Ingram Leedy purchased his first computer at the age of eight, and has been fascinated ever since.
The University of Florida graduate has since applied his passion for technology to the launch of several companies – the first of which was acquired by EarthLink, a national leader in information technology services.
“Technology is changing very rapidly and keeping up with it can be difficult,” said the entrepreneur. “The technology I started with 15 years ago is not the same stuff I’m doing today. If you have the passion and thirst for knowledge, this is a good field to be in.”
Indeed, Leedy is in the right field. An information technology pioneer, he successfully launched and grew his second company, now known as Protected Trust, from a small email services provider to the leading email encryption and secure cloud technology provider it is today.
“It was one of the first companies to provide email services to the Department of Defense for the provisional government of Iraq right after the second Gulf War invasion,” said Leedy. “This got me into the security space, where I learned about encryption and helping clients communicate securely.”
In 2015, Protected Trust’s technology kept 2.5 million email records from falling into the wrong hands. The company specializes in technology for organizations in industries, such as health care and finance, where maintaining the privacy of sensitive information is crucial. Many of these industries abide by laws that govern electronic data security, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
The Winter Haven firm is also well-equipped to manage information technology for organizations in times of crisis. Centrally located in the middle of Florida, it’s about 160 feet above sea level and sits on a fiber optic connection touted as the fastest commercially available.
“We happen to be sitting on all these fiber optic lines running right through downtown Winter Haven,” explained Leedy. “I’m able to service the state of Florida and Southeastern U.S. from one location, whereas my competitors have to go into every telephone market and put a facility there.”
Winter Haven’s fiber optic connection is a nice perk, but it’s just one of several reasons Leedy is glad to work where he was raised. He enjoys being part of a tight-knit community, serving as president of the Winter Haven Economic Development Council, board member of the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce and a foundation trustee of Polk State College and Florida Polytechnic University.
“Technology levels the landscape,” said Leedy. “It doesn’t matter where you are nowadays – you can be in a garage like Apple, or you can be across the world. We have a growing tech community in the Corridor … I think it’s a very exciting time.”