A talented, hardworking and extremely bright former local high school quarterback, now plying his trade in the Bay Area and cashing in big time.
Where have you heard that one recently?
Yes, Anthony Fassero is doing well, thank you.
In 2006, the Modesto native and 2000 Grace Davis High graduate co-founded Earthmine. In November, Nokia bought the company for sorry, the agreement prohibits him from disclosing the sale price. Earthmine is now a small piece of giant Nokia, which also acquired NavTeq, a company that provides automotive navigation services, for more than $8 billion in 2011.
Earthmine partnered with NASA in 2007 to employ the mapping technology used on the Mars Rover to create highly detailed street-level maps.
"We started at the exact same time Google Street View started," Fassero said. In fact, while he and partner John Ristevski were out filming the streets of San Francisco with cameras mounted to their vehicle, the Street View crew was doing the same.
"We saw an unmarked van driving around that we later learned was Google," Fassero said.
The difference is that Google Street View involved two-dimensional photos. Earthmine uses 3-D panoramic imagery. Earthmine's technology enables the user to measure distances on the ground, getting the data through a smart phone or via a flash application. (OK, that's as technical as we're going to get here. No sense in trying to further explain something I am intellectually incapable of comprehending beyond the click of a mouse or the push of a button.)
Good start in valley
The story, for our purposes today, is that another young Modestan and a product of local public schools is doing great things, albeit somewhere else, as are so many others who grow up in the valley and find their careers elsewhere.
A column by The New York Times' David Brooks in Wednesday's Bee Opinions Pages addressed the so-called brain drain how young people go off to college, find their passion and ply their trades elsewhere because the opportunities simply do not exist in some towns, and certainly not in technology here in the valley.
Fassero, though, credits growing up in Modesto with supportive parents for preparing him to succeed in Berkeley, where Earthmine established its headquarters after starting in San Francisco.
The son of an orthopedic surgeon, Fassero, 31, attended public schools here, including Roosevelt Junior High, where he discovered the joys of wood shop. "I learned everything about how to take an idea of mine and make it real," he said.
He developed leadership and problem-solving skills in Boy Scout Troop 76, where he became an Eagle Scout.
At Davis High, he played quarterback another leadership position and while on the golf team performed CPR on a heart- attack victim on a course in Stockton. The man didn't survive, but Fassero drew praise for stepping in.
Next, he went to UC Berkeley as a walk-on kicker on Cal's football team. He soon realized that playing football took too much of his time and put him at a disadvantage against the other architecture students.
"I'm not smart enough to compete with them," he said. "I realized I can't beat them by out-studying these people. They were smarter and had more time because they weren't playing football."
But he found his niche at Cal, getting his bachelor's degree in architecture. The program involved computer-aided design tools, and he used what he learned when he and Ristevski formed Earthmine.
"I partnered with the Ph.D. guy the brains in terms of tech," Fassero said. "My role was formative the concepts, the business design and the development of the product."
They struggled for a time before their business took off in the tech-savvy Bay Area, resulting in the sale to Nokia three months ago. Fassero now is the director of Nokia's location and commerce arm in Berkeley, enjoying the best parts of the job without the headaches of ownership.
Indeed, another former high school quarterback from the valley is scoring big in the Bay Area.
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @jeffjardine57 on Twitter or (209) 578-2383.