“It’s been a great ride… I’d like to take on some new challenges in the next 20 years…” ~ Ted, upon retiring from Gateway in 2005
Founder & Board Chairman
Ted Waitt, co-founder and former chairman and CEO of Gateway, Inc., helped revolutionize how people use technology to live, work and play through pioneering the direct marketing of personal computers. Labeled a maverick by national business publications, he has since gone on to form multiple enterprises: Avalon Capital Group, Inc., a wholly-owned, private investment company with diverse interests; Waitt Foundation; Waitt Institute; and, Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention.
Through the Waitt Foundation, Ted has become one of America’s 50 most generous philanthropists, according to Business Week. Ted has served as the chairman of the Founding Fathers campaign of the Family Violence Prevention Fund and currently serves on the Board of Trustees and the Council of Advisors of the National Geographic Society and on the Board of Trustees as vice chairman of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Ted is the son of a fourth generation cattleman. He attended the Universities of Colorado and Iowa from 1981 to 1984. After a nine-month stint working in the PC industry in Des Moines, Iowa, he and Mike Hammond co-founded Gateway in 1985 on the Waitt family farm. With a $10,000 loan secured by Ted’s grandmother’s CD, they grew Gateway from “two guys in a barn” to become a Fortune 500 company.
Over the years, Ted has earned a number of prestigious honors, among them: the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award from the U.S. Small Business Association, two Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards, Marketing Computers Marketer of the Year, and a Ten Outstanding Young Americans (TOYA) award from the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce. He was appointed by Congress to serve on the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce, and he received an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of South Dakota.