Gary Read has been the president and CEO of Nimsoft for the past six years. He is a more than twenty-year veteran of the high-tech world, with extensive expertise in monitoring and systems management software. Prior to Nimsoft, Gary was vice president of sales and marketing at RiverSoft, a provider of advanced network management products, where he was a key member of the executive team that led the company to a successful IPO and its eventual acquisition by Micromuse. He has also been the vice president of marketing at BMC Software and has held sales and marketing leadership roles at Boole & Babbage and MAXM Systems.
SM: Let’s start at the beginning of your story, Gary. What is your background?
GR: I am originally from England. I grew up in a suburb of London. My parents were not entrepreneurs. My dad worked for the local government for many years as the treasurer. From that I learned the ethics of hard work. He worked his way up from a junior accountant to the CFO of one of the larger regions of London.
The English school system is different. I finished regular school at 16, and then I went on to do two more years of A-Levels. I elected not to go to college. One reason was that I wanted to start working and finding my way.
SM: Were your parents opposed to that?
GR: No, they were not. They were a little disappointed because I had excellent grades and I was at the top of my school in mathematics. They certainly understood my motivations for going to work. They are now very proud of everything I have achieved.
SM: What did you do instead of college?
GR: I went to work in the IT department of a credit card company. At the time, UK colleges were far behind in technology. I knew I wanted to do something with information technology, and UK colleges were way behind businesses and what they were teaching. I joined a credit card company that was the European arm of MasterCard. I spent the first six months in a training program. I learned application programming, operations of computer systems, and design and analyst work.
SM: How long did you stay in that job?
GR: The training was six months, and I finished at the top of the class. That meant I got put onto a management track. I was moved into programming on the mainframe. I stayed there for 18 months and then moved to a similar yet better paying position with one of the larger banks in the UK. I continued to progress quickly, and I was the youngest ever person to achieve the grade of appointed officer in the company history.
They tried to fast-track me through management grades and through the pay scales, but I actually only stayed there for two more years before I moved on, and I started to work for a software vendor. I had realized that while I liked the technology, my heart was really on the business side of the equation. I joined a software vendor that was making and distributing mainframe software. This was in 1989.