Visionary business leader sees software firm’s future as a powerful global technology firm
GAINESVILLE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Optym, a privately-held world leader in new-generation optimization software solutions, has appointed Dallas-based Vic Keller as chief executive officer. Ravi Ahuja, Ph.D., founder of Optym has been appointed to chief science officer. These changes were effective Nov. 4, 2019. For over 20 years, Keller has established, grown and operationally optimized national and international companies. Keller was appointed to the Optym board of directors in July 2019.
Since 2000, Optym has created the most innovative global optimization software in the market. By using its novel optimization intelligence solutions for planning, scheduling and real-time execution, companies have reduced operational costs, increased profitability and improved service quality. Optym’s advanced algorithm-based technology has applications in numerous sectors, including automotive, defense, energy, finance and health care.
“Vic is the right person to lead Optym given his strong leadership and breadth of business experience,” said Ravi Ahuja, Ph.D., founder and chief science officer of Optym. “Under Vic’s leadership, Optym will augment its superior software development capabilities with leading sales and marketing strategies and enter into new industry verticals. Together, we will grow Optym exponentially. While I will focus on science, Vic will focus on the business, and this marriage of science and business will create extraordinary products.” “It is an honor to take on the leadership of one of the most innovative global technology companies,” said Vic Keller, CEO and shareholder of Optym. “The opportunity to work alongside Dr. Ahuja, one of the foremost algorithm scientists in the world, is exciting and is a tremendous privilege. Dr. Ahuja and our talented team of scientists continue to build powerful and complex algorithms that drive our software, delivering transformative solutions for Fortune 500 companies across the globe.” Keller continued, “We are on our way to building Optym into a multibillion-dollar enterprise. With world population growing and consumption per capita increasing every year, our assets and resources are more constrained than ever. It is our social responsibility to use our precious assets and resources most efficiently – this is also Optym’s mission and we do that through the use of leading-edge optimization intelligence. As we engineer our future, we look forward to delivering even more useful optimization intelligence to the world. The potential positive impact on business is tremendous.”
Most recently, Keller founded KLV Capital, a Dallas based private equity firm. Previously, he founded the ZAK Automotive Companies, which included ZAK products, a professional-use automotive chemical company that was an official partner of NASCAR; ZAKTEK, an insurance services company; and NEXEMO, a business to business e-commerce purchasing platform for the automotive industry.
In 2015, after Berkshire Hathaway Inc. acquired the ZAK Automotive Companies, Keller continued as CEO. In addition, he formally assumed senior executive responsibilities for Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, where he oversaw several operating departments in the multibillion-dollar organization, including the parts and service business. Keller also developed and led the Berkshire Hathaway Automotive professional development department, which provided training, talent acquisition, sales strategy, customer experience and dealer academy services to more than 10,000 associates.
Dr. Ahuja, an academician turned entrepreneur, founded Optym in 2000 and served as its CEO until recently. In an academic career spanning over 35 years, he has taught at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and the Sloan School of Management at MIT; He is currently a professor emeritus at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He is the coauthor of three textbooks including “Network Flows: Theory, Algorithms and Applications,” and over 100 research papers in optimization, mathematical modeling and algorithms. He has contributed significantly to the theory and application of network optimization, and his research papers and books are widely cited. He has received several prestigious awards for his books and research papers.
While doing research for transportation and logistics companies, Dr. Ahuja discovered a big disconnect between academics and industry practice. He observed that advances taking place in optimization and computer science weren’t benefitting the transportation and logistics industry, which continued to use rudimentary techniques. Determined to change that, he founded Optym to bring the latest advances from theory to business. He continues to play a key role in Optym’s evolution from a local start-up to a global provider for decision automation and optimization solutions.
Optym has developed software solutions for some of the most complex problems in transportation, including determining airlines’ most profitable flight schedules, calculating railroads’ train schedules that increase network capacity, and optimizing the routing plans for less-than-truckload companies to reduce their drivers’ cost. Optym’s clients include customers such as Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), easyJet (NYSE: ESYJY), YRC Worldwide (NYSE: YRCW), BHP Group (NYSE: BHP), CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX) and BNSF Railway. Optym’s software has created value in tens to hundreds of millions of dollars annually for its clients.
Optym’s global headquarters is located on a 10-acre campus in Gainesville, Fla., with additional offices in Yerevan, Armenia; Bangalore, India; and Perth, Australia.