In Memoriam: Lenel co-founder Rudy Prokupets

Ruvin "Rudy" Prokupets passed away suddenly at age 63 on June 16, 2009. He is survived by his loving wife Dr. Elena Prokupets, his son Daniel; grandchildren, Ella, Samuel, Haley; sister, Ida (Joseph) Vanston; nieces, Inga Smith and Laura Makai; father-in-law, Isaac Vilnits; brother-in-law, Alex (Anna) Vilnits.

Rudy Prokupets immigrated with his wife Dr. Elena A. Prokupets and their young son Daniel to Rochester, New York from the Soviet Union in 1977. After overcoming the challenge of learning a new language in their adopted country, Rudy took a job in the Research Lab of Baush & Lomb. Outside of their full-time jobs, Elena and Rudy Prokupets worked nights and weekends on an idea that involved the management of photographs on personal computers. They presented their idea to photo giant Eastman Kodak Company. Their proposal was accepted and in 1985 their first company Edicon was born. The innovative company paved the way for digital revolution in photography, security and government identification programs, and ultimately became a $50 million division of Kodak. Rudy became Edicon's Chief Technology Officer and Elena was one of Kodak's first female executives as the division's president and general manager.

Rudy and Elena Prokupets left the Kodak in 1990 to found Lenel Systems International, Inc. Lenel began as a software multimedia company providing innovative solution to customers such as Oracle, Borland, IBM and Microsoft.

In 1995, Lenel expanded into physical and information security markets. The company's challenges in this industry were significant. It was a small start-up in a well-established market that was characterized by very large conservative companies selling proprietary hardware and software. Through the Prokupets' vision and leadership, Lenel was able to quickly establish itself as an innovative solution provider responding to customers' needs. Its unique message of "Total Security Knowledge Management", open architecture and seamless integration resonated with the customers worldwide. Lenel's "OnGuard" solution was adopted by over 10,000 customers in over 74 counties allowing it to become in a short time a dominant player in the homeland and global security markets. Lenel created a new platform standard for security systems that allowed for virtually total compatibility with any security hardware and allowed for integration with basically any other system that operated via computer or networks.

Rudy Prokupets leveraged his masters degree in electro-physics and his masters degree in mathematics in his role as the chief technology officer at Lenel where he was responsible for product development and integration; As Lenel's chairman, CEO and president, Dr. Prokupets ran the day-to-day operations, served as chief spokesperson, and directed the development of all strategic business plans and partnerships for the company. The Prokupets' vision and commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship have been central to Lenel's success. Under their leadership, Lenel achieved phenomenal growth and received more than two dozen distinguished awards for entrepreneurship, technological innovation, market leadership and customer satisfaction. The company ranked for three consecutive years on both the prestigious Inc. 500 list and the Forbes Magazine/Deloitte and Touche Technology Fast 500 list. Lenel also held a position on the Rochester Top 100 list for six consecutive years (1999-2004).

In addition, Lenel was honored with the WindowsITPro award for Best Biometric Authentication Solution of 2005, the Frost & Sullivan 2003 Product of the Year Award, the Detektor International Award for Best Access Control Product of 2003, the SecuTech 2002 Award for Technological Innovation, a Microsoft MCSP Award in 1999 for Best Business Solution, Frost & Sullivan's 2003 Entrepreneurial Company Innovation Award and a Blue Chip Enterprise Award in 2000 from The Mass Mutual Financial Group.

Lenel received the 2004 Customer Value Enhancement Award from Frost & Sullivan and the 2004 Highly Commended Product Award from AR Media International. The Lenel OnGuard security platform was named a "World's Top 5 Digital Surveillance Brand" at the 2004 Global Digital Surveillance Forum. Most recently, Lenel was honored as 2005 Total Solution Partner of the Year by Axis Communications.

In May 2005 Lenel signed an agreement to merge with United Technologies Corporation. United Technologies (NYSE: UTX), based in Hartford, Conn., is a $50 billion Fortune 100 diversified company that provides high technology products and services to the aerospace and commercial building industries worldwide.

Rudy Prokupets earned a Masters Degree in electro-physics from the Electrical Engineering Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, and a Masters Degree in Mathematics from the University of St. Petersburg, Russia.

He was a generous philanthropist in addition to being an entrepreneur and technologist, and was known for supporting the Metropolitan Opera of New York, many Rochester, N.Y.-area non-profit foundations, Jewish charities, the Jewish Community Federation in Rochester, and a number of medical research institutions, including Harvard University, Broad Institute, and the University of Rochester.