We sat down with Bill Cole, MAK’s President and CEO, to ask him a few questions as he nears his two-year anniversary with MAK. Read about his impact on MAK over the past two years, the evolution and direction of the industry and MAK’s corresponding trajectory, as well as a few thoughts on how MAK is handling the new world in the times of COVID.
The team was tremendously talented before I arrived, so I can’t take all the credit for the past two years of success! MAK already had all the right ingredients - great people making great products supporting great customers. The fact that we’ve been able to grow during a pandemic while keeping our customer-obsessed attitude is something that I am very proud of and think it speaks volumes of this team.
My role has been to encourage and support the team as they reach for bigger and more challenging opportunities - we can never be afraid to grow the company. We should always be thinking of new and better ways to approach challenges and try for bigger opportunities, and I’m here to help pave the way for that.
Our customers want to do more than they’ve ever done before, so our software has to do more to keep our customers competitive. They want their projects to be more scalable and connected, with increased performance. Our customers in the industry are growing, and MAK is evolving to help them find success as they expand at any phase of their projects.
We’ll see the simulation and training industry continue trending toward increased scalability, performance, and greater fidelity. We’ll also see a continued need for greater integration of simulation with live training, virtual reality, and mixed reality - we’ve seen it with the Air Force and Army, and I think we’ll see more of it with the other services. More broadly, our government customers are coalescing toward common components and centralized common architectures, while system integrators are focused on winning today’s programs with an emphasis on simulation performance.
We are evolving both in program development expertise and in our pricing models. Everyone knows MAK for our suite of software tools that work well together and on their own, but I’m excited that we’re growing our internal capabilities and our team to include large-scale program management - it’s adding a really useful arrow to our quiver by making us a better solution provider for end users and a better partner to our big system integrator customers.
COVID is always top of mind these days. I think that business-wise, MAK has weathered the storm well. It’s partly due to our industry and partly because we already had a relatively high number of remote employees before COVID. We already had methods in place for our engineers and staff to work offsite, particularly around our culture of remote participation in meetings. We were able to grow those and establish new types of processes across the business during this pandemic, and I think it has helped us manage well. I also have enjoyed supporting the MAK team as they come up with new ways to support our customers during COVID - from 30-day free licenses to offering evaluations of MAK products via the cloud. It’s a challenging time for everyone, so I feel fortunate to be part of a team that cares.