Take Five is an ongoing RBTC question and answer series where we glean insights from local CEOs and technology leaders.
We recently talked with Adam Ernest, co-founder and CEO of Follow My Vote. Focused on improving the integrity standards of voting systems used in elections worldwide, Follow My Vote develops end-2-end verifiable online voting software with the goal of empowering individuals to communicate effectively and to implement non-coercive solutions to societal problems.
RBTC: What are some of the regional resources that have contributed to your success?
Adam: NuSpark, a startup space located in Blacksburg dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs turn ideas into businesses, was truly instrumental to our success at Follow My Vote. They gave us dedicated office space and a place to call home when we needed it most.
RBTC: What makes the Roanoke-Blacksburg region such a good fit for your company?
Adam: Upon graduating from Virginia Tech, it had always been my dream to return to Blacksburg and start a business, allowing me to recruit top talent from my alma mater and give back to the surrounding community in any way that I can.
RBTC: If you could give one piece of advice to a fellow entrepreneur, what would it be?
Adam: Be a visionary leader. Be passionate about what you do and surround yourself with people that share your passion and belief in your vision for the future of your business.
RBTC: What is one lesson you have learned over time that has made an impact on your business’ day-to-day operations?
Adam: A good manager should focus on what’s really important. I have found it best to focus less on what time your employees get to work in the morning and more on whether or not they get the job done before they leave the office for the night.
RBTC: How would you like to see the Roanoke-Blacksburg region develop over the next 5 years?
Adam: I think we all should strive to support local businesses, as opposed to large corporations, even if it is not always most cost effective to do so. What I would really like to see is for us to become much more of a self-sustaining community, especially when it comes to energy and food production.