Greg Owens, IM 1982, is chairman and CEO of IronPlanet and chairman of the Scheller College of Business's Advisory Board.
(published August 2008)
Greg Owens, IM 1982, thinks of his impressive career history like a book – one that he's still writing.
Last year, he opened a new chapter when he became chairman and CEO of IronPlanet, the world's leading online auction company for used construction and agricultural equipment like dozers, trucks, compacters, and cranes.
In 2008, he also began a new chapter in his long-term relationship with Georgia Tech, becoming chairman of the Scheller College of Business's Advisory Board, a two-year appointment.
Owens says he is extremely excited about both opportunities.
"IronPlanet is really one of those disruptive technologies that changes the way business is done," Owens says. "Our largest competitor is still a physical auction house that holds regional auctions on a quarterly basis."
In the virtual realm, IronPlanet is able to accommodate buyers and sellers around the world in biweekly online auctions that typically draw 12,000 visitors.
"Being on the Internet has facilitated much greater participation from an auction standpoint, driving prices higher for the seller and making it a better business model for all involved," Owens explains.
Growing at a rate of nearly 100 percent, IronPlanet will likely have an IPO in late 2009, he says.
Owens is also pleased with the continual growth of the Scheller College of Business's international reputation. A member of the College's Advisory Board for most of the past decade, he has demonstrated his support of the school in numerous ways, including creation of the Gregory J. Owens Term Professorship last year.
"Georgia Tech has been absolutely instrumental in my career," Owens says. "It taught me how to problem solve effectively, breaking things down into manageable pieces, and I've applied that knowledge to my business."
After graduating from Tech, Owens began his career in logistics consulting for a small firm in Atlanta before moving to Accenture, where he worked for 10 years. He rose to global managing partner for Accenture's Supply Chain Management Practice, building an extensive list of Fortune 500 companies as clients.
Then in 1999, Owens became CEO of Manugistics, a provider of supply-chain and revenue-management solutions. Within a year Owens was chairman as well, steering the company into a period of remarkable growth recognized by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.
After JDA Software acquired Manugistics in 2005, Owens took a little time to engage in favorite activities like boating and skiing before returning to work with a private equity fund, Red Zone Capital.
"My best days at Red Zone involved meeting with management teams to discuss operations," he says. "I decided I wanted to run a company again, so I started looking around and fell in love with the business model of IronPlanet. It's a convergence of the old economy and the new economy through the Internet."