Why He’s Top 40: For pioneering commercial Internet access in Edmonton.
Key To Success: “I can see the forest from the trees, I’m all about looking at the big picture.”
In 2008 David Papp and his friends embarked on a treasure-hunting expedition, taking them through a two-mile, long-abandoned train tunnel east of Seattle. Papp was looking for a geocache, a global treasure-hunting network that posts GPS coordinates online for anyone to find. But GPS receivers don’t work underground, a fact that wouldn’t stop Papp from finding the cache – a logbook – with a random flick of his flashlight.
His adventurous nature carries into his professional life as a computer guru, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, which, he says, “has been in my blood since I was a teen.”
In fact, he started his first company, selling computer support and assembly, at 15. After three years, he abandoned it to start the IT company, Microtek Corporation. Shortly after, Papp developed a partnership between Microtek and the OA group of companies to form OA Internet, one of the city’s first Internet service providers. “There was no cookbook about how to become an ISP [Internet service provider] , you had to figure things out by yourself,” he says.
It was successful, but in 2000, needing a change, he founded Zero Hype Technologies, another IT company. And then the dot-com bubble burst, and Papp lost everything but Microtek.
Luckily, he diversified, serving also as an independent consultant for 100 clients, including multiple law-enforcement agencies, whose employees he trains in data forensics for fraud detection and online security. He also shares his technological knowledge with the Canadian military. “They’re very, very dependent on their technology out in the battlefield,” he says. “So I taught a workshop on the [online] networking aspect of their communication equipment.”
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He adds, “My focus throughout all of this, and it’s been difficult, is to create, promote and increase David Papp, the brand.”