Gary was born in 1941 and grew up in the Central Valley of California. He attended the Naval Academy from 1959 – 1963 and graduated with a BS in Marine Engineering. After serving six years in the Navy, mostly shipboard in the South China Sea, he went to work at a number of different electronics companies in southern California between 1969 and 1976 – mainly in marketing and applications engineering positions.
In 1976 he moved to the San Francisco Bay area and continued his electronics career. He got involved in ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) design consulting in 1989 and eventually took a job at Gartner/Dataquest doing market research and design consultation. Gary remained at Dataquest from 1994-2006, at which time he established his own market research company, GarySmithEDA. Over the 20+ years he spent in market research, he became known as the leading spokesperson and forecaster for the EDA (Electronic Design Automation) industry. His reports, forecasts, and presentations were followed closely by the industry.