Founder and President of Amazon’s Lab126
BS, 1976, Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
MS, 1977, Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Gregg Zehr has been at the forefront of the computer hardware industry for over 40 years and is the founder of Lab126, a small start-up team that became Amazon’s secret hardware skunkworks. He led the team that developed the first Kindle e-reader and has since led the company through massive growth, expanding from e-readers to Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo and more.
Prior to creating Lab126, he worked for Apple where he managed the development of several generations of Macintosh computers. His scope included systems design and custom silicon for higher performance and lower cost. During his Apple tenure, his responsibilities grew to become the vice president of PowerBook Engineering, managing the design group responsible for all new laptop products.
Zehr left Apple after 9 years and worked for several startups focused on high performance storage, small high performance servers, and the emerging open source Linux operating system. He also ran hardware engineering at Palm for several years, pioneering the Zire and Tungsten handheld product lines. Early in his career, he worked on computer architecture and design doing hands-on gate level development of CPU and MMU hardware and microcode.
He has also been instrumental in Amazon’s support of Illinois Engineering’s ARISE Program – a program that provides support, financial resources, and a customized curriculum including preparatory coursework to a select group of first-year engineering students from under resourced backgrounds, supporting diversity and inclusion in STEM.
Zehr holds 25 patents and received the Innovation Award for Consumer Products from The Economist in 2011. He also provided an oral history to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View about his work in Silicon Valley.