Rick Pleczko, Idera, chairman, president and CEO

Technology — Finalist

Rick Pleczko paved his own way in life — from teaching himself computer programming 30 years ago to leaving a well-paying job at a large software company to finance and co-found his own business in 2004.

As chairman, president and CEO of Houston-based Idera — formerly BBS Technologies — Pleczko has continued to make success happen in his life. He started the systems management software company with a staff of five, one product and a handful of customers, and he has since grown Idera to a staff of hundreds, offering dozens of products to more than 10,000 customers worldwide including Fortune 1,000 enterprises, government agencies and some of the world’s largest data centers and cloud infrastructure providers.

Idera’s success stems from its simple systems and application management software for Windows and Linux servers. The company’s products can be scaled to manage thousands of servers — yet can be installed, deployed and operational in minutes to provide immediate value to customers. This improves on traditional management software that is expensive, complex and can take many months or years to implement.

Pleczko has a knack for strategic risk-taking, in addition to innovative thinking. Instead of cutting costs to weather the economic downturn, he drove Idera to develop new products, which resulted in growth rates of 30 percent or better as the economy recovered. He continues to use a customer-driven research and development approach, involving a customer advisory board sourced from more than 30 companies in the definition and formulation of Idera’s products.

Pleczko also takes a different approach to sales, ditching the traditional “outside” sales force. He implements a combination of Internet advertising and personal follow-up phone calls to keep costs low while maintaining a predictable revenue stream.

How to reach: Idera, www.idera.com