Keene State College students gathered in the Science Center on Wednesday, April 13, to hear the success story of KSC Alumnus and CEO of Lanyon David Bonnette, and to learn more about the software company.
Lanyon is an event management software company that buys software companies and improves the quality of the software.
“I work for a private equity firm called Vista Equity. We buy software companies, we fix them, we make them better and we sell them. That’s all we do,” Bonnette said.
According to the Lanyon website, “Lanyon believes that when people get together amazing things can happen. Relationships are built and business gets done. That’s why we have created the industry’s leading cloud-based software for managing corporate meetings, events and travel programs.”
According to KSC Corporate Relations Officer Daniel Henderson, Bonnette graduated from KSC in 1993 with a Bachelor’s degree in business management.
Bonnette said that he chose Keene State because it was where his sister attended college.
“I visited a few times and I had a good time here and she seemed to be enjoying it so I decided to apply to Keene. My first couple of years here, I did not know what I wanted to major in. I did not know what I wanted to pursue professionally. As I got into my third year, I was in business management, ”Bonnette said.
Bonnette mentioned that is was KSC Professor of Management Dr. Neal Pruchansky who inspired him to pursue business management, take more risks in life, be creative and encouraged him to participate in a ten-week business exchange program at the University of Oxford in England.
Bonnette said that, after he graduated from KSC, he moved to San Francisco, California and obtained a telesales job at Oracle where he met his wife Zoe of almost 17 years. He now resides in Dallas, Texas with their three children.
“Oracle was the coolest thing around back then in the mid 90s. The cool people were working there, and the smart people were working there. I applied and got a job and put on my headset, and it was a brutal two years telesales,” Bonnette said.
Bonnette encouraged the audience to think about a career in the software industry because the world is consumed by software;
“If you have a super personable passion like music, you could go work at Pandora or Spotify. If architecture is your thing, you could work at Autodesk. If manufacturing is your thing, you could work at SAP which makes the best manufacturing software in the world. If real estate is your thing, you could work at Zillow. It’s really the only industry in the world that can intersect something that you’re super passionate about with a professional opportunity,” Bonnette said.
Bonnette continued, “You don’t have to know how to write code to be in a software company.”
According to Bonnette, in ten years there will be a million jobs unfilled in software.
Bonnette pointed out that Lanyon sells software to such industries as hospitals, libraries and agricultural and financial services.
Bonnette specified the success of Lanyon.
“We have never lost money in the field. Part of it is because we are good at what we do; part of it is because we want to establish companies and establish industries that, whether we buy or not, it’s gonna be quick,” Bonnette said.
Bonnette spoke of Lanyon and what they look for in potential employees as a software company.
“What we value at Lanyon and what I think most great companies value are hiring people with great attitudes that choose to come in and be gritty and be hungry and have recommendations and look for problems and help us solve. That is what we value the most,” Bonnette said.
KSC sophomore Joseph Stallcop attended the event, and said that Bonnette is now on the top lists of the public speakers he has heard.
“I feel that he managed to be very engaging and, even though in public speaking your goal is to get your main points across, he seemed to be interested in doing that, but his main interests seemed to be getting people engaged and thinking and trying to apply things to people’s lives. More than just trying to get an agenda across,” Stallcop said.
Bonnette said that after his current position as CEO of Lanyon, he wishes to pursue teaching business management.
Jacob Knehr can be contacted at email@example.com