Apple CEO to sit with first lady during State of the Union

Feb. 11–Once again, Silicon Valley royalty will join first lady Michelle Obama to watch her husband deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday.

Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook will sit in the first lady’s box, a White House official said. He will be joined by military families, those championing immigration reform and those whose lives have been touched by gun violence.

Cook, the official said, heads a company that underscores America’s innovation economy and has said it plans to manufacture some Macintosh computers in the United States. Increasing manufacturing jobs

in America is one of President Barack Obama’s economic goals.

Last year, Michelle Obama’s guests included Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and Mike Krieger, co-founder of photography app Instagram.

Obama will deliver the 2013 State of the Union address at 6 p.m. Tuesday before a joint session of Congress.

The first lady also invited Bobak Ferdowsi, known as the NASA “Mohawk Guy,” a member of the Mars Curiosity rover team at NASA and Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

President Obama singled out Ferdowsi for his haircut when he called to congratulate the team after the successful landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars in

August. The car-sized robot is equipped with a laser, chemistry set and drill for assessing whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms.

Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, has invited South San Francisco-based Counsyl CEO and co-founder Ramji Srinivasan. The startup, founded in a dorm at Stanford University, developed an inexpensive test for parents planning to start a family that can identify more than 100 recessive genetic conditions, many of which result in severe birth defects, chronic disease, intellectual disabilities and early mortality.

The 6-year-old Counsyl is backed by the likes of Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and Google (GOOG) Chief Legal Officer David Drummond.

“We started the company out of a dorm room not long ago, drinking Red Bull — to be invited to this is quite an honor,” Srinivasan said. “I am personally thrilled.”

San Jose Mercury News

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