Entrepreneurs of North Carolina History Exhibit

Tech Titans - Leaders in a Fast-growing Cluster

1976James Goodnight | SAS Institute

Jim GoodnightJames “Jim” Goodnight, born in 1943 in Salisbury, NC, like many others grew up working for his dad.  Goodnight fell in love with computers in the one computer course he took at NC State in his sophomore year. “In mid-stream, a light went on, and I fell in love, making machines which do things for other people,” he says. The following summer he got a job writing programs for the agricultural economics department. The intrigue never waned.

Originally developed at NCSU to analyze agriculture research data Goodnight and Anthony Barr colluded to develop in its early stages Statistical Analytics Software capable of managing large amounts of data. Goodnights powerful vision was to develop software that could manage, organize and process our generation exponentially growing data, utilizing statistical analytics software to create one of the worlds most progressive statistics companies. SAS was incorporated in 1976 by Anthony Barr, John Stall, and Jane Helwig.

Goodnights vision reaches beyond his IT empire, he has ventured into education as a founder of the Cary Academy and launched SAS inSchool®, which develops educational software that helps schools meet the challenges of the new millennium. The software contains the framework for a new generation of teaching courseware that will further extend the use of technology as a learning tool. Year after year, SAS inSchool (now known as SAS® Curriculum Pathways®) earns awards for educational technologies and, more importantly, the support of students, teachers and parents.

1985F. Neal Hunter | Cree, Inc.

F. Neal HunterF. Neal Hunter and his partners at Cree, Inc. have changed the way the world has viewed illumination for the past one hundred or so years. Hunter, who was President, CEO, and Chairman of Cree, Inc. from 1987-2005 helped the LED, or light emitting diode, company grow from an idea in an NCSU laboratory in the mid-1980’s to a innovator in the lighting industry and revenues of $400 million.  Cree, Inc. products are found in many of the items we use daily, such as cell phone backlighting, traffic signals, and digital camera flashes.

In 2005, Hunter co-founded LED Lighting Fixtures, Inc. (LLF, Inc.) to accelerate the use of LEDs in general illumination applications. LLF has since set world records for LED fixture efficiency and CRI at warm white color temperatures. Funded by employees, suppliers and distributors, LLF's goal is to bring economical high-volume LED lighting solutions to world markets. Hunter also develops residential neighborhoods using custom builders, giving him a unique perspective for applications of LED technology in homes.

Neal has since returned to his roots when, in 2008, Cree, Inc. purchased LLF, Inc., “and merged the world’s best LED components and lighting system technologies.”  His latest venture pairs Neal with his brother Jeff in developing neighborhoods, such as Colvard Farms near Jordan Lake,  which use his LED applications throughout the homes.

1993Bob Young | Red Hat and Lulu.com

Bob Young - Red Hat & Lulu.comBob Young was born in Ontario, Canada.  He attended Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria College at the University of Toronto. After graduating in 1976, he entered the business world by selling typewriters.  A few years later he moved to the United States and founded two computer leasing companies. In 1993, he was one of the co-founders of Red Hat, Inc.

Red Hat, Inc. is an S&P 500 company in the free and open source software sector, and a major Linux distribution vendor. Linux refers to the family of Unix-like computer operating systems using the Linux kernel.  Red Hat has its corporate headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina with satellite offices worldwide.  Young’s efforts developing Red Hat into a household name won him prestigous honors, such as being named one of Business Week Magazine’s Top Entrepreneurs for 1999.

His latest commercial venture is Lulu.com.  It was founded to solve the issues of traditional intellectual property distribution systems.  Lulu’s mission is to revolutionize global publishing for the benefits of creator and consumers by being the world’s largest, most trusted and most profitable free market place for digital content.  Founded in 2002, Lulu.com has grown significantly and is a very important company in the print on demand (POD) industry.

1999 Jud Bowman | Motricity and Appia

Jud Bowman - MotricityJud Bowman co-founded Motricity in September 1999 and was instrumental in growing the company to more than $100 million in annual revenues and 500 employees globally. As Motricity’s Chief Technology Officer, Jud was the chief architect of one of the industry's leading mobile content delivery platforms – a platform that has delivered more than $3 billion of content to mobile phones.

Jud has been named as one of the world's "Top 100 Young Innovators" by MIT's Technology Review and one of "Tech's Best Young Entrepreneurs" by BusinessWeek in 2007. He was also recognized as a winner of the Carolinas' Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" award in 2001. 

Jud Bowman is the founder and CEO of Appia and has helped grow the company into the largest cross platform, open app marketplace in the world. Appia is the world's largest open app marketplace with a catalog of more than 140,000 paid and free apps.

"What's cooler than a billion dollars? An idea that has the potential to change the world." - Jud Bowman