Founder and Chairwoman, Wrethink
Along with husband and partner Marty Cooper, inventor of the first cellular portable phone, Arlene Harris has helped and launched several businesses since starting idea incubator Dyna, LLC in 1986. Arlene has more than 35 years experience as an entrepreneur, board member, advisor, inventor, and investor in a number of successful companies in wireless-related businesses. She founded GreatCall and in 2006 launched its simple and personalized cell phone experience Jitterbug in partnership with Samsung. The Jitterbug offering has earned top honors, being named in the New York Times 10 Brilliant Ideas of 2006 as well as Reader’s Digest Top 100 Products. GreatCall also won the wireless industry’s coveted Andrew Seybold Choice Award for ‘Best New Company’ in 2007 and was also honored with the ASA award for Best Small Business in 2008 for the unique Jitterbug cellular service offering.
Arlene has founded and sold several companies, including SOS Wireless Communication, which became GreatCall. Before SOS and GreatCall, she started the software company Subscriber Computing, Inc., where she invented the first prepaid wireless service, and in 1986 she invented the first specialized cellular offering, founding Cellular Pay Phone, Inc. In 1983 Arlene joined partners and founded the management systems leader Cellular Business Systems, Inc. (CBSI). At age 12, Arlene became a mobile telephone operator at her family’s business, ICS Communications in Los Angeles. She later led ICS systems and operations to pioneer methods that became standard in the nascent wireless industry.
In addition to providing early mobile telephone service and becoming the largest paging system in the world, ICS was the developer of the Life Page program. This program provided pro bono pagers to tens of thousands of organ transplant recipients throughout the 1980s and 1990s in the world’s first consumer wireless health application.
Arlene holds several issued patents and has current pending filings related to communications. She has served on several committees of the FCC, TIA, and PCIA. She received the PCIA Foundation’s Year 2000 distinguished Chairman’s Award, is a fellow in the Radio Club of America, and won industry-wide acclaim in May 2007 when she became the first female inductee into the Wireless Hall of Fame. In 2008 she was the recipient of the Stevie Award for Women in Business for Technology Innovator of the Year, the Athena Pinnacle Award for Technology, and was named one of ten FierceWirelessí Top U.S. Wireless Innovators of All Time.
She continues to innovate communications and computer technologies to provide new services that fulfill unmet needs. Her next endeavor, wrethink (start up in stealth) is her biggest idea yet.