From Presidents and Makeup to Bibles and Beer: Redmon Brings Technology to the World
by Kristin White, MBA ’95
Five years ago, John Redmon feared his cats would continue to scare away clients. Today, the cats stay at home, and Redmon thinks more pleasing clients such as the White House, the United Nations, IBM, LORAL Federal Systems, the National Cancer Institute, the National Library of Medicine, the World Bank, Dreyfus, Pitney Bowes, Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard, and the Discovery Channel.
Redmon, who earned a BA in economics in 1988 and an MBA in 1990 from George Mason, founded his own multimedia development firm in 1990 after working on a United Nations technology project with Dr. Stephen Ruth, Professor of Decision Science and MIS. According to Redmon, Ruth’s encouragement and the experience he gained as a graduate student sparked his entrepreneurial drive and prompted him to start Redmon Group Inc. (RGI).
As Redmon explains, RGI had “humble beginnings,” operating out of his apartment in its early days. “My future wife joined me after RGI’s first year, and we soon found our home turning into an office. It became crowded quickly, and our cats had a habit of jumping on our clients,” Redmon said. “In fact, it scared one potential client away. So, we finally moved into a real office in Old Town Alexandria.”
Now, with nine full-time employees, RGI is producing CD-ROMs, touch screen kiosk systems, computer-based training programs, marketing presentation programs, and productivity software for an array of commercial, federal, international, and university clients. Some of RGI’s recent projects include the development of:
- two CD-ROMs for the White House, showcasing environmental success stories and activities in federal agencies. (In April, Vice President Al Gore introduced these CDs to the nation at a ceremony in Boston as part of Earth Week ’95.);
- a Windows program for the United Nations which assists 132 developing countries in submitting financial aid requests to the United Nations Headquarters. (This is a continuing project which RGI is working on with Ruth);
- a CD-ROM for the Discovery Channel entitled “The Beer Hunter with Michael Jackson,” which focuses on the renaissance of microbreweries in the United States. (This CD is now on store shelves.);
- a CD-ROM with interactive product information for Hewlett-Packard’s sales representatives to distribute;
- a CD-ROM press kit and World Wide Web home page for the Discovery Channel;
- interactive touch-screen kiosk systems with IBM for use in retail stores at shopping malls;
- multimedia presentation programs to help LORAL Federal Systems fulfill a 10-year contract with the United States Army; and,
- computer-based training applications for the National Institute of Health (NIH) to assist college students in accessing NIH’s online databases.
Another interesting RGI project involved the creation of a multimedia Bible, which Redmon dubbed “an innovative approach to educating people about the Bible and religious issues.” It included both audio and video testimonials of famous people and was divided into topics like anger, cheating, and sex which, according to Ruth, tend to catch users’ attention.
Many clients, like the Discovery Channel, have developed relationships with Redmon and rehired RGI for additional projects. Redmon says these companies have been pleased with RGI’s on-time delivery, an attribute which some multimedia firms have trouble reaching.
In addition to its numerous commercial and governmental projects, RGI has also worked with faculty and students from GMU’s business school during the past three years to develop multimedia touch screen kiosk systems such as the Student Fiscal Affairs kiosk, the Institute of Public Policy’s Mason Rider Commuter kiosk, and the School of Business kiosk. “From my own experience at GMU, I am convinced that giving students the opportunity to gain real-world experience and skills while in school will empower them to do great things,” Redmon said. “That’s how I got my start.”
As a student at GMU, Redmon lived on campus, served as Student Government Treasurer, and received the John C. Wood Scholarship from the university’s alumni office. He said his interest in technology and multimedia is directly related to his consulting experiences with Ruth and Dr. Rajendra Sisodia’s entrepreneurial spirit.
As an alumni and business professional, Redmon served as an adjunct lecturer at GMU from 1991 to 1993 and continues to hold active university affiliations through the Century Club and the business school’s Task Force. Recently, he participated on a committee which investigated how universities and industry can better work together to accomplish similar goals.
Redmon’s advice to current students is simple:
- Learn to write accurately and persuasively.
- Polish your presentation skills.
- Acquire computer skills.
Redmon believes that with these skills and a hunger for success GMU graduates will continue to make names for themselves in the business world. Given his personal success with RGI in the multimedia industry, this advice may be worth following.
For information about RGI contact Redmon at .