Forty Under 40: Igor Ulis
Company: Omnigon Communications
Where born: Kiev, Ukraine
Education: Boston University (B.A., computer science)
Career background: Started my first tech startup during senior year in college and have been running companies ever since.
Family: Wife, Marina; sons, Max (6) and Jake (2)
Favorite apps: Flipboard for news, Songza for music and GrubHub for food. For sports, the Sporting News, NASCAR and PGA Tour apps (all Omnigon projects) are beautiful and work really well.
Favorite way to unwind: I like going food exploring and trying random places. New York is great for that.
Guilty pleasure: Bread pudding.
Worst habit: BBQ food — but no plans to stop.
Cause supported: City Harvest. Last holiday season, we donated hundreds of pounds of food.
Person in the industry I’d most like to meet: Malcolm Gladwell. (Although he’s not technically sports industry-only, his views are heavily leveraged by smart people in the industry.)
I have a fear of … : Failure.
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Hang-gliding off a cliff in Rio.
2014 will be a good year if … : Our international operations take off.
Igor Ulis admits to a personal learning curve concerning some of the particular nuances of many U.S. sports, particularly given that he was born in Ukraine and doesn’t have a professional background in the sports industry.
But there is perhaps no more trusted executive in the business when it comes to high-intensity digital operations for leagues and media properties. Boasting a client portfolio that includes NASCAR, the PGA Tour, Sporting News Media, World Wresting Entertainment and many other major entities, Ulis and Omnigon are charged with the critical work of developing
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.
It’s not necessarily glamorous work, and as a business-to-business player, Ulis and Omnigon operate outside of the public eye and instead on behalf of the brands they represent. But when it comes to making major industry movements like TV Everywhere actually work for the consumer, Ulis is playing an indispensable role. Omnigon under Ulis’ leadership is now embarking on a major international push, beginning in part with the opening of a London office.
“Lots of leagues are now recognizing the major importance of digital and what it can really do for their businesses,” said Ulis, who was trained as a computer scientist. “All the projections going forward for live video consumption, for example, are immense, and that’s an exciting prospect for us.”