Raymond T. Hightower founded and ran a technology company, WisdomGroup, for twenty-one years before selling the company to 8th Light in 2016. Today, Hightower combines his technical and business skills to drive sales at 8th Light.
Hightower is the creator of several tech conferences, including WindyCityRails. He served as lead organizer of ChicagoRuby from 2007 to 2017. Hightower is a perpetual student, currently exploring parallelism, quantum computing, and IoT. He travels the world speaking on technology and business growth.
Early in his career, Hightower worked in software development for Hewlett Packard, technical sales for IBM, and commercial real estate for Marcus & Millichap. He studied Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and completed his BS in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Hightower launched WisdomGroup as a network consultancy in 1994. He earned the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification and pulled the company into the Microsoft Certified Solution Provider (MCSP) ecosystem. Later, as the open source movement gained momentum, Hightower steered the company away from networking and toward software development with open source tools such as Ruby on Rails.
After the pivot to software development, WisdomGroup completed web and mobile projects in multiple industries: healthcare, financial services, high performance computing, e-commerce, travel, event management, and not-for-profit. Each successful project led to larger opportunities and a stronger reputation for the company, culminating in the acquisition by 8th Light in 2016.
Hightower is a scuba diver, marathon runner, skier, Eagle Scout, Assistant Scoutmaster, and world traveler. He has visited every state in the USA and most continents on planet Earth.
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Photo by Chris Peak.