A wrestler-turned-IT-leader, avid fisherman and handyman, musician and businessowner, Carl Roedel, Co-Founder and CEO of Future Link defies categorization. He brings years of software and sales experience to Future Link’s leadership team—and the creative problem-solving and competitive entrepreneurial spirit that is in his DNA.
“We lived all over,” Carl said. “I was born in Louisiana; my brother was born in France. We lived in New York, New Jersey, Chicago… Dad was in the military, then climbing the corporate ladder, so there was lots of travel growing up.” By necessity, Carl had to quickly adapt to each new environment and connect with a new group of people.
Carl got into software sales after college. At the University at Buffalo (SUNY), he was a starter all 4 years on the wrestling team. “In my mind, I was there to wrestle. I started taking engineering classes my freshman year on my father’s recommendation.”
Programming was a pre-requisite to take engineering. Programming, it turns out, fit the way his brain worked. (His gift is translating it for the rest of us.) “That first programming class was easy for me, and hard for everyone else. That was why I switched majors.”
“Back in college, there weren’t PCs really—you had a modem and a terminal,” he chuckled, reminiscing. Carl had found his academic home. Programmers’ culture, however… not so much.
“I was a competitive athlete. I didn’t blend in with the other programmers, so I focused on the business side of IT, eventually majoring in Business MIS with a Computer Science minor.” MIS stands for Management Information Systems.
Once he’d earned his business degree, Carl was deciding whether to become a programmer or a salesman. He pursued the more lucrative opportunity, working in sales for a software company until “it got to the point, I knew I could do it without them. I started my own business, owning software consulting businesses in multiple forms for about 10 years – Crystal Communications and then Support Systems.”
“Carl had just gotten married,” Marty Mingl, President and Co-Founder of Future Link remembered. “He had been working out of his home at the time. I think he figured he needed to work a little harder,” with a growing family to support.
“I sold Macola software, an ERP and business software,” Carl explained. It was exactly the software that MSI (the frontrunner to Future Link, that Marty managed) had licensed to sell—but which none of their sales people had yet had the time to master.
Carl contacted MSI, along with a couple other Macola customers, to say that he was available to help them sell the software. He received several job offers. “I decided to go with Marty.”
Carl’s prowess as a salesperson comes from a combination of skill sets: he has the business degree and experience, as well as the in-depth IT and programming training. He can relate to the customer’s problems, as a businessowner and entrepreneur himself, as well as relate to the programmers who create the solutions to the customer’s problems. Carl bridges communications between the two.
Carl continues to pursue multiple interests outside the tech world. “He likes the outdoors, to hunt and play golf and fish,” Marty shared.
“I was pretty heavy into tournament fishing until I had kids,” Carl said. “It was a lot of fun, but there’s not a lot of money in it,” he explained. He still fishes competitively from time to time and placed second in a tournament only a couple weeks before this article. “Future Link has its own fishing tournament, in its 4th year: The Future Link Open. We have a trophy that passes from winner to winner—each one has to add something to the trophy.”
Carl is a musician, too; he plays the guitar daily and taught himself the harmonica. “I sang with a band for 5 years.” His current creative project is building a lake house, a weekend getaway for his family in Wisconsin. Carl, in fact, did a lot of the construction work for the offices that Future Link now occupies, by his own hand. “Sweat equity,” he grinned.
Carl now spends most of his free time with his wife and two girls. “The oldest is turning out to be quite the athlete so we spend a lot of time going to softball and volleyball tournaments,” he added.
Carl translates business problems into a solution. He understands all the parts and pieces—the underlying data, the business logic, how programming affects everything else—“so we can get the software to do something it wasn’t doing,” that the client needs.
Marty and Carl opened Future Link of Illinois, Inc. in 2002 and have been providing IT support for businesses ever since. Put their expertise (50 years’ worth, combined) to work for you. Schedule a call with one of our experts to get started today.