|Headquarters||Lake Forest, California, U.S.|
|Dennis Morin, Phil Huber|
|Products||InTouch, Historian, Intelligence, MES, System Platform, SmartGlance, Alarm Adviser, IntelaTrac, Skelta BPM Workflow, eDNA, Corporate Energy Management, Information Server, InBatch, Recipe Manager Plus, ArchestrA|
Wonderware is a brand of industrial software sold by Aveva. Wonderware was part of Invensys plc, and Invensys plc was acquired in January 2014 by Schneider Electric. Invensys plc. was formed in 1999 by the merger of BTR plc and Siebe plc, and Wonderware was acquired by Siebe plc in 1998.
Wonderware software is used in diverse industries, including: Automotive Assembly, Facilities Management, Food and Beverage, CPG, Mining and Metals, Power, Oil and Gas, Chemicals, Energy, and Water and Wastewater.
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Wonderware was co-founded by Dennis Morin and Phil Huber. Both were former employees of another local startup located in Irvine, California. Morin's founding vision was a Windows-based Human Machine Interface (HMI) that was inspired by an early 1980s video game that allowed players to digitally construct a pinball game. His idea was that operators monitoring factory operations would be more productive if they used a machine that was fun and easy to use. He was terminated from Triconex in February, 1986. In one of the great rags-to-riches entrepreneurial stories of the 1980s, Morin was 40 years old when he left Triconex. Up until then, the college dropout had either been fired or never been promoted from every job he managed to find. He drove a Taxi in Boston before coming to California, hitching a ride with some friends in the 1970s. He told his idea to a young technology wizard, Phil Huber, who was still employed by Triconex. Huber was a Penn State graduate who once worked at the legendary Bell labs before coming to California.
Huber agreed to help his friend develop the HMI product that would be called InTouch and the new company Wonderware. Other friends of Morin's at Triconex agreed to help on the project. On April 1, 1987, Dennis Morin, Phil Huber, Cole Chevalier, Jerry Cuckler and Bill Urone signed an agreement to start Wonderware. Morin set about raising money for the venture. A friend, Linda Ellison introduced him to her father who was a local Orange County, California investor. Jerry Spellman was a no-nonsense former World War ll veteran who listened to Morin's pitch over dinner, and agreed to invest $100,000 to start Wonderware. Other investors, however, insisted that Morin was not ready to lead the company, so industry veteran Peter Pitsker was appointed the first CEO of Wonderware which began operations in 1989. Another longtime friend of Morin's, Chet Tomsick was pivotal in implementing the first installation and became a key advisor. Morin became CEO within two years.
Wonderware employed an outrageous marketing blitz in the conservative industry for factory operations. Their print ads featured lingerie, they rented out cruise ships and hired bands such as the Dixie Chicks and speakers like astronaut Alan Shepard to appear at company events. They soon became the industry leader in a market they largely created, leaving much bigger rivals behind. Morin left the company towards the end of 1995. He went to professional cooking school, sailed, and traveled widely, most frequently in the company of beautiful women. He built the well-known 'Rock House' in Laguna Beach, a house featured prominently in magazines and TV and became a tourist landmark. Wonderware was sold to British-based SIEBE in 1998 for nearly 400 million dollars. By that time, all the founding members had left the company. Co-Founder Phil Huber remains active in startups. Morin died on the last day of 2012. Wonderware became part of Paris-based Schneider-Electric in 2014.
Wonderware was formed as a partnership in 1987 and incorporated in California in 1988 as Wonderware Software Development Corporation. The company reincorporated in Delaware in 1993. At the time, there were other software companies making programs to automate production processes, but Wonderware was the first to introduce a program designed to be used with the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a result, Wonderware became one of the fastest-growing software companies in the U.S. during the early 1990s.
In 2003, InTech, the magazine of the International Society of Automation, listed Wonderware founder Dennis Morin as one of the 50 most influential industry innovators, noting that he “bet the company" on Microsoft's Windows software and started a major transition from dedicated, hardware-based process control to Windows-based "open" technology.
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