A New Journey, and Lots Of People To Thank

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This inaugural CORE Contact post comes from our Co-Founder & CTO, Jeremy Harms. It’s a personal note on the beginning of a new journey and his gratefulness to those fellow founders who have encouraged and inspired him along the way to pursue this goal.


TL; DR–There’s a lot of people I want to thank. No one accomplishes anything in life purely on their own. I owe everything I am, have become or hope to be to the people who made me “me,” both in my career and in my life. You’re all wonderful. This post leaves out so many of the talented colleagues, employees and other company leaders who influenced, guided, or encouraged me over the years—far too many to name. You all know who you are. You’re the best.

It’s been a long road to this new journey of being a founder. When we were boys, if it was lemonade stands as “Harms Inc.” with my brother Jared, or an ill-fated winter in O’Fallon, IL where no snow fell and Paul Josias and I were out of a promising snow shoveling service, I’ve always wanted to take a shot at being a founder.

Out of high school, I worked for my first tech entrepreneur inspiration Mike Valletutti at his Georgia Tech incubated company, AGT. “Mr. Valletutti”–as I insisted on calling him–gave me my first job in tech and later hired me to begin my career after I graduated with a degree in CIS from UF in 2004. And now to this day Mike continues to allow me to take up his time to mentor me and provide guidance and advice to an old new guy who’s still just trying to figure this out. I guess not a lot has changed since I first knocked on Mr. Valletutti’s office door 25 years ago to ask for help. Thank you Mike. Tim Shockley was the man who extended the invite into this realm. Thank you Tim, and sorry for all the terrible custom video teleconference cables I made that you had to replace…

While in school and studying CIS at UF, Paul Smith allowed a hopeful tech student to cold call him asking for a software job. He may have regretted it later for all I know (there’s no telling how much I may have messed up in that point of sale code base), but it was a special college experience that I’ll always remember. Go Gators Paul.

After graduation, Mike and his co-founder “Mr. Ben” Atha (as I had always called him since that first job out of high school) brought me to the ATL where my family and I have planted deep roots to this day. Mr. Ben and my first software manager Dr. Mark Bearden were both patient and always coaching this noob fresh out of college. I learned my main software development chops under their tutelage in that first full time job and still draw on those lessons learned to this day. Thank you both. Roll Tide Mark!

Larry Campbell and Harry Moser gave me my first opportunity in consulting, and I began my client facing career, and those skills I honed were thanks to these gentlemen. My best friend Andy Rocha opened that door, and Dan Myers showed me by example what it meant to be a genuine leader who cared. I will especially always hold a dear spot in my heart for Don Landrum when long ago he practically saved my life (and what little reputation I had left) in Oshkosh, WI after entirely over-doing it on the Jack & Cokes at a conference party. Know your limits, kids… Thanks for not firing me that next day Don. I guess he thought the hangover was punishment enough.

To Jeremy Ford–one of the few regrets of my career (notwithstanding the aforementioned Jack & Cokes) is not allowing myself an opportunity to learn from such a talented and gifted leader as yourself. I guess moving my nine month pregnant wife–yep, not a typo–who was about to have our first child to a new country (as in, the Republic of Texas) and starting my first and only Fortune 500 job at Dell was a bad idea on my part in hindsight… You showed me grace and genuine care while I was figuring out that personal mistake, and I’m grateful to you sir. Sorry for all that Dell HR paperwork. That’s my bad.

To Marcelo Tamassia, Todd Chromzak and Craig Kelly of Syntax, formerly EmeraldCube, I can’t say thank you enough. Marcelo is the most talented and smartest person I’ve ever worked for. He taught and showed me so much. Todd led by example in confidence and illustrated winning with excellence in sales and client relationships. He also has impeccable taste in music. Craig was the single biggest influencer on my management and leadership development in my career. Simply put, Craig’s my guy. He always had my back, gave me many chances and it was an honor to work under his leadership for almost 13 years. He taught me to “keep chopping wood” and was the epitome of cool and calm under pressure. The Cube was far and away the greatest work experience of my career. Thank you three and all my former fellow Cubers for including me in on a basement/garage/bunker startup experience guys. It was a wonderful ride together.

