Thomas David Petite, Inventor, Chippewa (1956- )
Preferring to be called by his middle name David, Petite’s full Native affiliation is the Fond du Lac Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Nation. Petite’s father Robert Eugene Petite was a Chief of the Chippewa in Wisconsin, who relocated to Atlanta, Georgia where David was born. His father taught him about his cultural heritage and imbued him with a deep sense of values and great pride for his heritage. Petite is considered a great visionary/ scientist/engineer with business knowledge skills. He is best known for his work in developing wireless mesh technology that enables all mobile phones to work today and much of his work revolves around the networking, remote control, activation or monitoring of wireless enabled devices. Additionally, he is the founder of the tech start-up company, SIPCO (the Smart IP Company), which has successfully licensed his wireless mesh technology to several hundred companies. Petite has received over 50 patents and has more than 100 U.S. patents pending, dating back to 1995, primarily on ad hoc networks. He is the founder of the Native American Intellectual Property Enterprise Council (NAIPEC), a non-profit organization that helps Native American inventors and communities. Among his honors, of note on a national level, he was invited to be present at the presidential signing of The America Invents Act, in September 2011.