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Curator: Chuck Russell

Chuck Russell - The Official BIO

Born in Central Pennsylvania, Chuck Russell is a serial entrepreneur with operational and product development expertise focusing on Enterprise Business Intelligence, Knowledge Management and Enterprise Social Computing. He is currently co-Founder and serves as Senior Partner of Collective Intelligence Inc, an information technology consulting firm located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Prior to Collective Intelligence, Russell co-founded Infobuild Networks, an Internet research and collaboration company. Prior to Infobuild Networks, he co-founded Peak Technologies an Internet browser utility and Internet research company. Priot to Peak Technologies he founded Innovative Desktop a Java server platform company acquired by Peak Technologies.

Russell and/or his companies have appeared in publications and periodicals such as ComputerWorld, Information Week, PC World/PC Week, CNet TV among others.

Russell is the author of the Symmetry Design Methodology; a full life cycle view of Object Oriented and Data Driven software engineering. He is also the author of the Symmetry Guide to Project Management; a pragmatic manager’s guide to leading projects and teams.

He currently lives in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, with his wife Tara and their four children.

Chuck Russell in His Own Words

I was born in Scranton Pennsylvania in 1958. My family lived in a working class, coal town called Old Forge. We weren’t rich, but I never felt poor because my mother and father made many sacrifices for my brother, sister and me. My mother was a housewife, and my father was a civil servant, working for the US Navy.

I attended Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg, PA where I graduated in 1976. It was a pretty large school for that era; we had a class size of 550+. I got a great education, played sports, worked odd jobs and enjoyed life.

After Cumberland Valley, I matriculated to Indiana University of PA where I studied Mathematics and Economics. I had a great time at IUP; was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and enjoyed all there was about college life (perhaps too much). It was at IUP where I first laid my hands on a computer taking several courses in programming and in applied math and statistics.

I returned home to Mechanicsburg, PA in 1980 hoping to find a job during the worst recession since the early 1960s. I was lucky though and randomly wandered into the career I have today. During the next seven years  I worked with a number of firms: Penn Center Systems, CACI and TRW. I learned about all aspects of computer technology. I swapped boards, ran ethernet cable, troubleshot IO devices, built custom cables and wrote a lot of software. These were formative years where I was exposed to both the business and technical side of being a technologist. I loved it.

Those may have been the most interesting years of my career. I was involved with the personal computer during the era when the mini-computer or midrange was beginning to replace the mainframe. About that time I stumbled across and fell in love with the Unix operating system, the C programming language and relational database technology. 

After TRW I joined Computer Task Group as a consultant specializing in mid-range computing technologies. It was there that I was introduced to software engineering principles, total quality management and project management. During my seven years at CTG I had the pleasure (and pain) of managing several interesting, bleeding edge projects using a variety of emerging technologies. I was blessed with the opportunity to chart my own course and took full advantage. I left CTG as a Director of a small, regional consulting practice focusing on information engineering, software engineering and the emerging object oriented technologies.

In early 1993 nearing the end of my time at CTG my good friend Tom Jones and I stumbled across several articles related to object oriented technologies and several object oriented languages like Smalltalk, C++ and Eiffel. We pooled our money together and bought an implementation of the Digitalk Smalltalk environment. I immersed myself in OO and Smalltalk and it was those technologies that set the stage for my ‘participation’ in the internet bubble.

In November of 1995 I was working with several banks in New York city helping them build enterprise applications based upon Smalltalk, PowerBuilder and a few other OO technologies when I stumbled into a bookstore on Broadway and ran across a book on Java. I bought the book and found an incredibly flexible language similar to Smalltalk but much more agile and more optimized for network computing.

Over the next 5 years I started two technology companies and helped start 2 others. You can read all of the sordid details in my LinkedIn Bio. Needless to say these were exciting times where I learned a lot about raising capital, how to build a startup, what to do and what not to do. I had the frequent flier miles and the lumps and bruises to prove it. The travel and hard work burned me out and after spending most of my career working far from home I called it quits…and started another company.

In 1999 I started Collective Intelligence Inc., with John Haller and Daren Stonesifer. Initially we focused on the Java computing platform and helped a half dozen internet startups build their applications. When the Internet bubble burst in 2001 and 2002 we pivoted, diversified, shrank then grew into the firm we are today. Collective Intelligence specializes in Web Portal, Customer Relationship Management, Business Intelligence and Systems Integration. Over the past several years we’ve developed a great deal of experience integrating Social Computing technologies into our consulting portfolio.

Today I personally focus my attention on critical Knowledge Management components: Enterprise Portal Technology, Social Computing and  Data Analytics. I work with our clients to help them formulate a strategy of acquisition, deployment and adoption of these technologies.

Currently, I serve as a Senior Partner of Collective Intelligence as well as a husband, father, author, speaker, and Baseball junkie. I have the honor and pleasure to work with a number of young technology startups and early stage investment groups.

If you’d like to stay on top of my writing, the best places are here at iKickStart or on FaceBook or Twitter.

All the Best,

Chuck Russell