Who is Mark?
Mark is a serial entrepreneur, computer scientist and engineer with a degree in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) from Eastern Michigan University. While attending EMU, he worked as an intern for General Motors as a system administrator and CAD programmer for a team of automotive designers at GM. While working at GM (1984-1986), Mark had the unique opportunity to work with one of the first engineering workstations made by Sun Microsystems and taught himself UNIX and the C programming language. When he graduated from EMU (1986), Mark applied for a job with Sun Microsystems and was hired as a Technical Support Engineer for the Detroit, Michigan sales office. Mark worked for Sun exactly 5 years (to the day). He resigned at the age of 28 from a secure, well-paying job to pursue a lifelong dream to start his own business.
Mark’s first business was Netrex (1991-1999), the world’s first pure-play Internet Security services company. Among other things, Netrex created a family of Managed Security Services (MSS) under the umbrella “ePatrol” (see this Mark Sims interview at InterOp (1998). Netrex was one of the first companies to establish the MSS market, now estimated to be over a $1B market. Netrex was acquired by Internet Security Systems (ISS) in 1999 which became the MSS Business Unit of ISS. In 2006, IBM acquired ISS, establishing IBM’s own MSS Business Unit which is still in existence and offering the same family of security services established by Mark and Netrex.
While running Netrex, (read this Netrex article) Mark enrolled and began attending Harvard Business School where he completed a 3-year program called the Owners and Presidents Management Program (OPM 30, 1998-2000). Mark graduated from OPM in 2000 and is a HBS alumnus. (Picture of Mark at the Baker Library at HBS in 2000)
Mark's second business
Mark continued working for ISS after the acquisition before retiring in August 2000. In April 2004, Mark started his second business called Nanorex (2004-2009). Nanorex was an open source software company that developed a unique CAD program called NanoEngineer-1 for designing and simulating nano-scale machine systems (read this Nanorex article). NanoEngineer-1 was inspired by the book “Engines of Creation” written by Dr. K. Eric Drexler, which he read in 1989. It created in him a passion for nanotechnology and the potential it had for dramatically improving the human condition. Mark realized that specialized CAD software for designing and simulating advanced nano-systems was needed for the study and ultimately the synthesis of atomically precise nano-machines. (read this article on CAD Modeling Nanostructures)
In the spring of 2004, Mark contacted Dr. Drexler (Stanford University) and together they assembled a team of computer scientists and computational chemists, including Dr. J. Storrs Hall (Rutgers University) and Dr. Damian Allis (Syracuse University). In 2005, Dr. Drexler joined Nanorex as its Chief Technology Advisor (see BusinessWire: Dr. K. Eric Drexler Joins Nanorex ).
Nanorex released the first version of NanoEngineer-1 in 2005. In 2006, Nanorex began a strategic collaboration with Dr. Paul Rothemund and the Winfree Lab at Caltech in Pasadena, CA to add special support for Structural DNA Nanotechnology (SDN) and DNA Origami (see Paul Rothemund: Playing with DNA that self-assembles) and (read this DNA Inside article). With the economic downturn in 2008, Mark decided to close Nanorex on April 1, 2009 (exactly 5 years from the day he started the company). Mark also felt he’d accomplished the 2 primary goals of the business, which were:
To educate and inspire young students to pursue careers in nanotechnology by bending their minds with a free, easy to use, powerful, interactive 3D molecular modeling program that allowed them to design and simulate nano-scale, atomically precise electromechanical machine systems (read this article on Molecular modeling in CAD). Over 10,000 copies of NanoEngineer-1 were downloaded from the Nanorex website between 2005 and 2009. It is still used in universities and labs studying nano-mechical systems and doing SDN research.
Worm Drive Sub-assembly for Molecular Sorting Pump designed by Mark Sims and K. Eric Drexler. Modeled and simulated by Mark Sims using NanoEngineer-1 in 2006.
Atomically precise Differential Gear Designed by Dr. Ralph Merkel and Dr. K. Eric Drexler. Modeled and simulated in NanoEngineer-1 by Mark Sims.
Mark III-k designed and modeled by Dr. K. Eric Drexler.
To show the power of 3D modeling tools for the rapid design, simulation and fabrication of chemically massive, atomically precise components. Nanorex achieved this goal in late 2008 by designing and synthesizing a unique 3D model (called the 4-Hole Tile) with over 500,000 atoms using NanoEngineer-1. It was synthesized at the Winfree Lab at Caltech using Dr. Paul Rothemund’s DNA Origami method.
Screenshot of NanoEngineer-1 and the “4-Hole Tile” designed by Mark Sims.
Atomic Force Microscope images of “4-Hole Tile” courtesy of Dr. Paul Rothemund and Caltech.
Mark's second retirement
After closing the doors of Nanorex in 2009, Mark officially retired a second time and took up competitive ballroom dancing. Mark became a champion amateur ballroom dancer and competed extensively throughout North America from 2010-2013.
Mark's spiritual awakening
In November 2012, Mark had a “spiritual awakening” while attending a CE-5 Ambassador Training retreat in Borrego Springs, CA led by Dr. Steven Greer. To learn more about this experience, watch this video of Mark telling his story (2013.)
This experience changed his life dramatically and has led him on a new path of spiritual discovery and purpose (Mark had been an atheist his entire adult life until this event).
Mark's spiritual calling
In 2014, Mark came out of retirement to pursue his new “spiritual calling”. These projects included:
- Started Vortrex LLC, a renewable energy company that designs and manufactures efficient and visually appealing charging stations powered by solar and wind. Here is Mark showing of one of the hybrid charging stations at the Port Austin Farmer’s Market in 2015. Vortrex was closed in 2017
- Leading CE-5 expeditions in Michigan and California to gain proficiency in and promote “Human Initiated ET Contact”. Mark leads teams in CE-5 meditation that consistently results in contact with ET craft. See this video of his Port Austin, Michigan CE-5 team (filmed June 13, 2015).