It is with great pleasure that we announce the recognition of Christopher L. Fouts as the first Pointwise Fellow.
Chris’ citation, presented to him in front of family, friends, and colleagues at the annual Pointwise holiday dinner on 09 December 2017, reads as follows.
In recognition of outstanding technical achievement, professional conduct, and long-standing service to the organization, the directors of Pointwise, Inc. do hereby declare that Christopher L. Fouts has earned recognition as the first Pointwise Fellow.
Chris has been with Pointwise for over 18 years and is currently a Staff Specialist on our Product Development Team. But his history with Pointwise and meshing is much longer than that.
From Georgia Tech to GRIDGEN
Chris earned a B.A.E. (bachelors of aerospace engineering) and an M.S. in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech in 1985 and 1986, respectively. Right out of school, Chris joined the CFD group at General Dynamics in Fort Worth where he teamed up with John Steinbrenner and John Chawner to develop GRIDGEN from 1987-1990.
Part of that development included porting GRIDGEN (previously a product for a VAX-11/780) to Silicon Graphics workstations beginning with an IRIS 2500. In fact, GRIDGEN was the first program ported to the first SGI that GD purchased. Chris’ port turned a command-line program into something truly interactive with 3-D graphics.
Chris also wrote in 1988 what may best be described as an SGI version of PowerPoint that was so successful it often seemed to overshadow GRIDGEN during product briefings. We also like to point out that Chris is responsible for coining the term “connector.”
GRIDGEN to SGI
Upon completion of GRIDGEN Version 6 in 1990, Chris’ expertise with 3-D graphics, Iris-GL (the pre-cursor to OpenGL), and SGI workstations led him to a new positions at SGI as a systems engineer in Dallas and a software developer in Atlanta. Chris’ work included Cosmo Player and Inventor. However, Chris is probably most (in)famous for developing the BZ multi-player, networked, tank battle game.
Back to Pointwise
Chris reconnected with Pointwise in late 1999 as employee #4 and immediately resumed his work on Gridgen’s graphics and interface. In late 2003, Chris launched Project Tapestry, the development of a new user interface and workflow for Gridgen’s core techniques and methods. Fourteen years later Chris’ main role is Pointwise’s software architect.
When we think back over the history of our development of our meshing software, the significance of Chris’ contributions is readily apparent. It’s difficult to imagine delivering meshing capabilities to customers without the frameworks he has created. His work truly is one of the pillars upon which our success has been built. He typifies what is said about great programmers: “The difficult can take a while but the impossible takes only a little longer.”
We congratulate Chris for his many achievements and hope he enjoys the well-deserved sabbatical that comes with his Fellow recognition.
Because someone asked, I’ll point out that Chris was employee #4 when you don’t count me, John Steinbrenner, and Rick Matus.