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President and CEO of Wing Power Energy Named 2012 William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year

Tue, 2012-09-11 00:00 -- katzme

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Alumnus Harry Ruda ’68, ’69 — High-Tech Serial Entrepreneur — To Be Honored Oct. 5

September 11, 2012

Harry Ruda—a high-tech, serial entrepreneur whose career spans more than 35 years in the areas of information technology, software, and telecomm—has been selected as the 2012 William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year. Established in 1990, the William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year Award brings the world of entrepreneurship into Rensselaer classrooms by recognizing successful entrepreneurs and role models who share their wisdom and experiences with students.

Ruda has founded and/or served as chief executive officer of six high-tech start-ups, raising more than $100 million in investments from venture capital, angel networks, and corporate strategic investors. The investments have returned in excess of $350 million through strategic acquisitions. He now serves as president and CEO of Wing Power Energy, an early-stage developer of wind power energy solutions sold to major consumer brands that have distributed retail sites.

Ruda, is also a co-founder and chairman of Desktone, a leading provider of cloud-based virtual desktops sold to small- and medium-sized corporations. He will deliver a keynote address titled “Addicted to Start Ups” that will focus on highlighting the qualities and personality traits that an entrepreneur needs to exhibit. Rensselaer students, faculty, staff, past recipients, business leaders, and members of the surrounding community will have an opportunity to hear personal experiences and reflections from Ruda as he speaks candidly about his career.

Ruda graduated from Rensselaer in 1968 and 1969, earning a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in operations research statistics. He also received his MBA from Boston College.

The program will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. on the Rensselaer campus, in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies auditorium. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship and the Lally School of Management and Technology at Rensselaer.

“We are most appreciative of the leadership and foresight Bill Glaser has shown in recognizing the entrepreneurial spirit of so many Rensselaer graduates and sponsoring this annual event for the last two decades,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School. “We are delighted to honor Harry Ruda as the William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year. Harry’s accomplishments since graduating from Rensselaer are inspirational and make him a most deserving honoree.”

“I am truly humbled by being selected to receive this prestigious award,” said Ruda. “I could never have imagined that 40 years after my studies at RPI, I would be so honored by such a respected university. I hope that my experience and success as an entrepreneur can serve as a model for others and encourages future entrepreneurs with creative business and technology skill sets to keep the innovative spirit alive in this country.”

“Harry Ruda is a quintessential serial entrepreneur,” said Gina O’Connor, associate dean and professor at the Lally School, and faculty director of the Severino Center. “He has managed to build and grow several new ventures over the course of his career so far, and is migrating across technology and industries now with his most recent Wing Power venture in the wind energy domain.” 

Prior to Desktone, Ruda co-founded Softricity, and served as its CEO in June 1999. The company was an innovator and market share leader in application virtualization. Since Softricity’s inception, he raised more than $54 million from top-tier venture funds. The company was acquired by Microsoft in July 2006 in one of the largest software transactions in New England, and valued at greater than 17 times the previous year’s revenue.

Prior to Softricity, Ruda served as president and CEO of ITS, a manufacturer of video access equipment for IP networks, until its acquisition by Artel Video in March 1999. He also co-founded and served as vice president of sales and marketing for VC-backed Network Switching Systems, a manufacturer of integrated voice and data switching equipment, which was ultimately acquired by BBN Communications.

Throughout his career, Ruda has also held the following positions: vice president of field operations for Bell Atlantic, vice president of sales and marketing for Bridgeway Corporation (a network management software company based in Redmond, Wash.), and president and CEO of Glyph Systems (an Andover-based start-up specializing in internationalized software). Additionally, he serves on several private company boards as independent director and also sits on several advisory boards for early stage companies.

“Harry’s ability to translate his learning and experience from one venture to the next should demonstrate to our students, alumni, and anyone desiring to try entrepreneurship that it really can be considered a profession that can be learned and improved upon with experience,” O’Connor added. “I cannot wait for Harry to come to campus and share his message with us.”

Today, the William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year Award has become part of a tradition at Rensselaer. Each year, the award celebrates entrepreneurs whose vision, commitment, and creativity exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that is Rensselaer’s past, present, and future.

Past winners include: Sean O’Sullivan ’85, co-founder and managing director of Avego Corporation; Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen Fund; Amba Preetham Parigi, managing director, Entertainment Network (India) Limited, and managing director and CEO of Times Infotainment Media Limited; William G. Pomeroy ’66, founder and CEO, CXtec; Brendan L. McKernan ’00, co-founder and VP of operations, Agencourt Biosciences Corp.; Frederick W. Smith, chairman, president and CEO, FedEx Corp.; James Q. Crowe ’72, CEO, Level 3 Communications; John J. McDonnell Jr. ’61, founder, chairman, and CEO, Transaction Network Services Inc.; and Mukesh Chatter ’82, founder, president and CEO, Axiowave.

Additional recipients include: Curtis Priem ’82, co-founder and CTO, NVIDIA Corp.; Nancy S. Mueller, founder and president, Nancy’s Specialty Foods; Arthur L. Goldstein ’57, chairman, president, and CEO, Ionics Inc.; John H. Broadbent Jr. ’59, co-founder, CFO, VP-finance and treasurer, Arrow International Inc.; Paul J. Severino ’69, founder and chairman, Bay Networks; Warren Bruggeman ’46, VP and general manager, General Electric Nuclear Business Operations; Salvator Alfiero ’64, founder, chairman, and CEO, Protective Industries LLC; Thomas LeFevre ’71, co-founder, Intuit; and William Mow ’59, founder, Bugle Boy Industries.

For more information and to RSVP, visit: http://www.lallyschool.rpi.edu/events/scte/2012eoy.html

Contact: Jessica Otitigbe
Phone: (518) 276-6050
E-mail: otitij@rpi.edu