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  • Writer's pictureCanvas Inc.

‘Artist at Heart’ Runs Award-Winning Engineering Firm

That which does not kill us makes us stronger, they say. It may have helped make the founder of Canvas Inc. of Huntsville a success.

When Jami Peyton was a freshman at the University of Alabama in Huntsville she was in a car wreck that almost killed her. She took a year off college before returning to work at a building company and taking classes at night.

It was slow going and she wasn’t even making enough to pay for books. Her manager offered to pay her tuition and she switched from teaching to accounting. That degree led to positions with other building companies.

Then came another twist on her path to entrepreneurship. A friend called needing someone to be a cost estimator and analyst at SAIC.

“It’s all about relationships,” she noted.

“I was a cost analyst for a couple of businesses that supported Army or missile programs for 10 years,”said Peyton.

Peyton found that she “loved working with engineers” and became fascinated by learning what types of materials went into various parts. She earned an MBA at Auburn University then a systems engineering certificate from Georgia Tech, later supplemented by engineering classes at UAH.

“To be an effective cost estimator you have to understand how systems work,” she said. “I’m not an engineer but I have a pretty strong understanding of requirements and the products we need to deliver.”

She used her technical expertise to start a company called Canvas in September of 2007.


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