Fall 2009

[Alumni News]

Jennifer Skjellum

High-tech Entrepreneur

Jennifer Skjellum

Jennifer Skjellum’s entrepreneurial voyage though the high-tech industry has included startups, spinoffs and business breakthroughs. Her first business experience was at Humboldt State, where she worked for Lumberjack Enterprises. Customers at an on-campus pizza outlet and coffee shop couldn’t have known their friendly cashier was destined to create and guide corporations with global reach.

Skjellum (’91, Speech Communication) with her husband Anthony co-founded MPI Software Technology, Inc. The company focused on developing software and solutions that enabled some of the first massively parallel supercomputers to run.

As CEO, Skjellum led the company’s expansion to some 50 employees and two overseas offices. Clients included several Fortune 500 companies, government labs, large universities, and even NASA.

After selling the company and working in the corporate world for five years, she went entrepreneurial again, spinning off RunTime Computing Solutions. As president, she’s back on the leading edge of tech – in her words, “high performance computer software and services for the embedded space” – enabling customers to maximize application performance and platform portability.

Even amid the whirlwind of business and technology, Skjellum volunteers, sharing her business skills as part of Junior Achievement. She gives talks about entrepreneurship in the Vestavia Hills, Ala. school system, where her daughter Hannah, 13, and son Nicholas, 12, attend.

Navigating the business world takes patience, clear vision and simple principles – which Skjellum says she picked up at Humboldt State. “I got a really good base from the teachers at HSU,” Skjellum says. “What I learned there prepared me not only to teach, but to be a better critical thinker. These skills I still draw upon, in corporate life and in the classroom.”

In February, she won the Birmingham Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40” award. As to what motivates her to push forward with her business and civic initiatives, Skjellum admits, “Everyone wants to be recognized.” But her ideals are in play as well. “It’s a desire to be a role model, especially for women and for people who are looking to do something outside their comfort zone.”