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Dr. Giorgio Coraluppi Kindled the Flames of Pittsburgh Tech

By Pittsburgh Technology Council

Dr. Giorgio Coraluppi, President and Founder of Chorus Call, Compunetix and Compunetics, passed away peacefully on September 28th, surrounded by family and loved ones. He was 88 years old.

Coraluppi founded Compunetics and its affiliates in 1968 and had held the position of President and CEO ever since. Coraluppi was a brilliant engineer, a mathematician and an inventor, who was recently recognized for inventing the modern conference call.

Born in L’Aquila, Italy, in 1934, he pursued his studies in Milano where he received the Doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano in 1958. Prior to Compunetics, Coraluppi joined the Electronic Research Laboratory at Olivetti in 1961, where he worked in circuit development and in numerical control of machine tools. In 1964, Coraluppi joined the Space-Defense Division of the American Optical Company in Pittsburgh where he headed up projects for a special purpose digital computer controlling the NASA-Lewis Flight Simulator, and design and project engineering responsibility for a satellite attitude simulator now installed at NASA-Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

Dr. Giorgio Coraluppi of Compunetix

Compunetics, was founded in 1968 and, six months after inception, it had its first customer, the U.S. Navy followed shortly afterwards by NASA. What set Compunetics apart was Coraluppi’s seminal “Compunetics Switching Network” invention. It made it possible for thousands of people, in this case engineers, technicians and astronauts, to join one call. It was all done digitally and automatically by a computer chip. This invention led to Compunetics’ technology being sought after across multiple industries.

At this point, Coraluppi’s success as a business owner had earned him regional, state and national recognition. After much success, Compunetics spun off two affiliate corporations, Compunetix as a product subsidiary and Chorus Call, as a local conferencing service provider.

Coraluppi received many patents and professional awards over the years, including the Pittsburgh Technology Council CEO of the Year Award in 2013 and induction into the Space Technology Hall of Fame in 2020. The Giorgio Coraluppi Headship in Electrical and Computer Engineering was established at Carnegie Mellon University in 2022.

He was soft-spoken, yet bold. He was wicked smart. He was doing Zoom before there was Zoom!

“On behalf of Chorus Call, I would like to express our appreciation for the immeasurable contributions Giorgio Coraluppi has made to our company, the communities in which we serve, and countless industry organizations he helped found,” commented Michael Hockenberry, Vice President of Chorus Call. “In his 54 years at the helm of Compunetix, Chorus Call and Compunetics, Coraluppi built a diversified organization that provides jobs to over 600 employees in Pennsylvania and numerous other countries around the globe. He was a man of honor and integrity, and his Chorus Call/Compunetix/Compunetics family will miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, family and his many friends.”

Coraluppi’s life had a profound impact on the world, and on the Pittsburgh technology community, through his countless inventions and advancements in technological communications. His passion for helping other Pittsburgh tech companies was quite notable.

“Sometimes as people become older and more successful, they become less daring or innovative. I met Dr. Coraluppi in 2005. He was then at an age when most of his peers would have been retiring,” said Dave Nelsen, a serial tech entrepreneur in Pittsburgh. “I pitched him on a new idea for teleconferencing (his core business), but for a new target market (consumers). That idea became known as (live podcasting, still going strong almost two decades later).

“He responded, ‘I always thought someone would wake the sleeping giant that is consumer teleconferencing and this is the best idea I’ve heard.’ Dr. C. jumped in with both feet providing strategic investment, equipment, technical support and business guidance by putting one of his company’s top executives on the TalkShoe Board of Directors. TalkShoe might not have launched and probably would not have survived for so long without his tremendous support.”

Chris Simchick, SDLC Partners Founder and in-coming Pittsburgh Technology Council Board Chair, had similar sentiments to Nelsen. 

“Dr. C. has been a consistent presence and guiding light in the tech renaissance in the region for the past 20 years,” he said. “I think we can appreciate that effort and dedication that Dr. C. displayed in his leadership in the tech movement, his ability to build a large globally competitive firm and his impact as an entrepreneur laying the groundwork for others to follow.”

“On a personal and professional level, he has been a remarkable friend, adviser, advocate and investor in the tech community for his entire career here,” said Audrey Russo, Tech Council President and CEO. “He provided guidance and advice. He was a coach to me and a mentor. He was soft-spoken, yet bold. He was wicked smart. He was doing Zoom before there was Zoom!”