Charles Eldon


Charles A. Eldon
Charles Eldon
Tacoma, WA, USA
Death date
Associated organizations
IEEE Haradan Pratt Award


Charles A. Eldon, IEEE President, 1985, worked for nearly forty years at Hewlett Packard Company, where he managed various operations for the company.


Charles A. "Bud" Eldon was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1926 and moved with his family to Hawaii in 1927. He grew up on a sugar plantation on Kauai where his father was chief engineer. His family moved to Honolulu in 1939, and they experienced the Japaneses attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.

Eldon left high school one year early (before graduating) to begin studies at Stanford University in 1944. He was drafted into the U.S. Navy and trained as an electronics technician, completing a nine-month course at the Electronics Material School. After serving almost two years in the U.S. Navy, he returned to Stanford and earned a B.S. in Physics in 1948 and an M.B.A. in 1950. In January 1951, he joined Hewlett Packard and spent nearly four decades at the company. He had numerous assignments in manufacturing and engineering management; management of corporate systems and operations research activities; and ultimately corporate management of capital equipment, from which responsibility he retired in March 1990.

Charles A. (Bud) Eldon dedicated his initiative, leadership, and strategy to the IEEE, constantly aiming to improve the Institute through strategic planning, change, and growth. As the 1985 President of the Institute, he made several lasting changes, including proposing and defining the ongoing strategic planning process that he implemented the following year. He organized what is now known as the Electronic Industry Forum, which brings several organizations of the electronics industry together periodically, and has engendered cooperation between the Institute and other industry groups. He also went to Moscow to reestablish formal relations with the Russian Popov Society, and to resume an international exchange that has been of great benefit to members of the IEEE and the Russian Popov Society. Mr. Eldon played a key role in developing WESCON as a profitable asset, by leading critical negotiations to purchase part of the trade show from WEMA. Shortly thereafter, he helped to sell just a portion of IEEE's stake in the show at a tremendous profit. This important west-coast trade show is now valued at several million dollars.

Through the years, he has been extremely active in the IEEE and has held many different IEEE positions. Some highlights include being Founder of the Bay Area chapter of the Professional Group on Product Engineering and Production, Chair of the San Francisco section, Director of Region Six, and eventually Treasurer, Executive Vice President, and President of the Institute. Mr. Eldon is a Fellow of the IEEE, and was awarded the IEEE Centennial Medal, the IEEE-USA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Engineering Professionalism, and the Region Six Committee Service Award. The many awards and honors of his career include the Don Larson Award of WESCON, and honorary membership in the Russian Popov Society.

Mr Eldon won the 2000 IEEE Haradan Pratt Award "for innovative leadership of the Institute, particularly in the area of strategic planning, and through the promotion of a stronger industry interaction."

Further Reading

Charles "Bud" Eldon Oral History

Remembering Charles A. "Bud" Eldon, obituary published in The Institute, 9 Oct. 2012 [[1]]