At Apple, the Sumner Boys Help Build a Car

In early 2011, when software engineer Brian Sumner joined Apple to work on Siri, a voice assistant for the iPhone that was still under wraps, the team was struggling to recruit engineers. So after his first months there went well, Mr. Sumner suggested to Siri’s leaders that they hire his brother, Kevin, another infrastructure engineer. After Kevin came aboard that May, colleagues began to jokingly ask Brian Sumner if he had another brother who could work with them.

In fact, he did. And so the youngest Sumner, Michael, joined the same Siri infrastructure team that June, right after graduating from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. All three brothers, who range in age from 27 to the mid-30s, had studied computer science at UNC, about 60 miles south of the rural county where they grew up, near the Virginia border.

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The Sumner brothers’ mom, Debbie, recently moved back to the Chapel Hill area after living for years near her sons and grandchildren in the Bay Area. She said last month on Facebook that she couldn’t wait for Michael and his family to move back to North Carolina.

Mitch Ahlenius commented on this article.
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All three brothers are married to women with North Carolina connections and refer to themselves as devout Christians—an unusual characteristic among Bay Area software engineers.