William Stone

Job: Chairman of the board of directors and CEO of Connecticut-based SS&C Technologies.

Hometown: Evansville.

His Story: In March 2011, Stone announced he was bringing 500 new jobs to Downtown Evansville by 2014. Those employees will add to SS&C’s 1,400 employees who provide software specialized for global financial and investment companies. Stone’s 25-year-old company is a worldwide operation with a client base managing $16 trillion in assets.

His Growth: “When you look at SS&C in 1986, we did $86,000 in revenue, and in this past quarter of 2011, we did $80 million in revenue,” Stone says. “Take that first year into our first quarter a thousand times, and that’s what I’ve gotten after 25 years.”

From a startup company in your basement to a worldwide powerhouse, what have you learned in the last quarter of a century running a company?
You’re going to get knocked down and have disappointments. You’re going to find out that whatever you’re selling now is, at least in your view, new and innovative, and in their view, it’s change.

In the 1980s, you were an accountant before you launched your business selling computer software to financial companies. What intrigued you about computers?
Back then, the computer room had glass-enclosed walls with very high-powered air conditioning and lights flashing and guys in white robes. They were the high priests and priestesses of computer technology.

Being an accountant, I thought, “This is really expensive.” (Laughs.) I wanted to know how much those white robes are. Then, a network comes along that costs $5-10,000 for the server, and personal computers are attached that are a couple thousand dollars each. We didn’t even need to keep them in a super cool room. So the costs were so massively reduced.

Did people hesitate about putting financial information on computers?
We had a lot of questions. “You’re going to put investments on a personal computer?” We do investment software, and you (the client) can have a brokerage account anywhere. We’re an accounting system. We don’t have your assets. The SEC has your assets. So we were convincing people to put their accounting information on a personal computer. That was a challenge. We had to convince auditors and accountants that (our software) was a secure, effective way to run their accounts. It’s pretty obvious now that personal computer networks have taken over the world that they made a really good choice.

Your 1,400 employees are all over the world. What will the 500 positions at the Downtown Evansville location add to your global presence?
What really is exciting for us about Evansville is the workforce. We think we are going to be able to get a lot of talented people. We will be able to train them. We think they will work hard. We think Indiana has a good business climate. We think that our costs will be pretty effective compared to where we are now in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and London, our prime locations. We’re excited about Kyle Fields (general manager of the Evansville location). He’s a young man in his late 20s who has a lot of confidence.

Does age matter when it comes to running such an undertaking?
I think that it’s not about age. People can run it at 75 as long as they have the commitment and capability and the drive. We aren’t looking for age. We are looking for confidence, and I think that’s something the company is pretty good at. We like to give people chances to succeed. I think that Kyle likes to win more than lose. I think he will work very hard to succeed, and he already is.

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