A Tech Pioneer
Benny Garrard was born in Buras, LA in 1950. Not too many people can say that. He graduated from High School (1968) in New Iberia, LA. He couldn’t wait for school to get started in the fall, so he attended The University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL) during the summer of 1968. He then attended Louisiana State University (LSU) from 1968-1970 majoring in Pre-Law.
Benny began working for Directional Drilling Specialists in 1970 as a salesman, then in 1972 as a directional driller. He also joined the Louisiana National Guard in 1970. After Basic and Advanced Training, he signed up for Office Candidate School (OCS) and was commissioned as an Infantry officer with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in April of 1972. Benny eventually became the Company Commander of the New Iberia Unit.
In 1972, he started dabbling with programmable calculators to assist with his current work in the oil field industry. Benny met his wife Frances in 1973 and married her shortly after in 1974. They had two beautiful children in 1976 and 1978 named Shane and Jessica. He bought his first computer in 1977, the classic Radio Shack TRS-80, Model 1. He then began writing software for industry specific applications with various models of Radio Shack computers. Benny sold his first software program to another directional drilling company in 1978. He thought that this was a million-dollar career-changing moment, but that didn't happen as he had hoped. Although his oil field job was secure, software sales were adversely affected by the oil field slow down.
In August of 1983, Benny and his wife opened Omni Computers, a pioneering retail computer store specializing in network sales and support. They partnered with IBM selling network solutions to schools. Eventually, IBM began taking over the network sales themselves and Omni Computers began targeting business and government entities.
Grids Inc. (Government Research and Information Data Systems) was formed, in 1994, to specifically target government agencies with affordable network and software solutions. Their first customers were Cameron Parish, Jefferson Davis Parish, and Acadia Parishes. Many parishes followed throughout the state of Louisiana because of the Grids local customer service and target industry. Grids continues today to add clients throughout the United States of America.