James Goodnight

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James Goodnight
Drgoodnight.jpg
Born January 6, 1943 (1943-01-06) (age 71)
Salisbury, NC
Nationality American
Other names James H. Goodnight, Jim Goodnight
Alma mater North Carolina State University
Occupation Entrepreneur, CEO, Statistician, Software engineer, Inventor
Net worth Increase US$7.3 billion[1]

James Howard "Jim" Goodnight (born January 6, 1943) is a businessman and software programmer. He co-founded SAS Institute as a faculty member of North Carolina State University in 1976. Since then he has been the CEO for more than three decades. His leadership style and the work environment he created at SAS, now a multi-billion dollar company, have been studied by other businesses and by academics.

Early life and career[edit]

Goodnight was born to Albert Goodnight and Dorothy Patterson in Salisbury, NC, on January 6, 1943.[2] He lived in Greensboro, NC, until he was 12, when his family moved to Wilmington. In his youth, he often worked at his father's hardware store.[3] Mathematics and chemistry were Goodnight's strongest subjects in school, thanks in part, he says, to a "wonderful chemistry teacher" at New Hanover High School.[4]

Goodnight's career with computers began when he took a computer course his sophomore year at North Carolina State University. At the time, he said, “a light went on, and I fell in love with making machines do things for other people.” The following summer he got a job writing software programs for the agricultural economics department.[5] Goodnight is also a member of the social fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon.[6] With contributions from other alumni, Goodnight was responsible for the construction of a new fraternity house in 2002.[3]

Goodnight received a Master's in statistics in 1968.[3] While working on his Master's, his curiosity was piqued over the prospect of a man being sent to the moon. His programming skills helped him land a position at a company building electronic equipment for the ground stations that communicated with the Apollo space capsules.[7][8] While working on the Apollo program, Goodnight experienced a work environment that had an annual turnover rate of approximately 50 percent. This shaped his views on corporate culture and his future role as an employer.[8][9] Goodnight returned to North Carolina State University after working on the Apollo project. He earned a PhD in statistics with thesis titled Quadratic unbiased estimation of variance components in linear models with an emphasis on the one-way classification under the supervision of Robert James Monroe and became a faculty member from 1972 to 1976.[5]

Career[edit]

Main article: SAS Institute

Goodnight joined other faculty at North Carolina State in a research project to create a general purpose statistical analysis system (SAS) for analyzing agricultural data.[10] The project was operated by a consortium of eight land-grant universities and funded primarily by the USDA. Goodnight along with another faculty member Anthony James Barr became project leaders for the development of the early version of SAS.[11] When the software had 100 customers in 1976, Goodnight and three others from the University left the college to form SAS Institute[12][13] in an office across the street.[5]

Goodnight remained CEO of SAS Institute for more than 35 years as the company grew from $138,000 its first year in business, to $420 million in 1993 and $2.43 billion by 2010.[14] Under his leadership, the company grew each year.[15] Goodnight became known for creating and defending SAS’ corporate culture,[16] often described by the media as "utopian."[9][17] He rejected acquisition offers and chose against going public to protect the company's work environment.[2] Goodnight has maintained a flat organizational structure[18] with as many as 27 people who directly report to him. The result is a 5,000 employee business with only three organizational layers.[19]

Goodnight at the World Economic Forum in Cologny, Geneva.

HSM Global described Goodnight's leadership style in a framework of three pillars: "help employees do their best work by keeping them intellectually challenged and by removing distractions; Make managers responsible for sparking creativity; eliminate arbitrary distinctions between 'suits' and 'creatives'; Engage customers as creative partners to help deliver superior products."[20]

In 2004, Goodnight was named a Great American Business Leader by Harvard;[3] that same year he was named one of America's 25 Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs by Inc. Magazine.[21] He has also been a frequent speaker and participant at the World Economic Forum.[5]

Personal[edit]

