April 3, 2014 in Business

Technology innovator Bernard Daines dies at 69

By The Spokesman-Review
 


(Full-size photo)

Bernard Daines, acclaimed as one of the early developers of Ethernet technology and a visionary business leader, died in Kootenai Medical Center Thursday morning. Daines was widely seen as Spokane’s best-known technology innovator.

Daines would have been 70 on April 12, his brother Dan Daines said.

In recent years Daines’s health had been problematic. Diabetes had required regular dialysis treatments. In recent weeks, his condition had deteriorated.

A family graveside service will be held Friday at Evergreen Cemetery in Post Falls.

Among his career accomplishments were founding a number of notable technology firms, including World Wide Packets, Packet Engines and later Linux NetworX.

He was also a founder of TierPoint, a Liberty Lake data center operation recently acquired by Cequel Data Centers.

Born in Canada, his family moved to Moses Lake in the 1950s. Because of Daines’s chronic asthma, his parents moved to the Spokane Valley. He graduated from Central Valley High School and then attended Brigham Young University.

By high school, Daines was already enmeshed in learning about computers. He constructed a language-translation computer for a high school science fair.

In 1969, Daines was the first graduate of BYU’s computer science program.

Settling in California, Daines became a consultant and network engineer for a succession of tech firms.

Along with others, he played a major role in developing high-speed networking switches using the Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet protocols. Those technologies continue today as one of the key components of broadband network communications.

While still working in California Daines sold his first successful company to Cisco Systems.

He moved back to Eastern Washington in 1994 and launched his first Spokane Valley firm, Packet Engines. He sold that firm as well. Then in 2000 he launched World Wide Packets.

That company later was later purchased by networking company Ciena.

Because of his success in selling that company and others, Daines was once dubbed one of this area’s wealthiest businessmen, a title he said was far off the mark. “They consider some of the stock I once owned to be extremely valuable,” he said at the time. “They weren’t even close,” he added.

In the early 2000s he was included in Newsweek magazine’s key 100 people to watch during the first decade of the 21st century.

In recent years Daines focused primarily on managing Liberty Lake Portal, a business center he owned. He and his wife, Marsha, lived in Liberty Lake.

Daines was the oldest of eight children and was always a private, quiet person, Dan Daines said.

“He had deep emotions, but he didn’t show them often,” Dan Daines said.

Among his idiosyncrasies, Daines never wrote in cursive.

“They may have forced him in school to write in cursive,” his brother said. “But as an adult, I never once saw him write in anything except careful and precise print. He liked it.

“For him it was like computer printing. It was clean and direct,” Dan Daines added.


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