Author: David Dodson

Published

Rob Bearden has been appointed an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business, Dean Robert T. Sumichrast announced.

A native of Atlanta now living in Madison, Ga., Bearden is the second person to be given the honorary title. Experiential marketing pioneer Mark "Dill" Driscoll was the first to be named an Entrepreneur-in-Residence in 2009.

"The appointment of Rob Bearden continues the progress that the Terry College is making in the development of its entrepreneurship program," Sumichrast said. "Rob will assure that our students understand the role of technology in the development of businesses from someone who has practical experience."

A leader in the commercial open source software community, Bearden said he will work closely with both faculty and students on developing new strategies to turn ideas into viable business ventures.

"My focus is to help Terry prepare students to create businesses by evaluating opportunities, assessing the market and formulating an idea," Bearden said. "And it's important to create strategies that take advantage of new business models."

Since graduating from Jacksonville State University with a degree in marketing, Bearden has spent nearly 20 years growing highly successful technology organizations. Bearden began his career working for Data General and ERI, and then worked for six years at Oracle Corp., where he directed a highly profitable organization that drove in excess of $1 billion in annual revenues. Prior to signing on with i2 Technologies, a leading supply-chain solutions company where he supervised the company's operations in the United States, Canada, Latin America and Mexico, Bearden was senior vice president for worldwide sales with Manhattan Associates.

He then served as president and chief operating officer for JBoss, the world's leading open source middleware company, where he also came in contact with Terry College's Chris Hanks, a management faculty member and director of the college's entrepreneurship program.

"We grew JBoss very rapidly and proved that a commercial open source business can achieve great success in an established industry," Bearden said. JBoss was eventually sold to Red Hat in 2006 for $350 million. While at JBoss, Bearden began working with some faculty members at Terry whose students were evaluating open source business models.

Bearden has also held executive positions at OpenSpan and SpringSource, which was acquired by VMware in 2009 for $420 million. He now serves on the board of several successful open source companies including Pentaho and Black Duck. Bearden is also an Executive-in-Residence with Benchmark Capital, a leading venture capital firm in California's Silicon Valley.

"Joining Terry College is incredibly exciting and truly an honor," Bearden said. "It's an opportunity to take a world-class organization and education environment in terms of facilities, alumni and leadership and, using that as the platform, create a launching pad for us to build the next generation of world-class entrepreneurs.

"From the student standpoint, it will position us to become what I've always dreamed of Georgia becoming, which is the best place in the world for tech companies to start, grow and develop into very large, valuable and important companies. That's been my goal and dream. And this appointment gives me the perfect platform to accomplish that."