LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 8, 2013) — Kenneth Gardner worked as a computer programmer for First National Bank right after earning his University of Louisville finance degree in 1972. Now he’s executive chairman for SOASTA Inc., a Silicon Valley-based software company he founded.
Today Gardner became the seventh inductee in the UofL College of Business Entrepreneurship Circle of Fame. The college’s Board of Advisors created the elite group last year to recognize its top entrepreneurial graduates.
Gardner was inducted in an 11:30 a.m. ceremony in Jane Goldstein Plaza outside Harry Frazier Hall.
SOASTA, a company that helps businesses test their mobile and web applications, is one of five successful tech firms Gardner has started. He holds 12 patents and has been on the boards of each business he has founded, as well as boards at Commerce One, Kabira, DataSage, Everdream and The Application Group. In 2000, he was named a UofL College of Business Alumni Fellow.
His ability to envision and develop new technologies and successfully move them to the marketplace landed him in the Circle of Fame, said officials at the college.
“We’re proud of the way Ken has embraced business innovation,” said Carolyn Callahan, dean of UofL’s College of Business. “He’s an excellent role model for our students on the importance of continuing to innovate in our current economic climate.”
Gardner’s name will appear on a granite slab in Goldstein Plaza beside the names of the six other Circle of Fame inductees, Stewart Cobb, Tom Davidson, Terry Forcht, David Jones, James Patterson and Dan Ulmer.
Gardner is a software industry veteran with more than 35 years in the enterprise software industry. He is currently executive chairman of SOASTA, which has harnessed the power of cloud computing to become the leading provider of cloud testing, which businesses use to test the real-world performance of their web applications, according to the SOASTA website. From 2002 until June 2005, he was the founder, CEO and chairman of the board of Istante Software (originally Iteration Software), which was sold to Oracle Corp. in December 2004.
The SOASTA website includes a list of Gardner’s entrepreneurial activity in Silicon Valley: Prior to founding Istante, he co-founded Sagent, a business intelligence software company, in June 1995, and served as the company’s president and CEO through the company’s 1999 IPO on NASDAQ. Prior to Sagent, Garner was vice president of products at Borland International from March 1994 to March 1995. Previously, he was president, CEO and a founder of ReportSmith Inc., from February 1992 until the company was purchased by Borland in 1994. From 1988 to 1991, Gardner was president, CEO and founder of Viewpoint Systems. From 1985 to 1988 he was vice president of technology at Tesseract. From 1978 to 1985 he held various research and development positions at Tymshare.
He has been a board member at each of his own startups and has served as a board member at Commerce One, Kabira, DataSage, Everdream and The Application Group. He is currently on the Board of Directors of Accept Software.