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After spending 35 years in senior management for several world-class technology based businesses, George Simmons had the resources to retire and live a life of leisure. He rejected that lifestyle, opting instead to launch the startup business Binge, LLC, which operates BingeNow.com a video sharing social networking site.
One only has to think about Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, or Chris DeWolf and Tom Anderson, MySpace founders, to understand the potential obstacles or the potential for success that come with a venture like BingeNow.com. Clearly, driving the start-up business to success is a monumental task, but as people close to Simmons will tell you, he personifies the phrase “go big or go home.”
Simmons, who humbly describes himself as a second-generation engineer, arrived at Michigan State University in 1969. Having been influenced by an uncle who was an engineer, he had a laser-like focus on becoming an engineer. He lived in Wilson Hall as a freshman and later in Holmes Hall. Simmons was not invited to study with white engineering students and that neither deterred him nor made him think negatively about the students that shut him out. Simmons let nothing get in the way of his dream of becoming an engineer. It was a white professor that mentored Simmons. Later, in 2007, the MSU College of Engineering’s advisory committee in consultation with the department chairperson selected Simmons from nominations made by alumni, faculty and students to receive the John D. Ryder Electrical and Computer Engineering Alumni Award. The award commemorates individuals who personify the department’s mission of sustained excellence as measured in scholarship, external investment reputation and impact.
Simmons' path to exemplifying the MSU Engineering department’s mission began in 1973. Armed with a BS in electrical engineering he joined Bell Labs (a subsidiary of telecommunications conglomerate AT&T) the company that created the Unix computer operating system that became the underlying language for the internet. He worked for Bell Labs (which later became Lucent Technologies) for 29 years. While working with this company he received two patents. In 1981 he received the patent: Circuit for Eliminating Spurious Pulses in a Dial Pulse Stream. In 1987 he received the patent: Optical Data Link Extension for Data Communications Networks.
While ascending the corporate ladder, Simmons continued his education earning an MS in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Michigan State University. In 1997, Simmons became the vice president of research and development operational excellence for Lucent. In this position he led the team responsible for the development and implementation of new engineering processes for complex telecom network solutions in five North American and international projects. In recognition of his accomplishments on this project he received the Bell Laboratories President’s award for R&D Operational Excellence. In 1998, he was named vice president and general manager of Lucent’s Access Technology business, which designed, developed and sold ATM access data network equipment. In this capacity he expanded the product portfolio of this business unit, increasing annual revenue from $60 million to over $200 million.
After leaving Lucent Technologies in 2002, Simmons became the president and CEO of Cibernet, a venture capital-backed wireless services business. The company provided financial settlement and data clearing for roaming services of wireless telecommunications companies in 80 countries. In 2004, Simmons became the chief operating officer of Simpler Networks, a venture capital-backed startup company with operations in Montreal and Hsinchu. The company’s products enable the efficient delivery of Voice over IP, high-speed data and video on demand.
In 2006, Simmons left the venture capital arena and stepped into the role of corporate vice president at Motorola Solutions. In this position he was responsible for product development and business operations of the Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON), Hybrid Fiber-Cable (HF) Network and the Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) businesses. These things form the foundation for innovative products and services that play essential roles in everyday life such as seamless communication networks and applications and services that provide real-time information. Tracking a shipment online or a responder location application used by police to indicate a man-down situation are examples of solutions provided by Motorola Solutions.
In 2008, in collaboration with his son Gavin, Simmons took on his most challenging venture to date when he established Binge, LLC. Everything on Simmons’s resume prepared him for this monumental task. But it took everything in his heart to bring this project to light. Simmons has always been about making a positive impact on the lives of others. His profile on BingeNow.com states: “I enjoy making a difference in the lives of people in the communities where they live, work, learn and play. By helping people achieve their personal, career and business goals, I believe I can help make this world a better place to live while becoming a role model for others to emulate. Too many people have become too self-centered, i.e., ‘it's all about me.’ We must now re-learn that it is in the giving that we all shall get gifts and receive blessing. Those gifts or blessings might not be in the form of material things but in the form of greater lasting value like peace of mind and love.”
According to Simmons, BingeNow.com is about giving young people a positive outlet for their creativity. In fact, the sky is the limit where BingeNow.com is concerned. It can be used by teachers to put lessons online. It can be used by expatriates (of countries, states, cities, particular cultures) to keep abreast of what is going on at “home.” Simmons’s most fervent hope is that BingeNow.com will create jobs and opportunities for those who have not been successful in achieving upward mobility.
BingeNow.com will showcase the talents, heart and soul of George Simmons, a modest man who was never about, “Look at me, see what I’ve done.” In his personal life, Simmons married his college sweetheart. Today he and his wife Grayce live in Columbia, Maryland. They have two adult children, Gina and Gavin. Gavin is married to Nia and the couple has two children.
About Binge, LLC
Binge, LLC, founded in 2008 operates BingeNow.com a video sharing social networking site. The Binge mission is to provide African Americans and the Hip Hop community with the best experience available on the Web for video sharing with social networking. The Binge vision is to become the company most known for bringing quality, valued video sharing with social networking experiences into the lives of African Americans and the Hip Hop community.