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Trendsetters: Software

Carol Craig
Carol Craig
Craig Technologies
Founder, CEO, CFO, senior software engineer
Cape Canaveral

Husband: Capt. John Craig, a Navy reserve pilot
Children: Danny, 7, and Gillian, 6
Travel: “One of the things I don’t do is travel because I don’t want to be away from my family. If I do travel, the whole family goes with me. It’s almost ridiculous.”
Music: Growing up, Craig played piano and violin. Her adoptive parents even rented her a cello for a month when she wanted to try it. She later found out her biological father and grandfather were professional musicians. She plays handbells in a handbell choir with her husband. [Photo: Brook Pifer]
Carol Craig blows through her life story with such breezy efficiency you would think she’s running through the well-known specs for a government contract her IT engineering and consulting firm is after.

Pause, then, to review the specs. Born of Cuban parents and adopted as a newborn, in college she earned bachelor’s degrees in computer science and computer engineering and a master’s in electrical computer engineering. She joined the Navy and met her fighter-pilot husband, John, in Jacksonville where both were in flight training (she for the P-3C Orion). She started her business in 1999 while stationed in Virginia. Two children later, when the family relocated to Florida in 2004, she elected to suffer a few years of losses to build the infrastructure for a larger company focused on NASA, military and government IT.

In government set-aside jargon, 150-employee Craig is a “fiver” — her business is small, woman-owned, minority-owned, service-disabled, veteran-owned (a knee injured in pilot survival training) and operates in an economically needy area.

Last year, revenue hit $8.6 million, up from $354,288 in 2004. “I’m a planner. I think it was one of the reasons we could have this amazingly steep growth.” She wants revenue to double in 18 months but is hardly the classic manic entrepreneur — once, when some business didn’t go as hoped, she told a colleague, “Did anybody die? Is anybody going to die?

It’s not worth the anxiety and stress.”

She’s had her share. Her first child, Danny, has Prader-Willi Syndrome, a genetic illness causing motor and other difficulties, chronic feelings of hunger and low metabolism that
can lead to obesity.

“I had always been family-oriented,” Craig, 41, says.

“It shapes the company I have.” Also shaping it: Her optimism. “I’ve always been,
to the point of being annoying, the glass is half full.”

Howard Herring
New World Symphony
Miami Beach

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» Every time the New World Symphony orchestral academy welcomes a new member, it asks a mouth-watering question: “Who, from anywhere in the world, would you really like to study with?”

Thanks to the symphony’s embrace of Internet2 under CEO Howard Herring, New World can deliver for its fellows. Internet2 connects universities with a faster alternative to the internet, allowing high-quality videoconferencing with no discernible time lag. Members can work on their technique with the finest instrumentalists regardless of geography. Composers drop in digitally to talk to performers and audiences. The symphony has hosted 150 universities to demonstrate how to make Internet2 work.

A pianist by training, Herring arrived at New World in 2001, just as $300,000 in tech grants was coming in. He has overseen the IT transformation and development of a $200-million campus opening in 2011 that will be wired and fibered throughout. “Very often you find technology that is chasing a purpose,” Herring says. “What we’ve done is the other way around. We had the desire and need to be in touch with the rest of the world.”

Money-Saving Technology

Communications engineer Raghib Qureshi, 39, and Mohammad Amirzadeh, 54, Florida Department of Management Services, won a Davis Productivity Award in technology advancement for integrating several technologies to allow standardized routing of wireless calls throughout the state for non-emergency information and referral to human services and crisis counseling, saving $520,000.