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Zhone, Ascend cofounder Jeanette Symons dies


Jeanette Symons

Jeanette Symons, the cofounder of Zhone Technologies and Ascend Communications, died in a plane crash Friday, according to news reports. The 46-year-old was an experienced pilot who regularly flew her own Cessna C525 for business travel.

Symons and her 10-year-old son Balan were returning to their home in Colorado Springs, Colo., from a ski trip in Maine. Heading into stormy weather, Symons radioed in an emergency a few minutes after takeoff. The plane went down in the woods south of Augusta State Airport, and the only two passengers were presumed dead.

Symons co-founded Ascend Communications, which was acquired by Lucent Technologies for $24 billion in 1999, marking the data networking sector’s largest merger.

The following year, she and her partner in that effort, Mory Ejabat, went on to co-found access networking equipment vendor Zhone Technologies, which Ejabat still leads as CEO.

In 2006, Symons went on to launch Industrious Kid, a start-up aimed at creating new and better online content for children.

Symons is survived by her seven-year-old daughter Jennie and two brothers.

Read more about Symons and join a discussion of her here.


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