40 Under 40 Class of 2008

Todd Cieplinski

Age 37: CEO, Universal Mind Inc.

Todd Cieplinski has built a business by finding ways to make existing technology even better. Now, he’s turning that discerning eye in a new direction aimed not at the bottom line, but the greater good.

Cieplinski, CEO of Universal Mind Inc., a Web-based application design and consultancy firm with offices in Westfield and Golden, Colo., works with specific technologies, including those owned by Adobe, one of the largest Internet-based companies in the world. His company creates, troubleshoots, manages, and updates a wide variety of ever-changing applications, and the firm’s expertise, coupled with the lightning speed at which the Internet is evolving, creates abundant business opportunities.

But something else caught Cieplinski’s attention recently — the state of the computer labs in his daughters’ schools.

“The technology is antiquated; they’re not great labs,” he said. “I’m at the point in my life where I can’t stand on the sidelines and watch others take care of things, so I tasked myself with getting more involved to make an impact in Westfield.”

He thought he could leverage Universal Mind’s recent success — in 2007 alone, the company doubled its revenues, was placed on Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing privately held companies in the U.S., and increased its staff sevenfold — but he didn’t want to simply throw money at the problem.

“I could have made a donation, but that’s selfish,” he said. “There’s a lot to be done in Westfield. I’d much rather roll up my sleeves and see what, as a technology company, we can bring to the table.”

Currently, Cieplinski is working to identify possible relationships that could lead to new equipment for Westfield’s schools, but he’s also drafting plans to create a training program for volunteers and teachers. “There are a lot of pieces; we want to upgrade the labs, get the teachers in there and provide training, and make sure everything is properly networked. In my eyes, we can do it.”

Beyond his work with Westfield’s schools, however, Cieplinski is fostering a greater passion to assist communities and businesses across the nation through more-efficient technology. “As a company, we’re striving to make an impact on how people perceive and interact with data,” he said, noting that improving that understanding, universally, is the greatest sign of success.

Jaclyn Stevenson