Life for Bryan Kerr might have taken a different route if a video game he won in a school contest at age 12 had worked properly. But it didn’t, and the co-founder of Prominent Technologies was introduced to computers. He’s been involved with them ever since.
“Since then, I’ve loved computers and become a real computer geek,” he says. “I wrote programs all through high school.”
Kerr, the son of David and Patsy Kerr, grew up in Jackson and graduated from Woodland Hills Academy before going on to Mississippi State University (MSU) where he majored in computer engineering.
While at Woodland Hills, he participated in ticket sales for the Jackson Mets and was the lucky winner of a video game from Radio Shack when his name was drawn out of a hat. The game didn’t work and he and his dad returned it.
“My dad took the initiative and suggested I get a computer instead of another video game. He put $300 with the $300 value of the game to get my first computer,” he recalls. “There’s no telling how things would have turned out if the game had worked.”
From that beginning, Kerr immersed himself in computer technology and has been on the cutting edge of creating software from the ground up. After graduation from MSU, he worked for two large consulting companies. At the first one, he was involved with MobileCom when nationwide paging was the next big thing, and wrote software for the insurance industry. He went to the second company to write a break-through medical records package.
Kerr and his partner, Jackie Meck, worked together for several years before entering an agreement to develop software for American Federal Financial Services, a factoring company owned by Billy Roberts. That move led to the founding of Prominent Technologies by Kerr and Meck in 1999.
“He basically funded the development of Prominent Technologies,” Kerr said of Roberts. “He needed reliable software because he was using some that was about 20 years old.”
Kerr, 39, feels blessed to have been involved with some cutting-edge technology and says it was the impetus for making the leap to becoming a business owner. “The software was a success, and we were able to buy Billy out. Then we moved on to market that software to a niche market,” he said.
The company provides consulting services; software and Web site development; remote data backup; secure HIPPA-compliant e-mail; Web and e-mail hosting; spam and virus protection; networking designs; and hardware sales.
“I think our company stands out because of our integrity,” he says. “We make sure we do what’s best for our customers. Also, our software is better and more efficient than others.”
He is still spending most of his time in front of a computer screen, and gets inspiration to create software for needs that aren’t being met. He also loves physics and math.
Kerr enjoys his work, but tries to maintain a balance between work and family, making sure to put work behind him at the end of the day. He lives in Madison with wife, Susan, and sons, John Thomas, 7, and Daniel, 11. They like to play baseball, go camping and spend time outside. There’s also some indication the oldest son may follow his dad’s career path.
“He’s interested in computers, loves math and is always eager to take things apart,” Kerr says.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at email@example.com.