Outside of work in my personal circles, I’ve been so fortunate to surround myself with founders I admire and want to be like “when I grow up.” My good friend King Grant of KEH Camera began his entrepreneur journey and empire building when he was my age now. So maybe it’s not too late for me after all. He provides wisdom to me regularly and is my most optimistic cheerleader. I admire the company and culture Stewart Bryson and co-founder Kevin McGinley of Red Pill Analytics created, and Stewart and I still get together over tacos to talk shop and hear his advice. My old AGT colleague Justin Fisher and what he’s built at Grayshift is incredible. Melody Bray bet on herself and walked away from a very successful career as a lawyer to follow her passion and is now more successful than ever before in real estate. And now we all have a chance to support her Georgia State Senate campaign. Seriously everybody, please contribute to this incredible woman’s campaign and if you’re in her district in the Atlanta area, VOTE FOR BRAY!!

Truly creative founders and friends Brenton Smith of Station16, one of my favorite ATL brands Brick+Mortar from David Kowalski, Kit Hughes of Look-Listen and all the guidance he, entrepreneur David Peet and David Kobia have given me over the years about startups and to encourage me to pursue The Vine City Code Crew for kids in ATL, thank you guys. And of course my close circle of trust fire pit friends and confidants executive VP Jon Smith, NPW co-founder Whit Copley and CFO founder Matt Yoder. They provide regular advice and encouragement, hear about the worst of me and yet love me unconditionally all the same. Thank you fellas.

As a son of the Christian faith tradition and coming from a legacy of ministers in my family, spiritual mentors and pastors have had an enormous influence on my life. From Pastor Hal Santos all the way back when I was a very little guy to Pastor Ken Hitte through my formative high school years, these pastors helped grow me. Gareth Allcott provided sage wisdom and counsel through married life and early parenthood, and of course my Trinity Anglican ministers Pastors Kris McDaniel, Ashley Mathews, Brad Mauldin continue to shape me even now, and many other elders and leaders at Trinity over the years. Thank you everyone for encouraging me in my spiritual growth.

To my stealth partners behind the scenes at CORE, thank you gents. We couldn’t do this without you. And to my good friend and initial introduction to this legal tech space founder and CEO Chris O’Brien, I will always owe a debt of gratitude for your guidance and advice that you’ve given me throughout my entire career. Thank you Chris.

Finally, my family. My mom Sherilyn and my dad Dewey have always been my biggest supporters and encouragers throughout my life and have guided, instructed and corrected me to be the man I’ve become. My kids have to say “yes sir” and “no ma’am” because my parents made me, and their parents made them. I guess that’s southern rearin’ for ya. My brother Jared is of course much more than you could just categorize as a friend. He’s my closest confidant, fellow hiking companion both on the trail in the wilderness and on the trail of life. He was the most diligent, dedicated and hardest worker I’ve ever labored with. I hope to rekindle Harms Inc. one day and go into business with him again, only this time like brothers Forrest and Bubba: fifty-fifty. Roll Tide.

My ever optimistic and true believers in their daddy, Evelyn (11) and Luke (8) are the joys of my life. Whether I’m successful or not in the long run on this founder journey, they’re pulling for me all the same. Mochi our rabbit explicitly gets no thanks. He eats through my computer cables which annoys me and mildly inhibits my ability to pursue my goals.

The person who gets the biggest thanks and my eternal gratitude is the woman of my dreams, my biggest supporter and the best person I’ve ever met. The best decision of my life has been and always will be asking Sarah Harms to marry me. I’m a much, much better person today because she said yes. Thank you Love.

Now it’s back to work, there’s more to get done than I can get to in a 24 hour day. But I guess that’s what I get for wanting to be a founder.

Cheers! And thank you all again.


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