Donald A. Hicks, President and CEO, LLamasoft

Finalist, Business Services

When Donald Hicks pitched a new software product to the CEO of the small consulting company he worked for in 1995, he was told it wouldn’t work. However, he decided to trust his instincts and spent the next six months creating the product, called SimRunner, which became the first off-the-shelf simulation-optimization package.

Then in 1998, Hicks developed his company, LLamasoft, and its flagship software, Supply Chain Guru, which is now a leading supply chain design and predictive analytics application.

Fast-forward to 2008, and LLamasoft found itself in the midst of the recession. President and CEO Hicks called his employees together with an innovative idea. He said, “Ask our customers what they want, and if you think you can deliver it, say yes. Then do it.”

As a result of this flexibility and can-do attitude, LLamasoft grew during the recession. The company did not need any layoffs and actually added new jobs. The strategy has paid off immensely in terms of market share, innovation and employee dedication.

As an industry leader, Hicks is constantly thinking of ways to push the company to new heights and solve bigger problems for customers. LLamasoft has a coaching and training offering to teach users everything they need to know about its software applications. The company has also begun developing enterprise solutions that focus on knowledge capture, sharing and collaboration.

Hicks and LLamasoft are also leaders in the community. The United States Agency for International Development selected LLamasoft as its supply chain software provider to ensure drugs and medications get to sub-Saharan African people with diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The company does not provide the services free of charge, although it often charges a reduced rate.

HOW TO REACH: LLamasoft,