Resume of Kenneth L. Hess


1999-Present, Founder and Chairman, Pocket Express, Inc., Novato, CA

1984-1996, Founder and President, Banner Blue Software, Fremont, CA

Ken bootstrapped this software development company from a personal investment of $20,000 and no outside funds to annual sales of $23 million and acquisition by Broderbund Software, Inc. In so doing, he navigated platform transitions from DOS to Windows to CD to Internet and distribution transitions from direct mail to software reseller to consumer mass merchandiser with sales growth and outstanding profits every single year. In 1994, Banner Blue acquired Automated Archives, Inc., a data provider, from internally generated cashflow.

Through 1996, Banner Blue sold approximately two million copies of software through direct and retail channels, primarily Family Tree Maker (for locating and organizing information about one's ancestors) and Org Plus (for making corporate organization charts). Ken personally wrote the initial versions of both these award-winning programs:

Ken's engineering work also received one of the first software patents, Patent 4,764,867, Display System and Method for Constructing and Editing a Hierarchical Arrangement of Information, issued August 1988.

Family Tree Maker and Org Plus have appeared on numerous industry hot sales lists. During the first half of 1996, Family Tree Maker was one of the top three selling personal productivity product lines according to PC Data. An OEM version of Org Plus is shipped as a component of Microsoft's PowerPoint, accounting for additional sales of about 30 million units.

In 1992, Banner Blue produced the program Uncle Sam's Budget Balancer. This free program empowered every citizen to try their hand at balancing the federal budget using information provided by the Congressional Budget Office. It was followed in 1996 by another free program, Eureka! California's Budget Balancer.

1983-1984, Product Manager, Director of Product Marketing, Symantec, Cupertino, CA

1978-1983, Hewlett-Packard Company, Palo Alto and Cupertino, CA

Ken held a variety of marketing positions with increasing responsibility at first the Optoelectronics Division and later the Information Systems Division.

As a Product Manager at the Optoelectronics Division, Ken lead a division-wide task force investigating investments in alternative display technologies. Ken's personal contribution, an analysis of which technologies would dominate the market and why, has held accurate to this day. At the conclusion of this project, Ken authored "Picking the Best Display" in Electronic Design magazine.

1977, Summer Intern, Teradyne, Inc., Boston, MA

Ken developed a forecast of memory test system market size based on a model of the customer's manufacturing process and changing memory technology.

1974-1976, Intel Corporation, Mountain View, CA

Ken started as Production Supervisor in the ion implantation, diffusion, thin films area, then was promoted to Shift Supervisor at Intel's original wafer fabrication plant, Fab 1. During afternoon shift, he was the senior manager on duty with a workforce of 62 people including a skeleton crew on graveyard. Ken's group met all weekly production commitments while expediting numerous special engineering requests.

1973, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC

Summer Intern in the office of Ohio Congressman Charles A. Mosher. Drafted replies to technically-oriented correspondence and served as liaison between Mr. Mosher and the House Committee on Science and Astronautics.


Sensant Corp., San Jose, CA, 1998 to present.

The Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Board of Overseers, July 1996 to present.

Software Forum Advisory Board, 1993-1998.


1976-1978, Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, Boston, MA

Ken received a Master in Business Administration degree.

1971-1974, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

Ken received a Bachelor of Science Degree with Distinction, Engineering. His major was interdisciplinary with emphasis in engineering, computer science, and political science. Ken was a member of Tau Beta Pi (national engineering honorary), Co-Chairman of Stanford-in-Washington (public affairs internship organization), and an astronomy laboratory teaching assistant.

1968-1971, Howland High School, Warren, OH

Ken was active in student government, yearbook photography, and debate at this public high school in Northeastern Ohio.

Personal Information

Ken has been married to his wife, Connie, since 1977. They have a daughter, Amber, born in 1987. Ken's avocations include photography, astronomy, and building almost anything.

Last updated February 7, 2000