A highly accomplished former CEO, Les was owner Ted's original amateur winemaking partner in 1971 when both were graduate students at Stanford University. More than 40 years later, Ted and Les are still working on their mutual dream.
From their start in Les' garage in Santa Clara, Long Meadow Ranch has grown from a hazy dream to a diversified agricultural reality. As our valued senior advisor and "consigliari," Les' job is to help us wisely manage the "five balls" we always seem to be juggling at Long Meadow Ranch. He is our coach, mentor, and strategic discussion partner. As chairman of the board of our family-owned business, Les helps us stay focused on the right issues.
A decorated F-4 Phantom combat pilot, Les was born in Hayward, California and attended the US Air Force Academy before serving in Viet Nam. Following his combat duty, Les received MBA and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and taught economics at the Air Force Academy. While still in the Air Force, Les was named a White House Fellow and he subsequently served in the White House under Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush.
After a stint as a partner at consulting firm McKinsey & Company in Washington and San Francisco, Les went on to a highly successful career as a top executive in technology companies, ultimately becoming CEO of Network General in Santa Clara. A former resident of Palo Alto, he has served on the boards of a variety of public technology companies and not-for-profit organizations.
Les and his wife, Judy, live on the ranch. In the mid '90s they purchased a 30-acre portion of the ranch where they have built a home and planted an olive orchard. The Denends' Mission olives provide a spicy component to the ranch's Napa Valley Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil and olives from their orchard of Italian trees also contribute to the oil's character.
And, as a reminder of our shared roots, a bottle of 1971 "Denend-Hall" amateur red wine proudly graces the entry of the winery - with the motto "Fine Wine Since 1971" boldly on the label.