The Iowa linebacker from 2002-05 registered 453 tackles during his collegiate career — tops among Ferentz-era Hawkeyes and the 18th-best career mark among all Football Bowl Subdivision players since 2000.
After an illustrious football career that included five years in the NFL, the former Hawkeye entered into another competitive, fast-paced industry that changes course more rapidly than a running back in the open field.
Hodge, 32, is the founder and creative director of Professional Interactive Solutions in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Created in 2011, the company provides custom software, web services, graphic design, and mobile application development to clients looking to build their online presence and grow their business.
He originally created the company as a way to bridge the gap between sports and technology, providing web design and mobile app development for professional athletes. Now, Hodge and his team of developers, designers, and project managers lend their services to a variety of businesses and non-profit organizations.
“Most people have ideas on how to incorporate technology into their business, but they don’t have the resources or the know-how,” he said. “We help our clients understand how to use technology to better brand their business and increase their revenue.”
Considine has received numerous compliments on their company website, and credits the success to Hodge’s knowledge, creativity and willingness to do whatever it took to construct a unique finished product.
“I enjoyed working with Abdul,” Considine said. “We had a real need to get a website built, and it was a good chance for me to get back in touch with an old friend. As you get older and get busy with family stuff, it’s difficult to stay connected with your former teammates and friends. This business partnership has been a great chance to get reconnected with Abdul, and I look forward to working with him and his business for years to come.”
Hodge doesn’t have a technology background. In fact, the former linebacker didn’t own a computer until the Green Bay Packers drafted him in 2006. He was always fascinated with video games, electronic devices and other technology.
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Driven to be an entrepreneur in a dynamic business, he devoted his time to learning the ins and outs of the industry.
“I started following technology like I would a sports team,” he said. “I believe you have to be all in with anything you’re doing. I stopped reading ESPN.com and started reading Tech Crunch, Wired, Mashable, and other technology sites to better understand the industry.”
The former Hawkeye believes not having the technology background gives him an edge in the business, allowing him to better relate with clients and explain complex concepts in an easy-to-understand way.
In addition to running his business, Hodge has also developed a mobile app that he hopes will revolutionize rewards programs. The app allows users to create teams and earn rewards for shopping at the same stores and restaurants. He hopes to launch the app this fall.
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“I think we’re on to something pretty cool, something that could really disrupt the industry,” he said. “With technology, there’s a certain point where you have to be a visionary. Your instincts have to take over. Guys like Steve Jobs and Mark Cuban — they saw something other people didn’t see. I’m praying I can have those same instincts.”
If his technology instincts are anything like his intuition and vision on the football field, the former Hawkeye might just have the next great idea.
Simply put, Hodge was a tackling machine.
He led the Hawkeyes in the stat category from 2003-05, and he ranks third in school history in career tackles. Since 2000, just seven FBS players have registered more career solo tackles than Hodge’s 289. Among Hawkeyes, only Larry Station had more solo stops.
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Chad Greenway and Hodge formed a nearly-unstoppable linebacker duo, leading an Iowa defense ranked among the best in the nation. The team went 39-12, earned a share of two Big Ten titles, and won a pair of bowl games during Hodge’s time with the program.
“Iowa laid the foundation for where I was going for the rest of my life,” Hodge said. “The system and structure of the Iowa program was all about being humble and down-to-earth. It didn’t matter how good you were on the field, you had to do good stuff off the field. Many schools can’t say that. That’s how you build character and build trust.”
The former linebacker remains involved in the football community, acting as a mentor for high school athletes. He participates in a bus tour each summer with Gain Sports, an organization that assists prep football players with the college recruiting process. The athletes are able to pick Hodge’s brain as they travel to numerous FBS and FCS schools to attend college camps and recruiting evaluations.
Owning a business has given Hodge the flexibility to remain involved in football, and set his work schedule in a way that doesn’t sacrifice his family life. The married father of two is able to volunteer his time coaching his 13-year-old daughter and five-year-old son.
Professional Interactive Solutions has grown at a steady pace, adding three to five quality clients each month. Technology continues to evolve, and businesses keep looking to Hodge for his insight and creativity.
“The toughest thing about technology is it’s always changing,” he said. “I’d love to continue to build our brand, and keep helping businesses effectively use technology. Our success is all about working with the right clients and servicing them well. Those clients become our ambassadors and share their positive experience.”