| WMU News
KALAMAZOO, Mich.--A global leader and visionary for an innovative technology company is featured next in Western Michigan University's 2014-15 Distinguished Speaker Series, hosted by the Haworth College of Business.
Brian Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of OtterBox, will present "Growing up Otter: Education, Opportunity and Giving Back" at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, in Room 2000 of Schneider Hall. The talk will be followed by a question-and-answer period.
The event is free and open to the public. To register or obtain more information, go to wmich.edu/business/dss-rsvp or contact Cyntia Reeves at firstname.lastname@example.org or (269) 387-5069. Free parking is available by Schneider Hall in lot 72R.
When Thomas joined OtterBox in 2003, the company was a niche business selling waterproof boxes, fly fishing cases and cigar travel humidors. Shortly after, OtterBox began developing interactive protection for PDAs and tablet computers for Hewlett Packard, Fijitsu, Palm, the U.S. government and the very first Apple iPods.
After quickly realizing the potential to branch out into the consumer electronics market, Thomas was promoted to director of sales and marketing. In that role, he led the transition into the smartphone industry, creating premium protective smartphone solutions for Apple, RIM, Nokia, Samsung, HTC and other firms.
Thomas' leadership abilities, dedication and vision resulted in him being promoted to his current position as CEO. During his tenure, OtterBox has grown from a $2 million startup to a company with more $1 billion in annual sales and nearly 1,000 employees worldwide.
Prior to joining OtterBox, Thomas served as a lead account manager to Honda Manufacturing for Magna International and launched the company's first aftermarket accessory. His background also includes teaching high school in northern Colorado, where he worked with at-risk students.
Thomas earned a bachelor's degree in industrial marketing and manufacturing engineering technology from WMU and a secondary teaching certificate in biology from Colorado State University. True to the OtterBox culture of work hard, play hard, he and his wife enjoy being active and spending time outdoors with their son.
For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.