In a world where consumers are always chasing after rapidly changing technology, Czarina Walker, founder and CEO of InfiniEDGE Software, remembers a time when she was waiting for the technology to catch up to her.
Walker, at only 19 years old, was trying to start a technology company long before Mark Zuckerberg was a household name, but she found herself in uncharted territory in Baton Rouge.
“It was an interesting realization,” Walker says. “I was young and knowledge hungry, but there were not that many resources out there for me.”
Walker recalls how uniquely positioned she was to chart her own course.
Switching her major at LSU from pre-med to information systems and decisions science after an IT internship at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Walker realized the value of her software development skills when friends in engineering and other fields reached out to her in need of web-based development services within their own companies.
Tapping into this unrealized need in Baton Rouge, Walker started her own business in 1996 to streamline her services and contract work with various companies while still balancing school.
“The business side of things was a necessary vehicle to allow me to do what I do, and I’ve always seen it that way,” Walker says.
Walker originally imagined herself working for a big company, but she realized the Microsofts and IBMs of the world weren’t as innovative as she could be on her own.
After an internship at IBM and already managing a staff of 10 people within her own company, Walker found herself evaluating her options.
“I could go work for other companies that did software development outside of my state, which were the only ones that were really hiring for this discipline, but that involved me working on the same project for a lot of my career, and I wasn’t content with that,” Walker says. “I liked the whole rapid development application I had been trained on, and I felt like that was the future.”
Concluding that the confines of corporate America would stifle her innovative spirit, the Baton Rouge native dug into her roots and continued to grow her company in Ascension Parish.
“I think all in all, most of us who end up doing anything in business find that it is never the path that we actually ever thought we were going to take, but when you look back it is still a path that you are glad that you took,” Walker says.
Today, InfiniEDGE operates from its Prairieville headquarters with a core staff of what Walker calls her “Fantastic Five” while scaling that team up or down based on the company’s needs.
“It is fun to be small because you can do cool and creative things and be flexible,” Walker says.
InfiniEDGE specializes in web-based and mobile application design for businesses and government customers. Although the company has users and clients around the world, Walker has been successful at growing her company in a way that benefits the state. “The core part of our business comes from customers and industries native to Louisiana,” Walker says.
When it comes to web applications and user experience, Walker’s strength is in her ability to see something different.
“I guess it is kind of like a photographer that walks by a sunset and sees something completely different from the rest of us,” Walker says. “Apps and user experience are sort of like my photography. I am trying to figure out how I can use what I see and experience to make something else amazing, which to me is part of the scientific method and what we do.”