Engineers are known to live admirable lives with big paychecks and fruitful careers. But if you want to single out one particular engineer who lived the best life ever, Google’s Dan Fredinburg would stand out tall. Fredlinburg graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2004, got his master’s degree in intelligent robotics from the University of Southern California, before studying some other graduate programs at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.
He landed a job at Google in 2007, where he earned more than a dozen patents for groundbreaking inventions. He was the mastermind of Google X privacy and also helped launch Google Adventure Team, which is a version of Google Earth for really awesome and adventurous places. He was also the co-founder of the Laundry SF and Save the Ice initiative.
“He would know everything about what was going on at Google, from politics to legal to pop culture,” says Nirdhar “Ninu” Khazanie, a Google product manager who was to become Fredinburg’s close lieutenant. Says Abelin: “Dan just knew how to beat systems. He was a master chess player. He knew the flaws and weaknesses of the people who interviewed him, and used that sixth sense against them so they felt he had to have a seat at the table. Once he got in, he did whatever he wanted.”
Fredinburg’s Twitter page describes him as an
“adventurer, invented, and energetic engineer.”
Besides Fredinburg’s genius, he was an adventure lover; fortunate and savvy enough to make Google pay for his outrageous adventures. As a mountaineer, he had climbed 4 of the 7 highest peaks in the world.
He was also a staunch advocate for global warming and worked with Google and other organizations to bring awareness about the issue. During his sail to the Maldives, he made a documentary of the adventure to highlight the drastic affects of climate change in that region.
Unfortunately, his love for danger ultimately led to his demise as Fredinburg lost his life in an Earthquake-induced avalanche while climbing Mt. Everest on 25 April 2015.
In his honor, his father and stepmother have recently opened a space and robotics lab which will be fully funded.
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In Dan’s memory, Paul & Cathy Fredinburg, his father and step-mother, have decided to personally fund the “Dan Fredinburg Innovation Lab”, which will contain a Maker’s Space/Robotics Lab as well as a Computer Science Lab, at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts (ASMSA). These two Labs will be located in the new 21,000 square foot building called the Creativity and Innovation Complex (CIC), which should break ground later this year. As some may recall, last year the Dan Fredinburg Foundation donated $50,000 to ASMSA. The momentum from this gift, followed by further donations from family, friends, and other supporters, allowed ASMSA to raise $100,000, and ASMSA was able to name an entire floor in the new CIC in Dan’s honor, as the “Dan Fredinburg Technology Center”. Our new Innovation Lab will be located within that Dan Fredinburg Technology Center. It was important to us to show our personal gratitude and support for ASMSA, since ASMSA changed the direction of Dan’s life. In those years, we would not have afforded a private school which would have been equal to Dan’s talents. ASMSA provided a free top quality education for gifted math and science students. ASMSA enabled Dan to go on to better colleges, and as a result to better jobs and to a challenging career at Google. Dan achieved personal and financial success, and he was able to fulfill his dreams of traveling and exploring the world. His success allowed him to reach out and help others. Dan had a great life, and he packed the most he could into every minute. For this, as parents, we will always be grateful. We hope our gift will help to develop the talents of other bright young people, so that they may also have fulfilling lives, full of contribution to others. #LiveDan #AdventureAwaits – @cfredca
You can contribute to his foundation here.