When Zach Katkin and Harry Casimir launched a website development and online marketing firm as FGCU undergrads in 2005, desktop computers were still the vehicle of choice for online navigation.
In retrospect, that might seem like the horse-and-buggy era. Smart phones and tablets were still round the corner.
“Mobile was happening, but nobody was sure it was going to take off,” recalls Katkin, who graduated in 2007 with a degree in liberal studies. “The rate at which things changed when we started … it’s been insane. But change is exhilarating. Now, responsive design is thinking about any screen size a site could be displayed on. It’s a different way of thinking. We used to test sites on different browsers. Now we test on different devices.”
The proliferation of operating systems tweaked for myriad devices and mobile carriers adds more twists and turns to the development process of web content. That has been just one of the challenges President and CEO Katkin and Director of Operations Casimir have faced in steering their company, Atilus, over its first decade in business.
“Education has been a big challenge,” says Casimir, who graduated in 2005 with a degree in Computer Information Services. “We respect people’s time and money. We want to create a return on investment for them.”
The company’s clients have been featured on “Oprah,” “Shark Tank” and Huffington Post and are internationally recognized businesses. Local clients have included the Harry Chapin Food Bank, Lee County Electric Cooperative and Florida Gulf Coast University. Working with University Marketing and Communications, Atilus developed and designed FGCU360.
The duo has maintained strong ties to the university since graduating, hiring numerous alumni and most recently creating an endowed scholarship fund with the first donation of bitcoin to the university. Katkin’s success and his dedication to community service so impressed the FGCU Alumni Association that it named him the 2012 Alumnus of Distinction. Casimir serves as chairman of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, which he joined in 2009.
Reflecting on 10 years in business, Katkin and Casimir encourage others to find a niche and work hard.
“Be different and don’t be afraid to fail. It’s cliché, but it’s true,” Casimir says.
“Real entrepreneurs keep moving,” adds Katkin. “You’re going to fail constantly, but you have to keep going.”
- Atilus featured in The News-Press