Jonathan McCottry discovered his love of technology when he was seven years old and saw the inside of his father’s computer for the first time. How could that jumble of cables and plaques create everything imaginable? He played, investigated, learned… At age 11 he was building simple programs, at 15 his applications had a concrete use, and at 19 he created his own technology consulting company. Today, at 32, he has sold his company and dedicates his time to his foundation, which helps small businesses in his community, and in his free time advises other entrepreneurs. While he says he is “half retired,” in reality what he’s doing is enjoying his work more than ever.
Chief Technology Officer
“I’d say that my life and professional career have been very unconventional.”
That’s how the interview began with Jonathan McCottry, nominated for the EPIC Awards in the Human Success category. And it’s true: at age 19 he created his own tech consulting firm, and today, at 32, he has sold it and helps others grow and fulfill their dreams. Although he jokes that he is “half retired”, he enjoys what he does more than ever and admits that he has “the best job in the world.”
Jonathan was born in Florida, one of 10 brothers and sisters, and thanks to them, he says, he has become the person he is today.
“I’ve always had a very strong work ethic, following the example of my parents, and my love for other people comes from my grandmother. Her influence has helped me to follow my own road and they have been the model I’ve followed,” Jonathan explains.
Indeed, he discovered his passion for technology while trying the “rip apart” his father’s computer when he was only seven years old. “The idea that that beautiful machine could create almost anything fascinated me then and still does,” he recalls. And so he made a habit of playing with computers and learning how they work. At the age of 11 he was already capable of writing simple programs, and at 15 he created real applications.
A professor recognized his talent and encouraged him to create his own consulting tech firm when he was 19. One of his first clients was the US government. Little by little it grew, and he added people to his team. In 10 years there were 57 employees, 22 subcontractors and five subsidiary companies, and they were working on four continents. “Our business consisted of working with local and foreign governments to help them prepare for the introduction or increased presence of commercial and technological companies like law firms, hospitals or shops, by improvement and training in software, data analysis, business processes…”, he explains.
He also decided to earn an MBA at IE. “I was looking for professors I could talk to about current trends and business and technology,” he says. And so, at age 29 and still without a university degree, he became the youngest student at the time to be accepted in IE’s MBA program. A week before flying to Madrid he graduated in Computer Sciences, thus making good on the promise to his mother that he would earn a university degree.
But at 30 he left it all and sold his company. He set a new course in life, dedicating himself body and soul to the foundation that bears his name. It attempts to “help organizations that work diligently and tirelessly to improve the quality of life of families. Each trimester we focus on a different social issue (homelessness, re-employment, young people…) and work with organizations to find solutions,” Jonathan explains.
Likewise, in his free time he has become the business angel of some small companies, works as an executive consultant, and is studying for his doctorate degree in Management of Technological Operations.
Thus, at 32, Jonathan McCottry has “half retired” but, as he himself puts it, is still occupied with the foundation and several commercial enterprises.” An unordinary life for an extraordinary person.
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