When asked what line of work he was in, Eugene “Gene” Ravizza ’50 would say, “the people business.” Sure, the company he founded in 1954, Cupertino Electric, was instrumental in powering many of the foundational companies that made Silicon Valley the tech capital of the world. But Ravizza knew that to be truly successful, you had to have a happy team.
You should be proud to tell a stranger on the street that you work for Cupertino Electric Inc. (CEI), “because we never screwed anybody—in plain English,” chuckled Ravizza in a 2019 promotional video celebrating the company’s 65th anniversary. “I think employees appreciate that: Employees like to do what’s right.” Those who worked for him confirmed this golden ruledness. Treat your employees, your vendors, and your customers as you’d like to be treated, he’d say. He was old school like that.
Born on July 21, 1928, to Albert and Georgia, Ravizza was raised in Sunnyvale with his sister Aline and brother Armand ’62. He helped work his parents’ ranch and attended Fremont High School before majoring in electrical engineering at Santa Clara University.