From Garage to Global, LSU Engineers Design Music Innovation

Chief Strategy Officer Jim Odom, a musician, producer, and 1991 LSU electrical engineering alumnus, cofounded PreSonus with fellow LSU electrical engineering graduate and current PreSonus VP of Engineering Brian Smith. Introduced in LSU electrical engineering classes in the 1990s, Odom and Smith started their international company in Odom’s garage, working to build professional and affordable music-production tools for musicians and audio engineers.

“Being from a family of engineers and entrepreneurs, I knew that I would eventually work for a company that I founded,” said Odom. “I began designing products before graduating from LSU and continued to do so at night and on weekends for five years after graduation, until Brian Smith and I founded PreSonus in January, 1995.

While educating Odom in technical aspects of the digital industry, LSU’s electrical engineering program initiated the spark to develop Odom’s entrepreneurial skills.

“When I decided to attend LSU, I wanted to be trained in the disciplines of digital electronics and computer programming. LSU's electrical engineering and computer science programs covered 90 percent of what I needed to become a professional design engineer. I learned most of what I still use today from the senior electrical engineering courses. The combination of connected coursework in the areas of digital integrated circuits, microprocessors, programming, linear and nonlinear algebra, and electronics led to my success. It was fun learning new skills that were immediately applicable to the problems I was solving in my designs. Ultimately, LSU had the curriculum with the EEC degree that fit my career goals as a systems and product designer."

Almost 20 years after its humble beginnings in Odom’s garage, PreSonus continues to develop a variety of innovative, professional, and affordable tools for the music-technology/professional-audio industry and the regular music fan.

“Our company designs and manufacturers an ecosystem of related hardware and software that musicians, audio engineers, acoustic architects, contractors, and installers use to create products and systems for the music and audio industries,” said Odom. “You can find our products in recording studios, theaters, schools, churches, radio stations, broadcast studios, and others. We cater to both amateurs and professionals.”

After advancing to global prominence in his career, Odom reflected on how he would advise current LSU students to succeed in achieving their LSU degree.

“Advice I would give to current students is to show up to every training, session, event, etc. that is available to you in your field of interest. Also attend events that are not related but that you may find interesting. I have found that learning never ends, thankfully, and that the more knowledge you have about the world around you, the better prepared you will be to accomplish your dreams. Also, enjoy your college years! You're gonna miss it when you’re done.”

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For more information contact Mimi LaValle,, 225-578-5706