Ping Fu: Chief Executive Officer of Geomagic

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 It is hard to believe anyone, much less the chief executive officer of a leading software company, is not actively seeking success. Ping Fu, co-founder and CEO of Geomagic, is the unique exception.

Geomagic is a worldwide software company based in RTP. Though it has seen tremendous success in its short history, Fu admits that was never the driving force behind this company.

“Success is not something you set out to achieve,” she said.

What she has achieved thus far, however, is simply incredible. Originally from China, she studied Chinese literature in Suzhou. It was there that she began what ended up being a brief career as a journalist. Her piece on the killing of baby girls in China as an attempt to control overpopulation ultimately landed her in the United States.

“I didn’t really have a choice. I was forced out,” said Fu of the Chinese government’s response to her story.

After arriving in the U.S. and earning both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science, a colleague suggested she start a computer company. With only her knowledge of software to guide her, she turned this suggestion into reality.

“I didn’t know the first thing about starting my own company,” said Fu. “I learned as I went along. I don’t think it was as much trial and error as it was me being curious. I read a lot of books, sought out a lot of resources. I used those who had more experience in the field as my mentors.”

Her “spur of the moment” decision proved to be the right one. Geomagic was founded in 1997 during the peak of the Internet craze. The company produces 3D software used to create digital models of physical objects. This software has pioneered technologies that change the way products such as dental appliances and automotive parts are designed and engineered, and is used worldwide by companies in all fields.

As CEO, Fu has been the recipient of numerous awards. In 2005, she was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. magazine, named to Fast Company’s list of 100 Most Creative People this year and most recently received the 2010 CAD Society Leadership Award for her technical and business leadership in the computer and design industry.

“I am greatly humbled by all of the awards I have received, but I don’t think I personally have necessarily contributed enough to earn them,” she added.

Even more impressive, still, is her outlook on it all.

“My goal was never to achieve success. I wanted to make contributions to the world in any way I could,” she said
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For Fu, it is the contributions leading up to success that truly matter. This mentality plays a large role in the growth of her company. She strives to create a working environment that makes her employees want to go to work each day.

“If you enjoy what you do, you will work better and be able to contribute more. I try to put a motherly touch on how I run the company” Fu said. “There is a family environment at Geomagic. We all love one another.”

Despite her dedication to the company, Fu is not just a leader in business. She leads a household as a mother and a disciplinarian — two roles she values greatly.

In fact, so much so she admits, “If I had to choose between a CEO and a stay-at-home mom, I would vote for the mom every time.”

Being a mother, she looks forward to going home at the end of the day. Finding time to enjoy the “little things in life” with loved ones is not a balancing act for her; rather, it is a priority.

“I have no balance (in my life) and I don’t try to achieve it. I try to do things every day to contribute to all aspects of my life — as a mother, a CEO and a friend. If at the end of the day I can ask myself whether I have contributed and my answer is yes, I am happy.”

Though Fu cannot predict what the next 10 years will bring for her personally or for Geomagic, success as she sees it will continue to lie in what can be done for others. As for her message to all women: “Do what you love and do it well.”

Photography By Jonathan Fredin

 

Tags: Features
Submitted by steveerik (not verified) on Sat, 01/31/2015 - 7:52am.

As a Chinese-American entrepreneur I respect a lot her. She was one of the co founders of the software development in this company. her Book Not Bend was awesome and very interesting topic. Congratulations for her achievements in her life.search more

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 04/18/2013 - 12:37am.

Ping Fu lied. Suzhou University just issued a letter which contradicted many of her claims. The letter said Ping Fu withdrew from college in March 1982. She did not carry out thesis research on killing girl babies. She made up the story about the "period police" in her memoir "Bend, Not Break.“ In fact, Ping Fu published another book in Chinese in 1996. In that book, titled "Drifting Bottle: Random Notes of Living in America," Ms. Fu had a normal and happy childhood. She lived in Nanjing and was doted on by both parents and did not experience much hardship. To her, working as a housemaid for a wealthy Jewish family in Albuquerque and being treated badly by the mistress of the house was the hardest thing she had to endure up to that point in her life. She wrote about learning a valuable lesson from working for a consulting company in San Diego that to be successful in America, it is necessary to be dishonest.  There are other details that do not match. For instance, Ms. Fu claims to know only three English words when she landed in America; but in "Drifting Bottle," she said she had memorized sentences in English 900, a popular textbook in China in the 1970s and 1980s.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 02/04/2013 - 7:58pm.

At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ping_Fu, it's quite confusing about Ms. Fu's college education. Where did she get her degrees? Did she get any (post-) graduate degree? Shortly before completing her MS degree, she decided to move to San Diego to attend the University of San Diego as an undergraduate.[2] She enrolled in the computer science program and simultaneously began working for Lane Sharman, founder and CEO of Resource Systems Group.[3]  She attended the University of New Mexico from 1984 to 1986, but no degree was awarded. In 1988, after graduating from the University of CA, San Diego with a BA in Computer Science & Economics, 

Submitted by Wu (not verified) on Sat, 02/23/2013 - 10:32pm.

nothing confusing about transferring to another college.  she graduated from UCSD.

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