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Derek Blackmore


Location: Dane County, WI
Founded: 2015
Industry: SaaS

Entrepreneurship comes naturally to Derek Blackmore. He grew up around entrepreneurs who often found opportunities in the market. His family renovated a 100-year-old hardware store into a restaurant and pub. They operated a video rental store. He was around and often working in various construction jobs, getting his hands dirty and making things happen.

After college, Blackmore moved in and out of several jobs. He worked in the front office of minor league sports organizations. He opened, managed and then closed a regional office for Owens Corning before joining as a regional sales manager early in the website’s growth trajectory. After earning his MBA, Blackmore built and led several teams in a high-growth tech company.

In 2017, he joined AkitaBox as director of operations and was soon promoted to chief of staff. In early 2022, he was appointed president of the company. AkitaBox delivers data-driven software to assess and optimize the operation and condition of facilities, from the boiler room to the boardroom. The company’s cloud-based software delivers real-time facilities data in a visual and customizable format, helping teams simplify their operations, reduce risk and solve complex challenges.

Blackmore has grand plans for leveraging the company’s strength to build future success. AkitaBox will continue to collect, manage and analyze facility data, with an ongoing emphasis on intuitive user experience, the company said.

“We envision a future where our platform will seamlessly integrate with an increasing variety of external data sources, such as other software platforms, IoT sensors and devices and industry benchmark data,” the company said. “This external data — combined with the data on operations, costs and capital planning from within the AkitaBox platform itself — will provide facility leaders and building owners a single source of information they can rely on to make strategic decisions to optimize their portfolios.”

While Blackmore’s team describes him as “carrying us all on his” shoulders, he points only to the importance of teams in building a successful organization. Trust in each other and a shared vision are essential, he said.

“It’s not easy, and it isn’t supposed to be,” Blackmore said. “That is what makes success so rewarding. Becoming comfortable with failure and even expecting failure is incredibly empowering.

“Knowing you had a part in shaping and growing someone’s career is one of the most rewarding accomplishments. Being part of transforming how an industry operates, as we currently are with our facility condition assessment software, is the type of industry influence that motivates me.”

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Honoree Fun fact

Growing up in a town of 650 people (Pearl City, IL), Derek was one of 34 students in his high school graduating class. More interesting is that his great-great grandfather found freshwater pearls in Derek’s hometown - in honor of that unique discovery, the village was renamed Pearl City in 1893.

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