Interview with President and CEO of 365 Connect, Winner of 2012 Governor’s Technology Award

Last week, Silicon Bayou News covered the web-based technology platform for the multifamily industry, 365 Connect, after they had received the Multi-Housing News (MHN) Technology Choice Awards in three categories – Marketing Portals, Resident Portal and Resident Payment Systems. Even more recently, the company has won the 2012 Governor’s Technology Award for its Locate, Lease and Live Technology Platform. The award is a celebration of innovation and achievement for companies, individuals, and organizations throughout Louisiana.

365 Connect previously won an eWARD in the Coup d’Tech category, which allowed them to go on and compete for the Governor’s Technology Award last week. The 2012 Governor’s Technology Awards program was held in Baton Rouge and was hosted by the Louisiana Technology Council, in conjunction with Louisiana Economic Development.

Louisiana Technology Council Chairman Michael Oliver (left) and President and CEO of 365 Connect Kerry Kirby (right).

Louisiana’s Lieutenant Governor, Jay Dardenne, was giving the keynote speech, he said, “We are here today to recognize, honor and award, the best, brightest and most talented innovators in Louisiana. The winners of the Governor’s Technology Award stand far above the rest, they are the true leaders in the field of technology, and the State of Louisiana is proud to honor them here today.”

Kerry Kirby, President and CEO of 365 Connect, is well versed in the field of technology and what it takes to succeed. I reached out to him regarding the company’s recent awards and what’s next for 365 Connect on the Silicon Bayou. See how he answered my questions below.

How did you get into the field of technology?

I was always into the latest and greatest tech gadgets. So my entrance into Internet based technology goes back to when AOL started connecting America – yes the old days of dial up! I actually built my first website in my son’s bedroom on a Gateway Computer in 1995. From there, I had an idea for the apartment industry, which is where I spend most of my career in real estate development, and launched a site on a project I was involved in 2001– the response was overwhelming, other companies saw what we were doing and it quickly turned into a business. A zillion lines of code later, here we are!

How does it feel to have won five awards this year?

As I said in my acceptance speech for the Governor’s Technology Award, it is impossible to put into words. But here it goes – I am extremely honored and humbled that not only the industry we serve, but the technology community as a whole, and the Governor’s Office itself, has taken such notice to us and what we are doing. The feeling is also validating that what we are doing is making a difference and creating an impact in both the economy and technology.

Is 365 Connect up for any other awards?

Great question! Not that I am aware of, I think with 5 of them in 2012 alone, we may have set a record in our industry – but I am always waiting on that phone call, as they have all been a surprise. I feel like I am sitting in a seat at the Grammy Awards thinking… well not sure how I got here, I am nominated, but with all the great competition, they certainly will never call my name. Oh the surprise…

Where do you hope to see the company going in the next 6 months? 12 months?

Somebody once told me it only takes 10-years to be an overnight success – we just entered our 10th year. I think in the next 6 months our business will double in size, as we now have major multifamily operators (one with over 45,000 apartment units) bringing their entire portfolio on our platform. The next 12-months, I think you will see 365 Connect grow even more– but more importantly, develop some leading edge innovations to bring technology to the next level in our industry.

What are you most excited about happening on the Silicon Bayou?

There is so much, but one thing is to see the transformation of our city as a technology hub. With all these major technology companies such as Game Loft and GE are coming here, it speaks volumes that New Orleans has arrived on the technology scene. We also see home grown companies like iSeatz and TurboSquid with explosive growth. Then there are great things happening in the Startup community as well, with Launch Pad, Beta and Idea Village blazing that trail, it really makes me proud of the city I was born in to continue to reinvent itself. I will leave you with a quote from my acceptance speech from the Governor’s Technology Award – “The Silicon Bayou is alive, well and open for business – and building technology here is not just cool, it’s ultra cool.”