CEO CORNER: Rick Wilmer

Rick Wilmer has been CEO of Mojo Networks, Inc., since 2014. He joined the company after more than than a quarter century of experience at other Silicon Valley
companies. Mojo Networks, with corporate headquarters in Mountain View, is a global leader in cloud-managed Wi-Fi services and security. 

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What is your favorite college football team and why?

The University of California Berkeley. Football has been in my family blood going back two generations. My grandmother’s maiden name is Belichick. My mom’s uncle, Steve, was a longtime college assistant coach at the Naval Academy and his son is New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. My dad played football at Case Western Reserve University before being drafted by the Baltimore Colts. His decision to not play pro ball and utilize his engineering degree led him to San Jose as an IBM employee in 1966. I was co-captain of Leland High’s varsity football team and dreamed of being a college player before blowing out my knee as a senior. Fortunately, my dad’s emphasis on academics allowed me to enter Berkeley as a chemistry major in 1980 and it was natural for me to become a Cal football fan.

What is your favorite memory regarding your team?

As Cal students, we attended games for free. My roommate and I developed a routine in my freshman year about when to show up at the stadium, how much to drink before the game (enough but not too much), where to sit in the student section, and the best places to go afterward depending on whether we won or lost. We always sat near the upper middle of the student section for a great view of the field and maximized our immersion into the mayhem. As freshmen, the Big Game was at Stanford and we watched it on television. As sophomores, our routine was fine-tuned to attend our first Cal-Stanford game in person—but we didn’t anticipate how BIG the Big Game really was. There were so many people and it took longer to walk to the  stadium and longer to get inside. The only seats we found were way down low with a pretty poor view of the field. Of course, this was 1982 when Cal perpetrated what many people call the greatest play in college football history. From our perspective, it was hard to see. After all the laterals and Cal players weaving their way through the Stanford band, the student section was chaotic. Stanford fans were cheering as if they’d won. We saw the referees in a huddle. After what seemed like an eternity, they signaled touchdown. We were jumping and screaming. Cal players were celebrating. The Stanford guys were in shock. I focused in on John Elway, the Stanford quarterback, and could see his devastation. He wanted nothing to do with handshakes or congratulating his opponents. In some deep carnal part of my brain, I relished that moment and knew that I was a diehard Cal fan forever. A few days later, still a bit hung over but also elated, I was duped (for just a moment) by the fake edition of the Daily Californian which Stanford students distributed around the Cal campus with a story that the NCAA had overruled the officials and awarded the win to Stanford. It’s possible that I have a copy of that “fake” newspaper in a box in my garage. Makes me think I ought to try and get on Antiques roadshow.