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Friday, Jun 9, 2023

Doug Yarrow and Bob Sommers

Linux, the open-source operating system constantly praised by computer experts, is used by some of the largest businesses in the world. Aerospace and defense companies, pharmaceutical giants and commercial banks run the operating system because it can be used on almost any computer, and can be easily modified for an individual company’s needs. The same elements that make Linux and its brother UNIX so popular also contribute to some significant gaps in the operating systems’ security. That’s where Symark comes in. Its security products make it easy for system administrator to access a company’s computers while enforcing security policies. Symark is one of the 500 largest software companies in the world; it has grown without any outside investment from venture capitalists or investment bankers. Doug Yarrow and Bob Sommers founded the company in 1985. “When we first started we sold software for computer mainframes that filled rooms, they were as big as refrigerators now they are the size of your palm,” said Sommers, the company’s chairman. Symark started as a distribution company, importing a remote printing product from Denmark. Later, the company developed its Symark PowerBroker and SymarkPowerPassword programs. Symark products are used by a majority of global enterprise companies, including some of the largest commercial banks, defense agencies and leading health care and pharmaceutical companies. Sommers and Yarrow had been working together in the early 1980s, when their employer was purchased. Starting their own company seemed like the easiest way to stay employed. “We just wanted to maintain our lifestyles after being laid off and we wanted to have the freedom to control our own destiny. We have achieved that and much more,” said Sommers. “We knew we could work together well. We started out in my house and then hired our first employee, who is still with us today as vice president of sales,” said Yarrow. The company currently employs 65 people.

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