Entrepreneurs/Business Leaders

FGCU: Alum firm “Atilus” celebrates first decade

When Zach Katkin and Harry Casimir launched a website development and online marketing firm as FGCU undergraduates in 2005, desktop computers were still the vehicle of choice for online navigation. In retrospect, that might seem like the horse-and-buggy era. Smart phones and tablets were still around the corner. “Mobile was happening, but nobody was sure it was going to take off,” recalls Katkin, who graduated in 2007 with a degree in liberal studies. The proliferation of operating systems tweaked for myriad devices and mobile carriers adds twists and turns to the development process of web content. That has been just one of the challenges President and CEO Katkin and Director of Operations Casimir have faced in steering their company, Atilus (http://www.atilus.com/), over its first decade in business.

FAMU: Alumnus named chairman of Microsoft

In February 2014, Florida A&M University alumnus John W. Thompson was appointed the independent chairman of computer software giant Microsoft Corp., replacing company founder Bill Gates.

Thompson, a 1971 graduate of the School of Business and Industry, first joined Microsoft’s board of directors in February 2012, serving as a lead independent director, a role he will continue in tandem with the appointment. In addition to chairman of the Microsoft board, Thompson is the chief executive officer of privately held Virtual Instruments. He is the former chairman and CEO of Symantec where he served for 10 years. Previously, he held a number of leadership positions at IBM, including sales, marketing, software development and general manager of IBM Americas.

New College: The Force Awakens

New College alumnus Jackson George ’95 is the senior vice president of creative advertising for Disney. Most recently, George’s work on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has helped make over $900 million in the US, and more than $2 billion in worldwide ticket sales, making it the #1 domestic and #3 global release of all time. He’s responsible for creative materials – trailers, TV spots and promotional materials – that promote major movies coming out. And that includes “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the biggest movie of the decade.

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