It goes without saying that Red Hat has experienced a lot of change over the years. What was once a small company founded by entrepreneurs and techies Bob Young and Marc Ewing is now a global leader in open source technology and innovation. As we reflected upon the last three decades and took a look back at all we’ve learned and accomplished, a familiar story came to mind–how Red Hat got its name.
Our company moniker comes directly from Ewing. As a student in this college computer lab, people would say, “If you need help, look for the guy in the red hat,” in reference to his beloved red Cornell lacrosse cap. The sentiment of our name’s origin rings true today, but with a slight adjustment–if you need help, look for a Red Hatter.
In celebration of our 30th anniversary, Red Hatters, both old and new, shared how their experiences at Red Hat have shaped them professionally and personally through innovation, collaboration and community.
“It is a great honor for me to be a part of Red Hat's history as we celebrate 30 years of excellence. Throughout my tenure here, I have had the privilege of working alongside a team of exceptional professionals, collaborating on and executing multiple technology innovation strategies in areas such as containers, edge and sustainability. Red Hat has always been committed to driving innovation through open source projects, allowing us to stay ahead of the curve in an industry that is highly competitive. The Office of the CTO team has a proven track record of incubating and delivering high-quality work, and our dedication and hard work have played a pivotal role in the company's success thus far. I have no doubt that Red Hat will continue to thrive and remain at the forefront of technology innovation, and I am excited to be a part of the team that will lead the way into the future.”
-Huamin Chen, Senior Principal Software Engineer, Red Hatter since 2014
"Working alongside a team that is always exploring new ideas and pushing the boundaries of what's possible is truly invigorating. As a data scientist, I am constantly expanding my knowledge and developing new skills, and being part of such a dynamic team has allowed me to reach new heights in my career."
-Surya Pathak, Data Scientist, Red Hatter since 2021
"I started at Red Hat in 2018. Since joining, I have always found myself in rooms with brilliant people dedicated to finding the best solution to a problem. This mindset has always allowed the best ideas to rise to the top and has challenged me to think creatively. The comradery felt among our teams fosters the belief that we can handle anything thrown at us. This environment is a critical foundational column that makes Red Hat the company it is today."
-Emmanuel Wilder, Manager, Data Solutions, Red Hatter since 2019
"Projects like MicroShift really show the value of emerging technologies teams focused on open source innovation–how a tiny group of people can conceive an idea, prototype and share it with the world to shape together and finally build a product with a huge impact."
-Ricardo Noriega De Soto, Principal Software Engineer, Red Hatter since 2016
"Open source and an open approach to building technologies propels innovation, and it allows the rapid evolution and adoption of technologies and services. Open source has been–and always will be–fundamental to Red Hat. It is a key differentiator for us. It’s why I’ve loved being at Red Hat for 17 years. And it’s also why we continue to see open source as the innovation engine for the industry.”
-Chris Wright, CTO and SVP of Global Engineering, Red Hatter since 2005
“Long ago, when I was new at Red Hat, I had a conversation with a man who had contacted us about Red Hat Enterprise Linux. During our conversation, I learned that he and two college interns had written a scheduling program that helped healthcare providers decrease the amount of time between a patient’s cancer diagnosis and their first chemotherapy session. I had lost my own mother to cancer and understood how critical time is to patients. The man was interested in donating his program to non-profit hospitals and wanted to see if Red Hat would donate RHEL licenses to support his efforts. This phone call resulted in a new relationship and a personal understanding of how our work can have a positive impact on the world.”
-Sarah Harvey, Senior Internal Communications Strategist, Red Hatter since 2012
“I have almost 13 years of service with Red Hat, but the truth is that my total time working with Red Hat is almost 22 years. I first worked with Red Hat in late 2001 when I worked at AOL (!!) as we migrated legacy UNIX to Red Hat Linux 6 and 7. I ended up joining Red Hat as a consultant in services and worked with some of Red Hat's most innovative customers on Wall Street as we pushed the envelope of what was possible. I then worked at a Red Hat partner for a time to build foundational datacenter solutions. Now I'm able to impact customers, partners and sellers from Portfolio Marketing in showing the value of Red Hat's products and services. Across the various roles I've had at Red Hat, I've enjoyed knowing I was a part of an organization that values open source innovation and the success of its partners, customers and Red Hatters above all else.”
