North Carolina’s technology industry has grown at double the rate of the national average in recent years. Information-technology employment tops 365,000 after increasing by more than 40% over the last decade, according to the CompTIA trade group. The state benefits from a mix of global giants and smaller homegrown entrepreneurial ventures.
co-founder, CEO | Startomatic
After selling his Automated Insights artificial-intelligence company for a reported $80 million, Allen launched Startomatic, which offers software to help businesses choose names, file documents and launch operations.
CEO | Bright Wolf, a Cognizant company
Bright Wolf, an industrial-software company, named Bourne its CEO in 2016. At the end of 2020, he oversaw its sale to business outsourcer Cognizant, a Fortune 500 company. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
founder, CEO | Sift Media
Bowman, 39, co-founded his first company, Motricity, while in high school. It later had a $50 million IPO. He started Sift Media, which collects data from app users, in 2015. It raised more than $4 million in 2016.Read More
North Carolina’s challenge: Making entrepreneurs and business leaders better understand its economic opportunities, talented workforce and quality of life
Proud family accomplishment: My amazing wife, Angelique, who serves as the academic director of a Montessori school in downtown Durham
Favorite music: Classical
Something surprising: I’ve always lived in North Carolina.
president, CEO | Qorvo
Bruggeworth started with Qorvo’s predecessor, RF Micro Devices, in 1999. This past year, its technology helped land Perseverance Rover on Mars. Annual revenue tops $3.7 billion. The Wilkes University graduate is the Semiconductor Industry Association’s chairman.
CEO | Diveplane
After helping take Epic Games’ Fortnite and Gears of War games to blockbuster status, Capps started his own firm to create artificial intelligence that helps make fair, unbiased decisions in 2018. He has degrees from UNC Chapel Hill and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
founder, chairman | ArchiveSocial
Chawla counts former President Barack Obama among the 5,000 users of his software, which captures and archives social media posts. The Georgia Institute of Technology graduate’s company has attracted investments, including
$53 million from private-equity firm Level Equity in 2019.
CEO | Flexential
A Dartmouth College graduate who earned an MBA at New York University, Downie, 52, became CEO of the data center and infrastructure company after the merger of Charlotte’s Peak 10 and ViaWest in 2017.Read More
First job: Financial analyst
Proudest family moment: My daughter Hayden, who is kind and optimistic about our world
Favorite recent book: New to Big: How Companies Can Create Like Entrepreneurs, Invest Like VCs, and Install a Permanent Operating System for Growth by Christina Wallace and David Kidder
Something surprising: I lived the first four years of my life in Paris and Barcelona and spoke French before speaking English.
JOY PARR DRACH
president, CEO | Advanced Animal Diagnostics
Drach, who has an MBA from the University of Chicago, founded the company in 2009 mainly to develop tests to diagnose sick cattle. Last summer, she began testing to detect the coronavirus in humans, backed by a $50,000 grant from the N.C. Biotech Center.
founder, managing partner | Cofounders Capital
An entrepreneur, author and N.C. State University graduate, Gardner, 57, spent more than 30 years building software technology companies. His investment company has raised $43 million. It made its largest initial investment — $1.3 million — in Cary-based digital marketer marGo in January.Read More
First job: Moving pianos
Employer’s distinction: The state’s most active early-stage venture investment fund
Person you admire: Bill Gates, who wrote giving away his fortune is harder than making it
Something surprising: My past jobs include tobacco picker, wedding singer and martial arts instructor.
CEO | SAS Institute
The state’s most famous tech titan co-founded SAS in 1976. Its analytics software is used by more than 83,000 organizations worldwide. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and Ph.D. at N.C. State University. Forbes estimates his net worth at $6.5 billion.
North Carolina senior state executive; RTP senior site executive | IBM
Humphrey, 47, has worked for IBM or Lenovo since earning an electrical engineering degree at N.C. State University in 1996. He has been senior state executive since 2018 while helping IBM add artificial intelligence to internal operations. He is a UNC Health director.Read More
North Carolina’s challenge: A shortage of STEM talent, especially within underrepresented minorities: The National Skills Coalition says only 44% of N.C. workers have had access to training for in-demand careers.
Best advice: You can’t be what you can’t see.
Favorite passions: Watching team sports and playing poker
global chief technology officer | MetLife
Latalladi was a senior applications developer at a New Jersey broker-dealer acquired by Royal Bank of Canada in 2007. He started with MetLife in 2012, about when the insurer split its tech headquarters between Charlotte and Cary. He is an MBA graduate of the University of Western Ontario.
vice president, head of U.S. Southeast Region and Raleigh Innovation Hub | Infosys
The former IBM executive and Rutgers University graduate was tapped to run the Indian IT company’s Wake County tech hub in 2018. It is expected to employ as many as 2,000 people.
founder, CEO | Levitate
The serial entrepreneur sold his software company ShareFile to Citrix in 2011. He has raised more than $20 million in investments for his latest venture, Levitate, which designs small business marketing software. The Duke University graduate helped establish coworking space Raleigh Founded.
chief technology officer | Microsoft US
Lofton, 55, earned an electrical engineering degree from N.C. Agricultural & Technical State University. She focuses on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and STEM diversity.Read More
North Carolina’s challenge: The growing economic, educational and social disparities between those with digital skills who have access to computers and broadband internet and those who don’t
Best advice: “You just do what’s right and let God take care of the rest!” (my grandmother)
Favorite passions: Entertaining and cooking for family and friends
Favorite recent book: Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
Favorite music: ’80s and ’90s R&B
partner and senior vice president | IHS Markit
A Fairfield University graduate, Macken continued as office lead when financial-services provider Ipreo was purchased for $1.9 billion by London-based IHS in 2018. At the time Ipreo had about 325 employees and a $2 million state incentive to add 250 more.
