A look at the people behind the numbers in area business.
Title: President and chief operating officer
Brian Bell brings high-flying cockpit and corporate experience to his new role as president and chief operating officer at fast-growing Code 42 Software, the Minneapolis-based backup solutions developer.
Bell flew F-16s as a captain in the Air Force, where he spent nine years before moving into the data-storage industry. His tech career has included serving as vice president of global sales at what is now Dell Compellent, the Eden Prairie-based data-storage company acquired last year after years of high growth.
At Code 42, Bell is focusing on expanding global sales of the company's CrashPlan backup software and on scaling operations and services to keep up with the company's rapid growth. The company has expanded from 85 employees in January, when it closed on $52 million in venture financing, to 140 and growing today.
The CrashPlan line includes on-site, off-site and offline backup products for consumers, small- and medium-sized business and large enterprises. More than 4,500 companies and organizations use CrashPlan's enterprise solution, including Adobe, Google, NASA, National Geographic, Salesforce.com and Stanford University.
"We have large expectations for ourselves," Bell said. "We talk about continuing to scale our business here in the United States and globally to different markets."
Bell most recently served as executive director of U.S. sales of enterprise storage at Dell, which acquired Compellent last year for $960 million. Before that he was an executive at Storage Networks, a publicly held tech company.
Code 42 recently was named to the 2012 Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest-growing private companies, listed at 313 overall and 28 in software based on percentage of revenue growth from 2008 through 2011.
Q What similarities are there between flying an F-16 and leading a tech company?
A People who work in high-growth tech companies have very similar traits to the people I flew with in the Air Force. Very mission-oriented. There's this sense of we're all in it together, a real connection to the goals of the organization.
Q How much did the venture financing add to your interest in the opportunity at Code 42?
A You can grow great companies without that kind of capital. But that kind of capital, if it's wisely spent, really allows an organization to do some large investments much faster. It's just a bit of a war chest to work from. It was definitely interesting.
Q Do you do any flying today?
A Just in the back seat, getting my work done. I am kind of an action-adventure addict, I guess. I do motocross with my sons and do a lot of alpine skiing, a lot of back-country skiing.