Pang Chartisathian Hartman ‘97 rolls with Frogdice
July 28, 2011 By Cindy Long
Inc., a Lexington-based computer game company, in 1998. The
company has several games on the market and one in production.
When Pang Chartisathian Hartman ’97 was studying biology at Centre, she couldn’t have known that her path would lead her to co-ownership of Frogdice, Inc., a company based in Lexington that creates role playing (RP) and virtual world computer games.
“This was not something I consciously decided,” Hartman says. “I was at Vermont Law School when Brownell Combs '97 invited me to play an online game with him called ‘Threshold RPG.’ We wanted to use the game as a way to keep in touch while we were both attending different schools.”
“Not only did we keep in touch, but I ended up working for the game after I met the owner and programmer, Michael Hartman, in 1998,” she continues. “Michael and I got married in 2001, and Brownell was a groomsman at the wedding.”
While biology and law don’t seem like courses of study that would lead to a career in online gaming, Hartman gives Centre much of the credit for giving her the skills and the self-confidence to make that jump.
“My liberal arts education has allowed me to think that I can literally do anything with my life,” Hartman says. “It allowed me to think outside of the box in a very real way that helped me conceptualize a career in making video games.
“I come from a strict Asian background, and even though my parents have always encouraged me in every way possible, they and I felt cultural demands pushed me towards certain career paths,” Hartman continues. “The fact that they accepted me attending Centre was a huge deal for the entire family, and it allowed me to break all the molds in career choices.”
Frogdice, Inc. recently competed and won both the judge and audience awards at Five Across, a gathering of entrepreneurs, investors and service providers from Lexington. Sometimes referred to as “Lexington’s own ‘Shark Tank,’” the Five Across meeting features presentations from local entrepreneurs who pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.
After winning the Five Across Presentation, Frogdice was awarded an $80,000 investment from the Commonwealth of Kentucky that the company will use to purchase servers and software for development of future games.
Along with “Threshold RPG,” “Primordiax” is another title available from Frogdice, and “Coin and Carry” is in production.
“I met so many unique individuals at Centre, many who have encouraged me to be different,” Hartman says. “They not only accepted my uniqueness, they encouraged it. In fact, Brownell will be one of our first outside investors as we move forward with our company and continue to grow. He's served as a friend and advisor of the company for years now, and he's someone I met in my peer group my first day at Centre. I still remember him holding up an ‘L’ that he had cut out of paper and colored brown in order to tell us how to say his name. Nathan Billings '96 has also been one of our long-time supporters and now serves as our legal advisor.
“I can't even begin to tell you how often I use what I learned from the biology program at Centre, especially things that I learned from Dr. Anne Lubbers,” she continues. “So many people tell me that they don't use the things that they learned in college at work. I use that knowledge almost every day.”
To find out more about Frogdice, Inc., visit the company website at www.frogdice.com.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 24th among all the nation's colleges and universities and has named Centre No. 1 among all institutions of higher education in the South for two years in a row. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, click here.