For Andrew Anagnost, CEO of ubiquitous design and engineering software company Autodesk, it's been a long journey with an unlikely beginning.

Anagnost grew up in Van Nuys, California, and initially dropped out of high school. But with the help of his family, he ended up reenrolling, graduating, and studying mechanical engineering at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) during the mid-1980s.

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Following graduation, Anagnost began his career as a composites structure engineer and propulsion installation engineer at Lockheed Martin. He then left the position to pursue further education at Stanford University, earning two degrees: a master's in engineering science and a doctorate in aeronautical engineering. This led to a National Research Council fellowship at NASA Ames Research Center, where he worked on the Mars Pathfinder rover, developing a simulation of air flow around the craft as it went into the Martian atmosphere.

Finding the public aeronautics industry "too slow," Anagnost moved back to the private sector. In 1992, he joined the Exa Corporation in Boston. Then, in 1997, he made another career-defining decision when he took a job as a product manager at Autodesk, the company that has been his home for more than 25 years now.

In 2017, Anagnost’s rise through Autodesk culminated in his appointment as President and CEO. Since taking the reins, Anagnost has pushed for a refocus of the company on software for construction. As part of the new vision, Autodesk acquired construction tech startup PlanGrid for $875 million, the company's biggest acquisition. Additionally, since becoming CEO, the company's share price has nearly tripled and Autodesk has reached a market value of $41.1 billion, entering the Forbes Global 2000 and Fortune 500. In addition to his duties as CEO and President, Anagnost also serves as a member of the company’s board of directors.

In 2019, Anagnost was given that year's Distinguished Alumni Award from CSUN, the place where he launched his successful career. That same year, the C-suite executive donated $300,000 to the university to establish the Teresa Sendra-Anagnost Memorial Scholarship Endowment, which supports outstanding students in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.