OpenNMS was started in 1999 by a group of people who soon became a company called Oculan. I started working for Oculan on September 10th, 2001.
In May of 2002, two things happened: OpenNMS 1.0 was released and Oculan decided not to publish any of their future work as open-source. I realized the potential of OpenNMS and asked to take over the maintenance of the project. Oculan gave me their blessing and I started Sortova Consulting Group to provide commercial support and services for OpenNMS, as well as to keep the project alive. I live on a farm, so I literally "bet the farm" on the success of this project.
In June of 2003, I joined a company called Blast, and they purchased the assets of Sortova Consulting Group. While with Blast we were able to grow the number of people working fulltime on the project, and it grew to the point where, in September 2004, we decided to spin OpenNMS off into its own company, The OpenNMS Group, Inc. I now work for them.
While my title is officially CEO, I prefer to think of my self as "The Mouth of OpenNMS". I'm sort of like "The Mouth of Sauron" from the The Lord of the Rings, but with nicer teeth.