0904 Takhar

Sarb Takhar poses with the CODiE award Innotas won in 2012 for the Best Project Management Solution.

He took the very first computer science class offered at Yuba City High School in 1981, and a successful tech startup he helped found was just recently sold.

Sarbjit Takhar, a Yuba City native, supported the sale of project portfolio management company Project Arena Inc. to Planview 17 years after helping create the company with partner Demian Entrekin.

The Austin, Texas-based company manages projects and people for large information technology shops.

Though Takhar and Entrekin founded the company, Takhar now owns just a small portion of it. But he still acts as the chief technology officer and runs the operations side of Innotas by Planview, the new name of the company.

"In that (Yuba City) class, I fell in love with computers and how you could write software to make them do anything you could imagine and design," Takhar said in an email. "It really opened me up to technology in general. The evolution of technology was very quick even back then, and I was just fascinated by it."

From Yuba City, he attended Sacramento State, where he earned his bachelor's degree in computer science. During his time as a Hornet, he competed on the computer programming team with Steve Croft, who went on to work with Takhar on Project Arena. They placed ninth in the ACM World Finals in 1988, beating Stanford, which they both say was exciting and a big deal.

In 1988, Takhar went to work for the Army Corps of Engineers in Sacramento, working on an online database for design for all of the construction the corps did worldwide.

In 1999 came Project Arena, an idea stemming from Entrekin, the original CEO. He hired Takhar, whom he met through an online forum, to develop the startup.

Nine months later, Entrekin's brother, Caleb, joined. He is currently the vice president of sales for Innotas. Croft helped run database systems and build enterprise technology systems and processes in the Sacramento office. Caleb and Takhar are the only two left of the original employees.

"There was an electric feeling that you were starting something big," Croft said in an email. "Everyone was highly motivated and excited — we worked hard and played hard, but mostly worked hard."

Around 2006, Takhar said, the company took in a new big funding round, and the venture capitalists brought in their own CEO to run the company and acquired the name Innotas. He said Damian left shortly after this point.

The company was acquired by Planview from August and added "by Planview" to the nameplate.

Takhar said the startup, with offices in Sacramento and San Francisco, did Web development back when no one else had.

"Sarb brought his extensive programming expertise," Croft said in an email. "My knowledge was in database systems, and being able to build enterprise technology systems and processes. I should also mention that Demian Entrekin, co-founder along with Sarb, was our CEO and provided very comprehensive vision about the market segment we were trying to conquer."

Takhar ehoed these sentiments and called his former founder, Demian, "brilliant."

Through the ebb and flow of technology, Takhar has had the interesting perspective of seeing it in its humblest beginnings and said he will be a "techie" for life.

"For 35 years now, I've tried to always keep myself at the bleeding edge of that technology wave," Takhar said in a follow-up email. "It's just something I find fascinating and exciting.It also helps me stay in touch with the younger generation I feel as their lives are increasingly centered around technology… I think always staying on the bleeding edge helps keep my mind active and keeps life interesting."

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