I recently had the opportunity to meet and get acquainted with Gary Butler, CEO of Camgian Microsystems, based in Starkville. Gary paints a fascinating picture of the “digital future.”
Camgian has emerged as a leader in developing advanced information technologies and solutions, from ultra-low power processors to advanced sensing platforms and innovations that are enabling a new generation of high performance wireless information technologies and products for the defense, security, industrial and commercial markets.
Born and raised in Pearl, Gary’s journey has taken him to many places and directions. After earning advanced degrees from Tulane and Vanderbilt, he focused on technology, signal processing, sensor networking, and other aspects of the high tech world. Eventually, being an entrepreneur at heart, Gary decided to start his own company, and hasn’t looked back.
Today, he has a staff of 33 people, all of whom are based in Mississippi. He does advanced work for the Department of Defense and other clients, and these days, the company is focused on building a Commercial Division with the dedicated efforts of CMO Ravi Raju, who also carries the title of general manager of commercial programs, and COO John Reece, who served for many years with IBM.
Gary is very much focused on the “Internet of things,” which he defines as the “connection of assets,” whether business, home or mobile.
“This is truly the growth market of the next five years and beyond,” he said. “Think about it — so many devices these days are digital. That includes devices in the home such as appliances, lighting and so on. It includes automobiles, trains and aircraft. It includes the increasingly sophisticated mobile devices that we all carry. The Internet of things is all about bringing efficient connectivity to those devices.”
What kind of growth market does he foresee?
“We could be looking at 50 billion connections by 2020,” he said,” and that could be just the beginning. Just think about this as the effective communication between hardware and software.”
Gary sees this as having the potential of a new “industrial revolution,” a truly effective way to improve management of systems and communications.
He bills his company as one of the “leading upstarts” in this move to the future, and says his objective is to build a “global brand.”
“We’re focused on building a great operation right here in Mississippi,” he said. To him, that means a company that steadily expands and provides more high-paying jobs in the Magnolia State.
“This is going to be a game changer, and we intend to be a part of it,” he said.
What does he like about doing business in Mississippi?
“I’d have to say we have a really great work ethic in this state,” he said. “Certainly the folks who work with us are highly committed and team-oriented. Secondly, the state is very supportive of what we do, and I know that’s not the case in many other states.”
He sees the “Internet of things” as having a major impact in many sectors, not least of which is the world of health care.
“This can provide real time face to face and diagnostics for doctors and medical personnel,” he said. “That will clearly have the potential to improve the level and effectiveness of health care overall.”
Among the core values he has established at Camgian are the concepts of “teams and peer-to-peer accountability, a no quit mentality, and playing to win.”
“I want our employees to be entrepreneurial in their outlook,” he said.
What are some of the challenges in building a high-tech company in Mississippi? From Gary’s point of view, it can “sometimes be tough to recruit the right people, since we’re in competition with all of the high-tech centers in North America. The right people are critical to our growth.”
He does see steady growth in technology in Mississippi, and believes there is a bright future for the state in this respect.
“We do have a great quality of life to offer here,” he said. “When people come, they tend to stay.”
Asked his advice for budding entrepreneurs, Gary said “First, you must do what you love, and follow your passion. Second, don’t quit! There will be roadblocks along the way, but you have to keep on point.”
Judging by the growth and success of Camgian, Gary has done just that.
For more information, the company’s website is www.camgian.com.
» Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1021.
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