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Firehole Technologies’ Success to be Topic of Discussion at e2e Casper Meeting

June 4, 2013
Man in front of Firehole sign
Jerad Stack, former CEO of Firehole Technologies, presents “Firehole Technologies -- A Wyoming Entrepreneurial Success Story,” Tuesday, June 25, 5:30-7 p.m., at the Casper Petroleum Club. The discussion is part of the Wyoming Technology Business Center’s (WTBC) e2e networking program.

A Laramie-based business that grew from an idea at the University of Wyoming into a thriving company that was eventually acquired by a Fortune 350 software giant will be the topic of discussion at e2e Casper’s networking program this month.

Jerad Stack, former Firehole Technologies chief executive officer, presents “Firehole Technologies -- A Wyoming Entrepreneurial Success Story,” Tuesday, June 25, from 5:30-7 p.m., at the Casper Petroleum Club. The discussion is part of the Wyoming Technology Business Center’s (WTBC) e2e networking program. This will be the first-ever meeting of e2e’s Casper chapter.

“There’s a whole lot of people who were part of this Firehole story,” Stack says, referencing the company’s technology origins at UW. “I won’t talk a lot about technology, but I will discuss how we built the business and try to be inspirational about how someone else could, too.”

“I think this company is very significant for Wyoming,” says Jonathan Benson, CEO of the WTBC. “He (Stack) was born in Casper. He put it together, grew it, established a niche in the market, and sold it to a large corporation that will continue the company, as one of its divisions, in Laramie.”

Firehole was one of four or five original WTBC clients. The business resided in the incubator building from 2006-2008.

Before Firehole’s acquisition in March, Stack managed every aspect of the company, and formed and executed the company’s long-term strategies. He led the company from a small team of engineers to one that eventually was acquired by Autodesk Inc., a San Francisco-based company that focuses on 3-D design, engineering and entertainment software.

Located at 203 S. Second St. in Laramie, Firehole Composites develops innovative software tools designed to significantly improve structural design and analysis with composite materials, which are made from at least two different materials.

Firehole’s customers include manufacturers of golf clubs, hockey sticks, airplanes, racing yachts and championship Formula-1 vehicles. Firehole has provided Red Bull Racing Team with software that allows that company to explore how different and lighter materials will fare if used on a race car. Other signature clients include Bangor Hydro Electric Co., Boeing, NASA and Air Force Research Laboratories.

Stack’s new title is product manager for composite software for the Laramie office of Autodesk. He has come a long way from his college days when he was one of five graduate students who assisted Andrew Hansen, a UW professor of engineering, in getting Firehole established as a company during 2001.

“It shows start-ups can have an impact and diversify the whole economy,” Benson says. “He’s (Stack) done a great job with the company. It shows the power of growing our own instead of relying on recruitment to bring in companies from the outside.”

Stack admitted there is special meaning in being able to discuss his professional success in his hometown, where he still resides.

“It’s kind of exciting to have this connection with people in my hometown,” he says.

An educational networking program with chapters in Laramie, Sheridan, Gillette and Casper, e2e is designed to improve the climate for the start-up and growth of entrepreneurial companies. Each e2e chapter meets bi-monthly for 45 minutes of networking, followed by a 45-minute program. The programs include successful entrepreneurs telling their stories, panel discussion on relevant topics and advice from experts in a specific business.

The WTBC, a not-for-profit business incubator that provides entrepreneurs with the expertise, networks and tools necessary for success, launched e2e as an educational networking program.

For more information on e2e, call the WTBC at (307) 766-6395.

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