibilities were in both the government and commercial worlds. Upon leaving Prime, he joined Tandem Computers, Inc. in the Telco District as a senior analyst supporting the new fault-tolerant Integrity UNIX line.

In 1992, he joined the Sun Microsystem as a network architect and specialist. While serving in this capacity, he developed the Networking Survival Kit, a Web site devoted to providing information and teaching materials for system engineers around the world as related to networking and Java technologies. This effort resulted in his being named network ambassador of the year for 1995.

In January 1999, Dennis Govoni worked with Astronaut Sally Ride on EarthKAM: NASA, the Internet, and Education Working Together.  

In 2002, Dennis was one of the first three Technical Directors selected from the \*entire\* global pre-sales technical community.  Dennis was one of the creators and leaders in the Southern Area Technology Facility (now the Solution Center), an author for Sun Journal, SE-Times, The Technocrat, mentors for many SEs, creator of the Sun New Hire program that the rest of Sun embraced, the SATC, the Worldwide Technical Readiness Council with industry thought leaders such as  Hal Stern and Dan Berg, Technology At Sun Group, Java Evangelist, Java Realtime expert, security expert, networking expert, and countless other committees and councils, the list just goes on and on....

I have worked worked with Dennis on literally countless technical and business opportunities both inside Sun and outside with Sun's partners and customers. If the problem was extremely complex, Dennis was always the first one consulted.  Dennis would bend over backwards to help out anyone who asked.

Both Dennis and I had the privilege of jointly working for three great SE Directors - Joy Warfield,  Brad Kirley and Sue Walls who all showed great leadership and courage.  Most importantly, Joy, Brad and Sue firmly believed in the Sun mantra "work hard and play hard".   In the "play hard" vein, Dennis and I have pulled countless pranks on each other and have teamed up with others on some very memorable April Fools Goofs as well.  There is not enough space on all the sundc servers to talk about all of those.   We were very fortunate that during that time we had the best HR person of all time in John Gardner.  John clearly understood the importance of office chemistry and its affect on employee productivity and morale.

My all time favorite April Fools Day was Govassic Park on April 1st, 1997 when John Meyer, Neil Pierson and I turned Dennis's office into a version of Jurassic Park called "Govassic Park". 

My personal favorite memory of Govassic Park was when Barb Govoni was upset when she saw we had dinosaurs eating her only two grandchildren :-)

My all time favorite customer visit was when Bill Joy's office called and asked Dennis, Conrad Geiger and me to visit a company in Chicago.  This company claimed to have \*invented\* a storage device using sub-atomic particles and aspects of quantum mechanics.  We all made the trip out there on a very cold winter day.  Let's just say, that this "company" clearly did \*not\* invent anything.  Makes for great memories though... Dennis, Conrad and I laughed all the way back to the airport  :-)

Dennis, we all want to thank you for your tremendous contributions over the past 16+ years at Sun and wish you nothing but the best. 

Dennis, you can \*NOT\* be replaced....

You can reach Dennis at or you can leave a comment here at my blog.



Loved working with you, Fiori, Neil, and others at the fort and Belvor on the project that almost ended my first year of marriage. You are the best !!!! Take care.

Posted by Sean O'Neill on November 19, 2008 at 02:29 AM EST #

We go back a Looooong way.

I thank you for your daily conversations about life in general.
It thank you for your wonderful sense of humor
I thank you for your beautiful photographs
I thank you for speaking at my daughter's high school
I thank you for your are one of the smartest people I know.
Remember...create the facebook page.
Your friend ALWAYS...K

Posted by Kim Dombrowsky on November 19, 2008 at 04:57 AM EST #

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This is Dave Edstrom's, Chief Technologist for Sun's Global Systems Engineering's Software LOB, blog about Sun technology, technology in general and some fun stuff like Corvettes :-)


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