1999 Distinguished Service Award: James Pertzborn

// Electrical & Computer Engineering

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James J. Pertzborn
VP, Server and Workstation Development
BSEE ’73

James J. Pertzborn developed his ability to successfully introduce new technology and products to market through a series of management and technical positions in many of IBM’s product lines. A proven and respected executive, he has worked on IBM’s System 38, the AS/400, RS/6000, S/390, networking hardware, and net-work computers. Most recently, he was named general manager of network and personal computers in the IBM Personal System Group.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1973 with a BS in electrical engineering, Pertzborn joined IBM, where he has spent his entire career. In 1986, he was responsible for technical and investment evaluations of IBM’s technology portfolio.

Pertzborn later was named the director of Product and Technology Evaluations, IBM, Europe/Middle East/Africa, located in Paris. In 1994, he began serving as general manager of cross-industry solutions, EMEA, and then upon returning to the United States led the development of future AS/400 technology as director of AS/400 systems hardware development. He was later promoted to vice president of AS/400 development, a division which develops and manufactures the world’s most popular multi-user business computing system with more than 500,000 systems shipped to customers in 140 countries. In 1997, Pertzborn was promoted to vice president of server and workstation development. He was responsible for both the AS/400 and RS/6000.

This technical business manager, who has made significant contributions to the business computing industry, also serves as the IBM partnership executive for UW-Madison. He has also contributed to the community, serving as chair of the education and workforce readiness task force of the Olmsted County 21st Century Partnership, and as a member of the board of directors for the Minnesota Business Partnership.

Pertzborn is married to Leslie Pertzborn whom he met in Rochester, Minnesota. She is a graduate of Mankato State University. The Pertzborns are the proud parents of two children. Their son, Joshua, is a first-year biomedical engineering student at UW-Madison. Krysta is in the 10th grade in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

The family has enjoyed living and exploring in Europe and many different regions of the U.S.