-Jon Benedict, Director, Product Marketing, Red Hatter since 2021
“I think that the thing that has always struck me about Red Hat is collaboration. When I first joined Red Hat I was a new enablement program manager for marketing at the time. What really impressed me was any time I had a conversation with someone, they would introduce me to another Red Hatter who could further support me in my role. That willingness to do anything to help you be successful was unlike anything I’d previously experienced, and I think that’s part of what makes Red Hat special. The relationships that you form here, whether it's through your team or Red Hat communities, are next level.”
-Fran Sapir, Senior Role Architect, People Managers, Red Hatter since 2017
“I joined Red Hat nearly 19 years ago because I wanted to be a part of a company that makes a positive impact on the world. Open source success is found when you look for ways to improve what's within your span of control. Red Hat has instilled this value in all levels from the CEO to the junior admin. And that's why I'm still here.”
-Matthew Davis, Senior Manager, Solution Architecture, Red Hatter since 2004
"Working at Red Hat encourages personal innovation and creativity, as I am constantly challenged to push myself and take on new projects. The supportive work culture and collaborative team environment make every day enjoyable and fulfilling. Red Hat culture fosters my professional growth and development by allowing me to explore new technologies and present my work to the world. I couldn't ask for a better work experience, and I am truly grateful to be a part of Red Hat.”
-Aakanksha Duggal, Senior Data Scientist, Red Hatter since 2020
“I love the collaboration and the respect we have at Red Hat. We are a great, ever growing company due to its wonderful and talented human beings who work with passion.”
-Sandra Vaz, Senior Director, Partner Ecosystem Sales, Red Hatter since 2021
“The three years I have been working in Red Hat's Open Source Program Office has given me the opportunity to make an impact in the Fedora Project community, learn from my remarkable colleagues and develop professionally in ways I never previously imagined. The connections I've made at both Red Hat and in Fedora are unparalleled and inspire gratitude.”
-Marie Nordin, Senior Technical Program Manager, Red Hatter since 2019
“While at Red Hat, I've learned that community is the heart of open source. Community helps increase communication, collaboration and innovation, but most importantly, it brings people together. It opens silos, ignites passion and encourages growth as individuals and in our business. The first day I started at Red Hat, I read on a wall, "Come Together. Share. Win." This is community. This is Red Hat.”
-Tracy Buckner, Senior Community Architect - Training and Enablement, Red Hatter since 2015
“Red Hat has been so much more than just a workplace to me. It's been a loving community where I feel that I've really grown up alongside the company. Since joining Red Hat as an intern nearly 10 years ago, I've seen firsthand how Red Hat has expanded–including being part of the investor relations team during the IBM acquisition! Amidst all of the changes, we've maintained what sets us apart: putting community first, asking (and answering) the tough questions and stepping up to help one another out in times of need. Congratulations on 30 years, Red Hat! I can't wait to see what we accomplish in the next 30 and to continue to be a part of it!”
-Kristen Zimmer, Manager, Change Management, Red Hatter since 2015
“What has always defined Red Hat is its people. I’ve been blessed to have worked with and learned from some of the most exceptional people during my 10 years here. I am honored and humbled to have worked with all of them. Thank you, Red Hat, for making this such a formative and transformational experience for me.”
-Esther Malo, Senior Executive Assistant - CIO, Red Hatter since 2012
“I can’t believe I am close to celebrating my 20 years at Red Hat. What got me to stay? The mix of open culture, our values and the great strategy and technologies that open up so many opportunities for customers and partners and the strong connections I have built with people. All of this inspires me to give my best, every day.”
-Antonio Leo, EMEA Alliance Manager, Red Hatter since 2003
“In my nearly 10 years of wearing the crimson fedora, I've had the joy of a very internally mobile career. While I can't fully speak to all of the magic that goes into engineering of our products, I have a unique window into how almost all of us work with each other. I've worked in our HR division, on our global IT team, and now in marketing, and I have to say that it doesn't matter which business unit you call home — every team innovates and collaborates to achieve enterprise excellence. I'm proud to say that as a global virtual live events producer, I am very privileged to work with nearly every department on a regular basis. My personal community spans the globe—Raleigh to Raanana, Malaysia to Mountain View, Boston to Buenos Aires—every time zone and continent except Antarctica. We seek each other out to continually work in new ways. We celebrate each other and build each other up. We champion each other. Heart, mind and spirit. Red Hat is a community that is far greater than the sum of its parts.”
-Connelly Simmons, Events Producer, Red Hatter since 2014
About the author
Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies.