Directly out of college Walden went to MIT Lincoln Laboratory where he really began to learn about computers and digital communications as a programmer in the Space Communications division, where the group he was in (as the junior member) was developing digital systems to point radar antennas and interfacing these digital systems to the analog radar and radar control systems. While working at MIT, Dave did the course work for an MS in computer science at MIT, but didn't do the thesis required for the degree.
Three years later, he followed his department leader to Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. (BBN) which had one of the preeminent computer R&D centers in the world. There he had the good fortune to be part of the seven person development team that developed the ARPANET, the first packet-switching network which was the precursor of the Internet.
In 1970-71, Dave took one year away from BBN and worked for Norsk Data Elektronikk in Oslo Norway, and there led the development of the second packet switching network for the Norwegian Air Force.
Returning to BBN in 1971, he continued his deep involvement in the Internet and was involved in a number of Internet innovations. Dave began to lead technical projects, progressing through a sequence of increasing responsible management positions. During this period he co-taught (with John McQuillan) what was probably the first college seminar on the practical design and implementation of packet-switching networks, at Harvard. Also during this time, Walden consulted to the designers of the first French packet-switching network and the first packet-switching networks in the UK, and papers he had written or co-written were widely read and applied by the developers of the first packet-switching networks in Japan. In 1980 he became a general manager for the first time, and continued in a sequence of general management positions through 1990, the last being an 8 year tenure as leader of BBN's System and Technologies activities, a 1000 person contract R&D organization that did first class work in a couple of dozen areas of computer and communications technology and physical science and engineering. In this technical period of his career, he was author or co-author of a number of published papers, including some that are considered classics.
Starting in 1990, Walden spent 2 years as BBN's SVP and Chief Quality Officer. During that time he was involved in the founding of the non-profit Center for Quality of Management. In 1992 he returned to general management until I retired from BBN in early 1995.
Since 1990 he has published extensively on a variety of management topics, including being the co-author (with Shoji Shiba and Alan Graham) of highly regarded book entitled A New American TQM--Four Practical Revolutions in Management. The book has sold nearly 20,000 copies and been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and French.
Since leaving BBN, Walden has taught part-time at the MIT Sloan School of Management and worked part-time for the Center for Quality of Management (CQM). The CQM is a non-profit consortium of over 100 companies in the US and Europe for the purpose of sharing real experiences with a variety of modern management concepts and methods.
Dave grew up in Pittsburg and Antioch in Contra Costa County. Through high school, he was deeply involved in school music (marching band, pep band, dance band and symphonic band). His parents were both California public school teachers, and 2 of his 3 siblings got their college education in the California State junior college, college and university system as he did. He has been married to Sara Cowles Walden, who he met in Boston, since 1966. They have one child, Luke, who is 29, a graduate of Brown University, and currently a Master of Fine Arts student in photography at Rhode Island School of Design. Their daughter-in-law is also a Brown graduate, has a Masters degree from Cambridge University in England, and is currently applying to medical school. Dave and his wife split their living between East Sandwich on Cape Cod and the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston.
Dave tends to get interested in a hobby and then do it massively for
a while, before going on to the next thing. His hobbies to date include:
bridge, musical theater, postal chess, juggling (he was editor of the Newsletter
of the International Jugglers Association), sailing, playing Irish and
Scottish traditional music on the flute and tin whistle. He is currently
attracted to genealogy and the every day application on probability theory
and looking forward to finding out what is next. In addition, Dave
reads all the time (fiction and non-fiction on a wide range of topics)
and his wife and he try to see a couple of movies a week. They also
like to travel.