Huntsman Alumni Magazine Fall 2012

Fall 2012

Alum Blake Kirby is Blasting into Tomorrow

A few years after Blake Kirby graduated with an accounting degree (’91), he invested in a small firm called Inovar that was working out of a converted garage in Hyrum. The business had revenue of $1 million per year and employed 20 people.

That was in 1998. The firm merged with Independent Witness, Inc., in 2007, and was renamed inthinc. Today Kirby is the president and CEO of inthinc, a company with $80 million in annual revenue and 350 employees, operating out of a 20,000-square-foot facility in Logan.

The company now makes 500 different products each month, including a missile guidance system for General Dynamics and a device used by the U.S. Air Force to communicate with unmanned drone aircraft.

From a technologically savvy foundation inthinc created an innovative “on-board safety system” called the waySmart 820 RTS, that monitors a driver’s activity. The device has been installed in 12,000 vehicles, mostly trucks in the oil and gas service industry.

“Our customers have achieved an 80 percent reduction in accidents using this product,” Kirby said.

That led to an even more innovative product—a version of that “on-board safety system” called tiwi that is designed to monitor the driving habits of teenagers. The new device was launched in July of last year—with a big mission: “The number one cause of death for teenagers is auto accidents,” Kirby said. “Car accidents kill 6,000 teenagers every year and seriously injure 60,000 more. We want to change that.”

Imagine if a small company from Logan could begin to solve an age-old problem that results in 60,000 teenage deaths every decade! Kirby’s focused drive has guided the company toward that goal.

He and his employees are clearly doing something right; last year, for the fifth year in a row, inthinc was recognized as one of Utah’s fastest growing companies.