|Shad Alum Combines Love of Technology and Customer Care
Fred Bullock, founder of cloud computing company Cirrus9, was introduced to investing and business in his early teens by his school principal. This interest grew and was reinforced by his father. At the same time, Fred delved into science and technology, spurred by an uncle who was involved in do-it-yourself electronics and computer sales in the early 1980’s. Not until Fred attended Shad Valley, though, did he learn that business and science were a viable combination. The program also arranged a month-long internship for Fred at NBTel, giving him relevant work experience early on.
“Before Shad Valley, I had the entrepreneurial spark, but the program really ignited it. Not only did the academic aspects have an impact, but my summer internship at NBTel changed the course of my future,” says Fred. “I was at Shad Valley the summer before my first year at university, and the experience was the tipping point in my decision to switch from pre-medicine to a double major in commerce and engineering.”
The connection to Shad Valley and his summer internship never waned. Shad Valley Program Director Barry Bisson, who is now Shad Valley's President, became an early mentor. Barry hired Fred as a research assistant and introduced him to a contact who would become his employer after graduation. Gerry Pond, former CEO at NBTel, became an important advisor and angel investor in Fred's future businesses, and is still involved today more than 25 years later.
After receiving a Bachelor's degree in commerce and Master's in engineering, Fred worked in IT at a transportation company before starting an IT consulting firm in 1992 focused on software engineering. He has subsequently alternated between corporate employment and entrepreneurial ventures, gaining expertise in software development, IT infrastructure, computer/telephony integration, e-commerce product management, financial and operations management, and business development.
“Throughout my career, I have touched nearly all roles in IT. With this amalgamation of experience, along with some long-time partners including my COO, the leap to founding a cloud hosting company seemed natural. The market in New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada also appeared ready for a new entrant, since most major cloud providers are located elsewhere and not focused on this region,” Fred says. “Pure technology, though, is only part of the equation. Business savvy, particularly in sales and customer service, play an equally important role.”
To Fred, successful entrepreneurs are not simply risk-takers, as they are often characterized. He believes that entrepreneurs are “reward”-seekers who are drawn to opportunities where the upside appears to dramatically outweigh the risks. Additionally, careful observation of trends, listening to what customers want, together with persistence, adaptability and a great team, are key success factors.