Let’s Go For It
Recently I took my son Max, who’s about to graduate from high school, on a college trip to Worcester Polytechnic Institute. It caused me to flash back to a very important person in our lives and how Gray Matter Systems got its start.
It was 1991 in Pittsburgh and Carson Drake and I had big plans.
A revolution was underway as personal computers were shaking things up on the factory floor. Just as big data, the Cloud, mobile and the Internet of Things are disrupting everything now, it was an exciting, but unsettling time.
Business owners, managers and workers were frightened about what this meant for their jobs, but we were excited because we knew operational technology was the future. It was time for us to leave the comfort zone of working for a company to start our own company.
When Someone Believes in You, Everything Changes
When two people start a company they need money, but more than that they need the type of support that helps you make fast, innovative decisions and inspires you to carry the heavy weight of success or failure. Steve Rubin gave us both.
Steve believed in Carson and I with a passion that got Gray Matter Systems off the ground and running. He built one of the most successful industrial automation software companies from his basement. He knew there was a need for a wide-ranging computer control system that could do many things at once. That’s why he created The FIX (fully integrated control system) and took industrial automation to a whole new level. We helped bring that technology to people in manufacturing, energy, and many other industries.
Steve’s company, Intellution, was later bought by Emerson Electric Company, and finally by General Electric. The rest is Fortune 500 history. Steve Rubin passed away in 2015 from complications related to ALS.
Steve’s enthusiasm and passion extended beyond his work. One very special place to him was Worcester Polytechnic Institute where he received his computer science degree and later served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The Rubin Campus Center is now where students meet, debate and innovate. He cared deeply about students and wanted a space for them to grow.
At Gray Matter Systems we honor Steve’s dedication to customers. One year he flew his own plane to speak at our annual conference, sharing his insights with customers and devoting his time to their needs.
We also honor his sense of adventure and fun. Steve was a huge baseball fan and couldn’t have been happier when former Pittsburgh Pirates’ owner, Kevin McClatchy, presented him with a jersey during a Gray Matter Systems user group meeting at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, pictured here.
Most of all, we honor his incredible business values of fairness and honesty.
Two Becomes Four, Four Becomes Fifty
We’ve come a long way since Steve helped us get started.
At first it was just the two of us. But we soon added a few others and found our home in Sewickley, a walkable suburb of Pittsburgh. Working in the house on Thorn Street made us feel like a family. And that’s who we are.
Sewickley is a special place bookmarked in our history. But it was time to turn the page and transition into a bigger space for our growing company.
Now we have a state-of-the-art headquarters in Pittsburgh, more than 50 employees and we’re growing fast. We also expanded our territory in the Gulf region to include Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Western Tennessee and Southeastern New Mexico.
The World is Waking Up to What We’ve Been Doing
We help some of the biggest companies in water/wastewater, oil and gas, and manufacturing use operational technology to get faster, leaner and smarter. Thanks to Steve, we have the opportunity to solve some of today’s toughest, data-driven challenges.
These days, everyone is talking about big data, the Cloud, the Industrial Internet of Things and predictive analytics.
We couldn’t be more thrilled. We’ve been ready for this for a long time. Our team of experienced engineers, technical consultants and leaders translate all the hype around these concepts into real value for our customers.
We feel good about where we are and where we’re going and that’s all because someone believed in us. We wish we had said this sooner—thanks, Steve.