AUSTIN, TX-The year 2006 marks two major milestones for National Instru-ments, including its 30th year since inception and 20th year since the creation of NI LabVIEW, the company's flagship graphical programming software. Founded in Austin, TX, in 1976 by Jeff Kodosky, Bill Nowlin and James Truchard, National Instruments pioneered the concept of virtual instrumentation-combining open, flexible software and modular hardware with commercial off-the-shelf technologies-to offer engineers and scientists a user-defined approach to creating more efficient and customizable solutions. A key component of virtual instrumentation is LabVIEW software which, during the past 20 years, has evolved from a desktop instrument control and data acquisition tool into an integrated design, control and test platform for desktop, industrial, embedded and handheld applications.

During the past three decades, National Instruments has grown into a global company with more than 3,800 employees, and it maintains an award-winning culture that holds innovation and a challenging, fun work environment as keys to its success. In the company's early days, all NI employees could fit into one room to hear directly from Truchard. Today, this "sneaker management" philosophy remains woven into the company's culture of having fun, maintaining open communication and sharing in the team's success.