Jim Gray, winner of the Turing Award and author of the forward to three of my books, was the reason Microsoft opened the Bay Area Research Center. This article in Wired explains it:
When Gray joined Microsoft in 1995, he convinced the software behemoth to launch a research center in San Francisco so that he and his wife wouldn't have to move to Redmond. "If Jim had wanted a lab in Monte Carlo, we would have built a lab in Monte Carlo," says Microsoft Research chief Rick Rashid.
(The article also describes Jim's loss in January 2007, just outside San Francisco Bay, and the massive search for him.)
Now, Microsoft is building a new research center in Madison, Wisconsin, and naming it after Jim Gray. You can read the early announcement here.
Maybe I can figure out a way to get to Madison this fall... I'd love to visit the new Center.