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How did Progress celebrate 40 years as a software company? We got to know the people who shaped the company and the philosophy that keeps us thriving today.
Today is the 40th birthday for Progress. All year, we’ve relived and celebrated our past and where it’s taken us. We’ve put together interviews and timelines, a public web page, a special internal scrapbook for employees, had a special appreciation concert for customers, partners and employees, and even rang the bell at Nasdaq.
As a software company started by four visionaries with a simple goal to create a better way to build applications, Progress has stood the test of time not just by being innovative, but by focusing on the most important resource we have—our people.
In an ever-changing digital world, how has Progress evolved and outlasted other software companies?
To answer that, we looked back to the beginning, heard from the people who have been here the longest and searched for the essential ingredients that make us ProgressPROUD.
Here are some highlights of the year.
Co-founder and former CEO Joseph Alsop joined CEO Yogesh Gupta for a memorable fireside chat discussing the past, present and future of Progress. Other executives, including former SVP of Human Resources Joe Andrews, former CMO Jennifer Smith, and former CFO Bud Robertson also stopped by to talk about their time at Progress with the people serving in the same roles currently.
The discussions were frank, funny, touching and insightful.
Watch the interview with Joe and Yogesh below.
Watch more of our 40th Anniversary videos here on YouTube.
Progress not only celebrated 40 years as a company in 2021, we also celebrated 30 years on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Ringing the bell at Nasdaq was one of the coolest moments of the year.
Check out our highlight video of the event below.
During the year, we featured interviews with 10 employees. These Q&As offered insights not just into what makes Progress a great place to work, but what gives us staying power. These longtime employees, ranging in tenure from 15 to an amazing 35 years, shared personal stories about their time here and their growth as individuals.
Here are some highlights:
Leah DePolo — “Those of us who have been with the company for a long time have had the pleasure of seeing our coworkers families grow up around Progress. We’ve had children come to our annual Halloween parties, and then later come back to work the party as adults. I have so many cherished memories of working with great people and getting to really know them.”
Shelley Chase — “(Progress co-founder Mary Székely) was a genius in technology but also a down-to-earth person, who cared about and respected everyone. She had a way of explaining complex concepts so they were easy to understand. … Mary also exemplified the job of everyone at Progress was to do the right thing for the customer, always.”
Lori Parente — “There were so many ‘firsts’ that I experienced within the company’s growth, and in the world. I am married for over 31 years, and have three children in their mid-20s. After managing the sales admin team, Progress gave me flexibility to work part-time for several years so I wouldn’t miss out. I could support my family values and still contribute daily activity. Progress is part of me.”
Tim Sargent — “There were only around 40-50 people when I started (in 1987) and only 12 in product development. But I’d say that culturally, it hasn’t changed much. There’s always been this great pride in our work and real devotion to our customers—the premise has been their success is our success.”
Stephan Leferink — “(My favorite memory at Progress is) achieving Circle of Excellence for sales and specifically going to Puerto Rico, where I asked my wife, Anne-Marie, to marry me. That was 26 years ago. We are still very happily married. We even had the chance to go back to Puerto Rico a few years ago to the same hotel on another COE trip to relive the memory.”
Rumen Zhekov — “We’re currently working with customers and partners like NASA, Microsoft, Boeing and others, and it is a great honor to have this opportunity and to be on top of the technology wave.”
Cammy Choy — “I am very lucky to have known many good coworkers and to have worked under several great managers while at Progress. I’ve learned a lot from the people in the Hong Kong office and Singapore office, and have had the chance to communicate with different presales in the U.S. and EMEA.”
Prasanna Anireddy — “The Family Day events that we have each year in Hyderabad top the chart. These non-stop entertaining events have our CEO and other senior executives joining the Hyderabad team and their families. We get to meet the families of Progressers, and over the years you build great bonds.”
Nassim Fotouhi — “I have had many colleagues that have been my friends, mentors, and family. Among them are my boss until early 2017, Biao Wang, my dear friend Lora Power (who also left in early 2017), her brother Earl Power, and many more.”
Brent Adonis — “Being selected Software Engineer of the Year was not only a massive surprise, but probably one of my proudest work experiences. … During the awards dinner I was listening to them read out this report, and with each paragraph they would reveal more clues (about who it was). I was still surprised it was me.”
Watch our 40th anniversary panel discussion below.
I have worked for a tech startup, a 10-year-old tech company, a prestigious 149-year-old newspaper and one of largest media companies in the world that employs more than 20,000 people.
But I’ve never worked at a place like Progress. The success of Progress comes from one word: family. Talented people who have been empowered to do extraordinary work right from the start—from Mary Székely’s dining room table to a global operation.
So, here’s to an extraordinary past, an exceptional present, an exciting future, and most of all, an enduring legacy.
Happy birthday, Progress.
Dave Pierce strives to be a writer’s writer, an editor’s editor, and a marketer’s marketer. An award-winning journalist formerly of The Boston Globe, Dave combines his love of SEO, content management and social media with his passion for storytelling. At Progress, he manages, writes and optimizes content. Dave lives in New Hampshire with his wife and teenage daughters. You may find him at Northeastern University hockey games on the weekends from October to March. You can find him on LinkedIn every day.
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