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The Nathan M. Bisk College of Business is spreading the spirit of entrepreneurship through its Visiting Entrepreneur Program. Accomplished business leaders are brought to campus to share real-world knowledge, experience, and insights in starting and managing a successful business enterprise.

Join us for inspiring talks on business development in our highly-competitive, global marketplace. You will become engaged in critical thinking about career goals and aspirations in entrepreneurship.


"Secrets of a Perpetual Entrepreneur"

Presented by
Mr. Peter Dyson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Modus Operandi


Thursday, November 29, 2012 from 3–4 p.m.
Room 244 • Florida Tech Commons • 2nd Floor

Seating is limited, if you would like to attend please send your
RSVP to Ms. Sharon Carnohan (scarnoha@fit.edu).


Talk Summary

Confucius said “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest”. Peter’s secrets of a perpetual entrepreneur were often first ‘discovered’ as the result of his personal experiences. But in hindsight, many of these ‘secrets’ where already hiding in plain sight. Peter will share the Modus Operandi story, from its formative roots as Software Productivity Solutions, planned in a Florida Tech MBA New Ventures Classroom, through nearly 3 decades of entrepreneurship. Throughout his story, Peter will weave in his secrets. Peter expects that many of these secrets will seem familiar (“Oh! I knew that!”). Peter contends that knowing alone is not enough, and the secret is applying your own judgment and values to decide what knowledge to apply or whose example to follow. During this talk, Peter will touch on many topics relevant to entrepreneurs, including making the leap, optimism and conservatism, teamwork and leadership, ethics, risk taking, financing, adaptability, and customer relationships.

Bio

Peter Dyson is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Modus Operandi, a software technology company serving the U.S. defense and intelligence community. The company develops software to unravel hidden meaning and relationships in data and provides expert engineering and management services.

Peter has more than 25 years of experience in leading the development and application of advanced computing technologies to solve the complex problems of commercial and government clients. Under his leadership, the company has grown 500% over the past decade, obtaining commercial and defense sector contracts valued at over $70 million during that time span. Peter has made two acquisitions and raised equity capital through private placements, venture seed capital, and business line divestitures.

Peter received his B.S. in Computer Science from Washington University in 1980 and began his professional career at Harris Corporation as a software developer and project manager. He became a technology entrepreneur in 1984 as a co-founder of Software Productivity Solutions, Inc. (SPS), while he was an MBA student at Florida Tech. Required to develop a business plan for his New Venture Development course, he asked his professor if he could use the plan for SPS, even though it was being developed along with 2 co-founders. “Yes”, was the reply “but you will bear full responsibility for your grade”. This must have worked out, as Peter was granted an MBA by Florida Tech in 1985.

SPS was a true bootstrap, launched with no customers and no money. Initially only one of the co-founders worked full time in the business. Some small contracts and a first full time employee soon followed. Peter joined the company full time in 1985, working without pay to win additional government contracts and to (futilely) chase VC funding. As a result of successful contract bids, all the founders were able to draw modest salaries after the first year.

Typical of start-up environments, Peter wore many hats. During the first 10 years, Peter was the VP of Computer-Aided Software Engineering, and then the VP, Operations and Finance. He was responsible for the financial management of the company, government contracting, and for serving as lead executive for key defense department customers. Two of his government customers from these early days remain customers today.

In 1994 the company split off one of its product lines, and sold the product company, InQuisiX, Inc., to SPS’s President and co-founder, Ed Comer (a third co-founder had previously left the business). Peter stepped into the role of President and led efforts to pay off debts from the product business and then to diversify into the commercial sector. This included the merger of SPS with INTEC Systems to form Modus Operandi in 1998. After gaining some initial success, the company experienced a severe downturn when the tech bubble burst in 2001. Peter then took the company back to its defense sector roots and worked with the remaining team of dedicated employees and loyal customers to rebuild. In many respects, this was like starting over, but the wisdom gained from earlier missteps helped shape the new strategic direction, leading to growth in orders, revenue, profit and employment.

Peter’s community volunteer and non-profit activities include past service on the Advisory Board of the Florida Tech College of Engineering. He is an avid competitive chess player and currently serves on the Board of the non-profit Space Coast Chess Foundation, a community-supported organization focused on the value of chess in lifelong learning. Peter serves as an Alternate on the Board of Delegates of the U.S. Chess Federation and previously served as Treasurer of the Florida Chess Association.