Alumnus aims to build 'computer friendly' world

There is no need to "Photoshop" anything in the career portfolio of Christopher Haupt. Haupt '88, '94 (computer science), part of the technical team that builds and operates the popular photo editing software, already has a compelling story about working in the computing field.

Haupt is a senior engineering manager in digital imaging/digital video at Adobe Systems Inc., headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley. While completing his master's degree, he worked in RIT's former software services group.

"I helped students and faculty with problems they might have had using various tools," says Haupt.

While teaching at RIT, Haupt began collaborating on a project with Neill Kramer, a former faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts, and Darin Krauss '88 (biomedical computing) who worked with Haupt in software services. Their lunch conversations led to an innovative idea – creating children's educational software. The three started a company called CyberPuppy Software, which created software targeted at children in kindergarten through 12th grade.

"Our first glimmer was actually when we took the beta software to a local middle school in Rochester to have the kids in computer camp test it. Wow, that was cool! They really became engaged in telling their stories."

The three men took the software on the road, and they landed a deal with a company called Maxis. Soon after, their software was on store shelves. In 1996, Haupt and Kramer sold the rights to the company's technology.

Haupt found himself out of a job, but not for long. Lunch with a schoolmate from RIT led to an interview with Adobe. Haupt planned to stay with the company for six months. That was eight years ago. What does he love about his job?

"I work with a fantastic group of smart, funny, passionate people who together love to bring the power of telling stories with photos to as many people as we can. Having millions of customers use our work in a way that is very meaningful and personal to themselves is really motivating."

The University Magazine, Spring 2005