Henry “Chip” Heflich ’73, Shaping the Internet
Chip loves to invent things. He has a knack for spotting trends and identifying opportunities.
Heflich was attracted to Florida Tech for two reasons: its proximity to the beach and its connection to the space industry. While earning his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Florida Tech in 1973, Chip worked for NASA at Kennedy Space Center on the Saturn V rocket. Chip especially enjoyed his coursework in solid state physics, and after graduation he decided to leave the space industry to pursue a career designing analog integrated circuits for Texas Instruments (TI). Here, his passion for invention and entrepreneurial spirit thrived.
Chip left TI to form a company designing corporate local and wide area network computer systems. Meanwhile, something known as the Internet was taking shape, and that would allow Chip’s technologies to be commercialized. Chip co-founded Genuity with a vision to develop corporate Internet services, including data-center-quality web server facilities, a backbone connecting the data centers to the world, and a distributed web content access optimization platform called Hopscotch. Genuity’s technical innovations were met with rave reviews, and the company was acquired by GTE, ultimately becoming Verizon.
Genuity’s patented technology caught the attention of Mark Cuban who recruited Chip to become chief technology officer for Audionet, an early pioneer in Internet-hosted video streaming. Audionet was later renamed broadcast.com and considered the top destination for Internet streaming content with a record-setting IPO on Wall Street. Broadcast.com was purchased by Yahoo! in 1997 for $5.7 billion, and the rest is Internet history. Chip continued as chief technology officer at Yahoo! until his retirement in 2000 and currently serves as chair of Reflect Systems. “Florida Tech provided a solid launch pad for an exciting career,” said Heflich.
Heflich was featured in Florida Tech’s 60th Anniversary special edition book, “60 for 60: Celebrating Sixty Years of Alumni at Florida Institute of Technology.” Copies are available for purchase here.