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In 1963, Thomas Perkins was encouraged by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard to end up being the administrative head of the research section at Hewlett Packard. He was the first general manager of HP’s computer departments, credited with helping shepherd HP’s entry to the minicomputer company. During the 1960s, he also began University Laboratories, which was afterwards united into Spectraphysics. Afterwards, Frank Caufield and Brook Byers joined the company, finally becoming named associates. Perkins served as a manager of Applied Materials, Compaq, Corning Glass, Genentech, Hewlett Packard, and Philips Electronics. He served as the sole chairman of Tandem Computers, from its foundation in 1974 until its 1997 merger with Compaq. Perkins was also chairman of Genentech from 1976 until 1990 when it united with Roche Holding Ltd. Through the HP/Compaq merger battle in 2001, Perkins was an associate of the Compaq board and an outspoken supporter of the amalgamation.