It’s 1985 and a young engineer at Ford Motor Co. is working at his desk, doing a job that has him focused on a new field that will ultimately transform the way cars, trucks and just about every other industrial product make their way from the mind of the designer to America’s roads.
On this particular day, Jim Scapa, a mechanical engineer who began with Ford in 1978, is also thinking about the future.
He’s thinking about how he and two of his colleagues might help answer a classic supply-demand question he thinks will surface before too long: how will companies like his current employer (and tens of thousands of others) find the specialized group of people with the training they need to operate in a field that’s already earned its own acronym—CAE—for Computer Aided Engineering.
Later that same year, Scapa and his two co-workers, Mark Kistner and George Christ, form Altair Engineering, at first a company that was dedicated to providing the staffing needed by companies like Ford.
That was then. This is now.
Today’s Altair, still lead by Scapa as CEO (Kistner and Christ have retired), has more than ridden the wave of CAE innovation. In many ways, it has helped create the energy that has powered that wave, pushing the boundaries of technology, both in software and hardware.
Altair, headquartered in Troy, Mich., as it was from the beginning, now has a distinctly global footprint, delivering value to every corner of the manufacturing world.
It’s still in the staffing business, now with some 700 consultants working in the same kind of offices Scapa first worked at Ford.
But multiply the number of offices by several orders of magnitude and add computer workstations to the mix—the power of which could only have been dreamed of nearly three decades ago—and you begin to appreciate just how far Altair has come. In June, Altair won the overall award as a Corp! Michigan Economic Bright Spot.
Source: Corp! Magazine
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