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Alumni-Run Software Company Owners Share the Value of the St. John’s Education

MICUA Matters Newsletter

Winter 2019

 

Johanna Wilson and Richard Smith met during their first freshman seminar at St. John’s College. Now, they’ve been married for 25 years and for 17 years have co-run their own software company, Annapolis-based OpenPath Products, one of the biggest employers of Johnnies in the country.

“We’re a technology company, and our business depends on our ability to innovate and sometimes even to disrupt, “ Smith explains. “I think Johnnies are really good at seeing patterns and predicting trends and tend to be unafraid to think differently and to innovate. Bringing in that St. John’s mentality has been key in many ways to our success.”

Wilson says that over the years, about 27 percent of new hires at the couple’s company have been St. John’s graduates. Currently, seven of their 35 staff members are Johnnies, found through recommendations from tutors and current employees, their website, and the occasional Johnnie Jobs Facebook posting.

“The nice thing about Johnnies … is that they’re also free thinkers and, to some extent, unpredictable, “ Smith adds.

“We want people to bring in fresh ideas and find new ways they can help improve our company and our customers’ lives. [Our] ’secret sauce’ continues to be communication, innovation, and the respectful exchange of ideas. These are values we learned at St. John’s and which continue to serve us every day. This is why SJC-educated engineers are so valuable to our team and to our continued growth. “