David Martin ’89

Major: Interdisciplinary

Business name:

MˆCAM, Charlottesville, Va.; founded in 1997.

Business description:

Engineers and sells products and services to verify the uniqueness, risks and commercial use of intellectual property.

On the spirit of entrepreneurship:

“I lost my legs in a very serious accident. I learned a lot of skills about adapting to life’s circumstances when you go from being an athlete – a runner for the Goshen College track team – to a wheelchair. It has a way of teaching you an awful lot about life.

“I think that the ability to be extremely confident in the mission that you have taken on and the ability to see the mission, in spite of all the obstacles, is really a critical success factor. And I think another is a bit of tenacity.

“MˆCAM does something that hasn’t been done before, and is bringing the gold standard into an arena that never had one. When one can measure and audit that which was intangible – unmeasurable and unauditable – a sea change occurs. Given that MˆCAM has developed the ability to be the rating agency to assess the business and financial risk of assets in a knowledge economy, all traditional service providers and practitioners, those who have lived up to this time without any audit, are necessarily affected. Many of them mount a concerted effort to stifle reform and change. A few embrace the changing winds. As with any evolutionary process, certain legacy constituents find their ‘high priest’ status no longer relevant. But this is not new. The same thing occurred when civilization realized that it was the shadow of the moon that made an eclipse, not some giant serpent taking a bite out of the sun! I’m sure, back then, it was a bad day to be an astrologer!

“We get to interact with both business and public policy makers as a normal course of business, which [is] quite enjoyable but that can also make it frustrating, because anytime that you are dealing with changing paradigms you have obviously a considerable amount of resistance to change and that is something that takes a long time and a lot of effort. That is probably the greatest enjoyment and the greatest frustration.”