CEO | Bandwidth
The Oral Roberts University and University of Notre Dame Law School graduate founded the company in 1999 then took it public in 2017. It had a market value of $3.1 billion in late March. Morken expects to more than double its 750-person staff over the next few years.
chairman, CEO | Inmar Intelligence
Mounts has led Inmar, which develops technology and provides analytics for retail, manufacturing and other sectors, since 2010. The University of Nevada at Las Vegas and Wharton MBA graduate previously worked in executive posts for Domino’s Pizza and UPS.
group head of data and analytics technology | Envestnet | Yodlee
A member of NC TECH’s advisory board, Munro earned degrees from Bucknell and George Washington universities. As a senior technology executive, she’s worked for some big financial-services firms including JPMorgan Chase and Fidelity. She joined Envestnet, a financial-data services company, in November.
CEO | nCino
The South African-born graduate of Upper Iowa University has more than 30 years of financial technology experience. Naudé, 62, helped develop nCino, a fintech that specializes in cloud technology for banks, raising $248 million from an initial public offering last summer.Read More
First job: Coding and programming some of the first ATMs
Employer’s distinction: Every employee is valued, empowered and respected.
Best advice: “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so, it is with you. … We are in charge of our attitudes.” (Charles Swindoll)
Favorite recent book: The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
Something surprising: I was born on a wine farm.
co-founder, CEO | Pendo
Pendo, considered one of the state’s most promising tech startups, uses analytics to help managers optimize their software development. Prior to Pendo, the Carnegie Mellon University graduate founded 6th Sense, which was acquired by Rally, and Cerebellum. Pendo has raised more than $200 million in capital. Last year, he wrote a book, The Product-Led Organization.Read More
First job: Software engineering job at age 14
Best advice: Work on the things only you can do.
Favorite recent book: No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Erin Meyer and Reed Hastings
global vice president and head of CX, IBM Hybrid Cloud | IBM
Pal helps clients embrace artificial intelligence and the cloud. He worked for Cisco Systems for 23 years before joining IBM in 2017. The master’s degree graduate of Louisiana State University is chairman of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development.
CEO | AvidXchange
The Georgetown University graduate, 52, co-founded the payment automation solutions provider that has raised more than $1 billion and is considered likely to go public this year at a valuation of $7 billion or more. He and his wife visited many cities before picking Charlotte as the best place for a startup.Read More
North Carolina’s challenge: Thousands of students have limited access to laptops, internet and technology education, which affects their future education and employment opportunities.
Best advice: “Fortune favors the bold, but it’s hard to be bold if you don’t have passion in what you do.” (my mentor Roe Stamps)
Favorite music: AvidXchange house band Pluto for Planet
managing director | Accenture
The N.C. State University graduate, 52, leads the North Carolina office for the Ireland-based information-technology and consulting business, where she’s worked since 1992. She is vice chair of NC TECH’s board of directors.Read More
Employer’s distinction: Our people are our business, and our culture is unmatched, making a company of more than 500,000 feel like a family.
North Carolina’s challenge: The growing distance between our rural and urban communities in terms of available infrastructure and opportunities: We need to close that gap.
Favorite passion: My family
general partner | Hatteras Venture Partners
The former president and CEO of Inspire Pharmaceuticals raised more than $300 million before taking it public. She has spent more than 20 years in the life-sciences industry. Shaffer earned her Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee. She now oversees life-sciences investments for Hatteras.
founder, CEO | Epic Games
The video game industry superstar’s company created Fortnite, which counts 350 million users, and Unreal Engine, software used by other game-makers. A former University of Maryland student, he has a net worth of $9.5 billion, according to Bloomberg. His firm is suing Apple and Google over third-party payment collections, while also raising more than $1 billion in additional capital.
CEO | Insightsoftware
Triandiflou, 55, was named CEO of the financial-reporting software company in October. A graduate of State University of New York at Oswego and Arizona State University, the former CEO of health care education provider Relias was Triangle Business Journal’s Business Person of the Year in 2017.Read More
First job: Newspaper route
Best advice: A former boss told me, “Ego is a dangerous thing.” People make bad decisions when they think too highly of themselves. There’s a lot of luck in success.
Proud family accomplishment: My four children
Favorite music: Beatles, Billy Joel and Boston
president | IBM
The former Red Hat CEO, 54, took his new post in January, less than two years after IBM paid a record $34 billion for the Raleigh-based open-source software company. He came to North Carolina in 2007 after being chief operating officer at Delta Air Lines. He is a Rice University and Harvard University graduate.
CEO | Spiffy
Wingo, 52, holds computer-engineering degrees from the University of South Carolina and N.C. State University. He started four companies, including ChannelAdvisor, which went public in 2013, and Spiffy, a mobile vehicle maintenance business.Read More
First job: Intern at an HVAC company
Favorite passion: Star Wars, the movies and collectibles
founder, CEO | Lulu Press
The University of Toronto graduate was the co-founder and public face of Raleigh-based Red Hat, an open-source software company that went public in 1999, posting Wall Street’s eighth-biggest one-day gain. IBM bought Red Hat in 2019. His latest enterprise helps people self-publish printed materials.
president | Lenovo North America
The University of Michigan graduate joined the Chinese-owned computer giant in 2018 after 11 years with Advanced Micro Devices. Zielinski, 42, was named Lenovo’s international sales organization leader in February. A month earlier, he predicted that Lenovo would become North America’s second-largest PC manufacturer.Read More
First job: Playing piano at a Michigan mall at age 13
Employer’s distinction: Lenovo operates in more than 180 markets worldwide. Our leadership represents many cultures.
North Carolina’s challenge: Supporting the health, safety and future of its residents and businesses
Favorite passion: My family