Goodnight met his wife, Ann, while he was a senior at North Carolina State University and she was attending Meredith College. They have three children.[2] Goodnight was America's 43rd richest individual, with a net worth of approximately $7.3 billion, as of the end of 2011.[22]

Goodnight has an interest in improving the state of education, particularly elementary and secondary education.[3] In 1996, Goodnight and his wife, along with his business partner, John Sall and his wife Ginger, founded an independent prep school Cary Academy.[23] Both of the Goodnights are also involved in the local Cary, NC, community. He owns Prestonwood Country Club and The Umstead Hotel and Spa situated on the edge of the SAS campus.[24][25] His wife also opened, An Cuisines, an Asian fusion restaurant in Cary, NC.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "James Goodnight". Forbes. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Maney, Kevin (April 21, 2004). "SAS Workers Won When Greed Lost". USA Today. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Stamper, Jason (November 24, 2010). "SAS: It's a family affair". Computer Business Review. 
  4. ^ Crayton, Cherry. "Red & White for Life What does Roman Gabriel have to do with SAS?". Red & White for Life (North Carolina State University). 
  5. ^ a b c d Official biography, SAS Institute, retrieved December 13, 2012 
  6. ^ Tau Kappa Epsilon: Beta Beta Chapter, TKE Beta Chapter, retrieved December 18, 2102 
  7. ^ Raleigh News & Observer. "Ann and Jim Goodnight." December 31, 2006. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Stallard, Michael (June 18, 2010). "Has SAS Chairman Jim Goodnight Cracked the Code of Corporate Culture?". The Economic Times. Retrieved December 12, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Bankert, Ellen; Mary Dean Lee and Candice Lange, "SAS Institute: A case on the role of senior business leaders in driving work/life cultural change", The Wharton Work/Life Roundtable: A Division of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project (University of Pennsylvania), "SAS Institute has received considerable media attention for the "utopian" environment for which it has become known" 
  10. ^ Kaplan, David (January 22, 2010). "SAS: A new no. 1 best employer". Fortune. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  11. ^ SAS Institute FDA Intellectual Partnership for Efficient Regulated Research Data Archival and Analyses, Presented at Duke University, April 12, 2000, retrieved September 28, 2011 
  12. ^ Lohr, Steve (November 21, 2009). "At a Software Powerhouse, the Good Life Is Under Siege". The New York Times. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  13. ^ SAS corporate timeline, WRAL, March 3, 2011, retrieved October 17, 2011 
  14. ^ Corporate Statistics, SAS Institute, retrieved August 10, 2011 
  15. ^ Buchanan, Leigh (September 2011). "How SAS Continues to Grow". Inc. Magazine. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  16. ^ Hardy, Quentin (June 9, 2011). "SAS-We Spurned IBM, Now to Win". Forbes. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  17. ^ Shivapriya, N (September 25, 2008). "SAS Steams Along as Unlisted Firms Amid US Financial Chaos". The Economic Times. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  18. ^ Fishman, Charles (December 31, 1998). "Sanity Inc". Fast Company. 
  19. ^ Joel, Kurtzman. "An Interview with Jeffrey Pfeffer". Strategy+Business. 
  20. ^ Building a Winning Corporate Culture – Jim Goodnight and SAS, HSM Global 
  21. ^ Fenn, Donna. "James Goodnight, SAS". Inc. Magazine. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  22. ^ "James Goodnight". The Forbes 400 Richest People in America. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  23. ^ SAS Institute CEO Jim Goodnight on Building Strong Companies – and a More Competitive U.S. Workforce, Knowledge@Wharton, January 5, 2011, retrieved December 12, 2012 
  24. ^ "Citizen Goodnight". Raleigh News and Observer. July 21, 1996. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  25. ^ "The Umstead Hotel, Umstead Spa, And Herons Offer Five Star Luxury In The Triangle". The Raleigh Telegram. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  26. ^ "Ann Goodnight planning upscale restaurant near hotel". Triangle Business Journal. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

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