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N.C. State Teacher Inspires Millionaire Students

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RALEIGH — Did you ever have a teacher who inspired you? Meet an N.C. State computer engineering professor who is quickly earning a reputation for inspiring his students to develop million-dollar ideas.

Instead of turning his students into Internet consumers,Dr. Thomas Millerurges them to become Net producers. As a result, State is turning out all kinds of E-Success stories.

When Kelly Campbell co-founded Interface Technologies in Raleigh eight years ago, he had a computer and $400. Now, he presides over a multi-million dollar software business that is one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the country.

Scot Wingo is running his second start-up venture in five years,AuctionRover.com. GoTo.com recently announced it planned to acquire Wingo's auction search engine for about $200 million in stock.

Both young entrepreneurs were guided by Miller, who urged them to gamble and strike out on their own.

"You've got to be willing to go out on a limb," Miller says.

"It's those kind of people that I want to make sure, if they have that ability and those inclinations, they know that they can do it," he says.

Miller's A-list started with former student Bill Nussey. When Nussey, now CEO ofiXL, made millions creating DaVinci Systems -- one of the world's first mass e-mail programs -- Miller realized the high tech age had opened the door for engineers to run companies, not just sit in a back room and fix problems.

"What Dr. Miller does is encourage people to embrace the business side and to kind of come out of their shells," Wingo says.

Miller is pleased to see his students become successful.

"They're doing what they want to do. They're pursuing their own dreams, their visions and they're excited about it. They're happy about it, and that's very rewarding to me," he says.

Miller has established an engineering entrepreneurs program at State as part of his work in motivating students to run their own businesses.