Lombard firm succeeds as experts on Oracle
August 23, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
Bill Clinton's My Life
is a best-seller this summer, but for thousands of Oracle software
users, there's a hotter publication. This Thursday copies of Oracle
Database 10g: The Complete Reference roll off the presses thanks
to Rich Niemiec's Lombard-based firm TUSC. For the legion of Oracle
users, it's a must read.
never hear of Niemiec, but the attendees at Oracle's International
User Conferences afford the 42-year-old Niemiec rock-star status.
In the past 12 years, his company was named top presenter six
times. When Oracle created a Certified Master's program, Niemiec
was among six honorary inductees. When Nokia ran into Oracle database
headaches, Niemiec flew to Finland. When Oracle needed a user
group in Bangladesh, Niemiec got it started.
In 1987 Niemiec
was a software engineer in Oracle's Chicago office. Along with
colleagues Brad Brown and Joe Trezzo, they pushed and prodded
the product. They proved it could work in the emerging client-server
early on Oracle was this complicated animal," says Niemiec.
"We tried to simplify it so that everyone could understand
transformed Niemiec, Brown and Trezzo into successful entrepreneurs.
Today their firm employs 110 Oracle experts, and generates over
$20 million in annual revenue from consulting, training and publishing.
Niemiec's clients include Northern Trust, Clearing Corporation,
Archipelago, the Board of Trade, Levy Restaurants, Argonne National
Labs, Motorola and United Airlines.
is one of Oracle's longest-standing partners, and has deep expertise
implementing many versions of Oracle's software," says Oracle
Senior Vice President Thomas Kurian. It's clear from what Kurian
says that when Niemiec speaks, Oracle's product developers in
California take note.
always been the mirror for Oracle," says Niemiec. "We
show them what people love, what people hate. We try to make the
he's trained over a million Oracle users through articles, speeches,
consulting and reference manuals.
in human potential: "Everybody is a Michael Jordan at something."
For Niemiec that's being the ultimate fine-tuner of Oracle's software.
Gillies seeks help
43 is riding high as the new GM of NEC's Visual Systems division
the helm last year, sales of plasma flat screens and digital projectors
are up 76 percent. Along with senior marketing director David
Woolf, 34, Gillies is behaving more like an entrepreneur than
a traditional corporate shogun.
trying to keep that momentum going," says Gillies, who's
redesigning his products to be sleeker and focusing on Web-based
direct-to-customer marketing. Gillies' predecessors might have
been satisfied building relationships with various channel partners
like CDW or Ingram Micro. He recently signed up Best Buy to sell
is also collecting consumer e-mail addresses and striving for
innovative ways to reach out to individual buyers to build his
to get more involved with Chicago. "We'd like to use the
city as a test bed," he says. One obstacle: "It's hard
to find tech marketing talent that will come to Itasca."
Woolf joined NEC from upstart electronics manufacturers. "At
[digital projector maker] InFocus, we rode the wave from $50 million
to $1 billion. At NEC we want to duplicate that growth,"
Gillies says. Sounds like they're on their way.
companies get honored Tuesday by CIO Magazine. This year's CIO
100 list includes the Board of Trade, W.W. Grainger, Allstate,
CNA and Griffith Labs ... Advocates of space exploration descended
on the Palmer House over the weekend as the Mars Society held
its 7th International convention. The conclave "brings together
scientists, astronauts, government officials along with grass-roots
members," says local space exploration proponent Jeffrey
Liss, senior vice president of the National Space Society. Liss
reports filmmaker James Cameron was on hand. The event was sponsored
by the Adler Planetarium and the Museum of Science and Industry
... Technology events brought them together and wedding bells
ring Saturday for ePrairie's Brad Spirisson and Katie Kaufmann
(formerly of the Chicago Software Association).
Michael Krauss is a Chicago-based tech writer and consultant.