Position: President, Group 1 Software, a subsidiary of Pitney Bowes Inc. based in Lanham that develops software to improve customer communications.

Career Highlights: Vice president of sales and customer development, document messaging technologies, Pitney Bowes; and, co-founder, MailCode, provider of mail processing systems.

Age: 38.

Education: BS, electrical engineering technology, Purdue University.

Personal: Lives in Annapolis with his wife, DeAnn, and their son Ethan.

How did you get to where you are?

My career started in high school writing software for a local entrepreneur. Upon graduation from Purdue in 1989, we started the business MailCode. One of the early lessons I learned is when you have the opportunity to get equity in a business, take the opportunity even when it provides hardships in the short-term. So I had equity in the business and we slowly grew the business up to $4 million in sales when we sold it in 1997. It took us eight years to grow. It takes a lot of energy and focus to make a small company succeed. But when you stick with it, the equity rewarded can be significant. I re-acquired the company a year later, and grew the company from $4 million in revenue to $28 million in three years. And that's when Pitney Bowes approached us.

It acquired us in two pieces and finalized the transaction in 2002. I stayed on running the business and continued in the role as president of MailCode.

Pitney was very focused on career development. They offered me the vice president of sales and customer development position about nine months after the close of the transaction. There was a moment for me when I had to decide, "Do I want to move my family to take a sales leadership job?" What was significant for me was that there was just as much learning in big, publicly traded corporations as there was in running a small business. There are very bright people in public corporations. That's what makes them successful.

When you're an entrepreneur you tend to think you know everything. But there is so much to learn from the publicly traded Fortune 250 big corporations that I encourage entrepreneurs to learn both sides, both small and large businesses. You can only learn so much when running your own company. There is no outside talent. You hit a stagnation point eight to nine years into the business because you're at the top and no one is challenging you, especially if you're successful. I think I found it to be very rewarding to make the leap from a small to large business to keep learning.

I was vice president for two and half years. It gave me the opportunity to earn my stripes with revenue in excess of $100 million. My goals were to learn big business as well as I learned small business. I would consider myself in the middle of achieving that second objective.

-- Judith Mbuya

Chris Baker