When examining Mississippi’s contributions to the technology world, there are tech veterans whose works are still being felt, and there are young minds who are bringing new ideas. The Tech 21 is the Mississippi Business Journal’s take on some of the top contributors to technology in Mississippi and the world.
JIM BARKSDALE, Chairman & President Barksdale Management
Jim Barksdale’s IBM sales job after college at Ole Miss turned into decades of managing corporations, including being the CEO of Netscape from 1995-1999, when it was acquired by AOL. After Netscape, he founded The Barksdale Group, an investment and advisory group created for the purpose of helping Internet service companies.
JILL BENEKE, President & CEO Pileum Corp.
After more than 20 years in the financial services industry — where, among other things, she was in charge of strategic planning of technology deployments at Deposit Guaranty Bank — Jill Beneke formed Pileum Corp. in 2001. Pileum designs technology solutions to help clients achieve their business objectives.
GARY BUTLER, Chairman and CEO, Camgian Microsystems
From its early work in building advanced sensor technologies and solutions for organizations, Butler has lead Camgian’s evolution into a multi-million dollar revenue business and one of the leading companies in the Internet of Things market. Camgian’s latest product, Egburt, has received significant industry recognition.
GEOFFREY CARTER, President / CEO Hyperion Technology Group
Carter founded Hyperion Technology Group, which provides innovative engineering solutions, including including electronic design, RF and microwave engineering, industrial automation systems, software development, embedded control, acoustics, signal processing, simulation, mechanical modeling and product design.
TONI D. COOLEY, President/co-owner Systems Electro Coating, LLC
Toni Cooley is the founder and president of Systems Electro Coating, a tier-one supplier to Nissan of electrocoated frames and vehicle components. She is also co-owner of Systems IT, a new horizon computer learning center in Jackson. She holds a Juris Doctor degree and is a director for Trustmark and Sanderson Farms.
GARRETT GRAY, President & CEO, Next Gear Solutions
Next Gear Solutions is a software as a service company in the insurance restoration contracting industry. It started as SHIFT in 2008, a consulting firm for restoration contractor clients. It launched DASH, its first software, in 2009 as a response to a lack of technology options in the industry.
GERARD GIBERT, Founder & CEO Venture Technologies
Gerard Gibert is an entrepreneur and technologist who specializes in the business application of cloud computing. Venture, which was founded in 1986 and has locations throughout the South, owns and operates a Tier 3 data center in Jackson that provides a comprehensive suite of cloud services for thousands of customers.
TRAVIS GREEN, President, PFG Precision Optics
PFG Precision Optics in Ocean Springs is a manufacturer of high-end optical components, assemblies and thin-film coatings. The firm’s strength has been visible and shortwave infra-red optics for the defense, semiconductor, medical and scientific industries. Recently, it moved into the deep UV and mid-wave IR wavelengths.
CRAIG HARVEY, COO/ Executive VP NVision Solutions
Harvey has worked in the field of GeoSpatial Science for 20 years. At Nvision Solutions he has been named 2005 Louisiana Technology Innovator of the Year, 2006 Mississippi Innovator of the Year, and a Tibbett’s award in 2006 for excellence in Federal Research for NASA related projects. Nvision finds geospatial solutions for small and large firms.
TONY JEFF, President & CEO Innovate Mississippi
Innovate Mississippi drives innovation and technology-based economic development for the state. Before becoming president, Tony Jeff was vice president and helped companies that raised more than $130 million in private equity financing. He speaks on emerging technology trends and strategies and innovation commercialization.
HENRY JONES, Founder, Kopis Mobile
Jones previously was director of the Center for Battlefield Innovation at Mississippi State University before founding Kopis Mobile, which designs and manufactures apps and app-enabled equipment for the Department of Defense, law enforcement and private security. Jones’ product developments include telecommunications, electric utilities and remote sensing.
JOE LICHTENHAN, President & CEO, Hybrid Plastics
Hybrid Plastics operates a chemistry and sales support facility in California, while polymer support and development, bulk production and corporate headquarters are in Hattiesburg. Joe Lichtenhan’s firm has also developed an association with one of the top polymers schools in the nation — the University of Southern Mississippi.
BRAD McMULLEN President & CEO, bfac.com
Jackson’s bfac.com, a leading mobile app company, has built more than 2,500 apps for customers including Toyota, Pepsi and Dell. McMullan, bfac.com’s CEO and president, also founded collegegaragesale.com, weddingtexting.com and resumeapps.org. He won the MTA New Venture Challenge twice and two broadcasting Emmys.
HU MEENA, President & CEO, C Spire
Meena has served to notice to the telecom sector that Ridgeland-based C Spire intends to be aggressive and innovative in the digital market. He is guiding an effort to build a fiber optic network to deliver ultra high-speed Internet to the home. Recently, the trade publication Fierce Wireless listed him the 20th most powerful person in the U.S. wireless and wireline.
DAVID MOORE, Founder, President & CEO, Navagis
David Moore knows maps. While at the Army Corps of Engineers where he created Corpsglobe, one of the largest Google Earth Enterprise installations outside of Google. In 2008, he founded Navagis, which helps create operating maps to visualize critical information. He’s also spent time working with Google.
DAVID PALMER, Owner, Synergetics
Palmer is CEO of Synergetics, a regional IT services consulting firm with government, educational and commercial clients. It was founded in 1992 by its president Jim Raines and provides network design, installation and management; structured cabling, IP telephony, CCTV and training. Synergetics has about two megawatts of intalled solar energy projects.
JOHN PALMER, Chairman, GulfSouth Capital
A pioneer in the wireless industry, Palmer founded MCCA and Skytel. He has served as president of two of the wireless telecommunications industry’s leading national trade associations, received two presidential appointments for his expertise in international trade and sits on the boards of two New York Stock Exchange companies.
DAVID POWE, CEO, Telehealth One
Before joining Telehealth One, Powe worked at UMMC, where he was the Chief Administrative Officer, and served in senior management positions with NASA. TeleHealth One is the first privately owned such firm in Mississippi to provide health services via long-range digital means. Telehealth One at the Madison County Biomedical Business Collaboratory in Canton.
BILL RAYBURN, Chairman / CEO Mortgage Trade
After co-founding the software technology company FNC Inc., the first company to create real estate collateral information technology, Rayburn sold the company and started Mortgage Trade, which helps firms trade mortgages by organizing files, imaging and indexing documents, and extracting data and running analytics.
JOE STRADINGER, Founder & CEO Edge Theory
Internet browsers provide a search engine, but at Ridgeland’s Edge Theory, formerly Leadify, Mississippi native Joe Stradinger has introduced social media to the “find engine.” His platform creates conversation for business and deploys messages on social networks, then provides intelligence back to businesses.
GARY WATTS, Founder & CEO, fuse.cloud
When Gary Watts realized the future importance of telephony rooted in hosted VoIP solutions, it led him to start Broadband Voice (rebranded to fuse.cloud) to provide Voice over IP products and services for small to medium-sized businesses. His company is one of the Southeast’s fastest-growing VoIP technology companies.
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