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Indiana's CyberStars.

Recognizing innovation in information technology

Information technology in Indiana is generating some $6.5 billion in annual revenues and growing 60 percent annually. Despite high-tech's turbulent times, advances in technologies being made here in Indiana are setting standards for innovation. The Indiana Information Technology Association recently recognized some of the stars of the industry with its 2001 CyberStar awards. These strong, young Indiana companies were able to avoid last year's dot-com disaster. Instead of being classified as either "new economy" or "old economy," they continue building the state's future economy.

In addition to recognizing the winners, the association also launched a new foundation that will work to expand the understanding and use of technology across the state.

"The foundation is being created to bring the IT industry's intellectual and financial resources together to help bridge the 'digital divide' in our state," says Steve Ehrlich, senior vice president of operations at Aprimo Inc.

The following individuals and companies were named winners of the 2001 CyberStar awards by a panel of judges representing industry-leading high-tech companies including Eli Lilly, Raytheon, Cisco Systems, Rolls-Royce and Silicon Valley Bank.

OPENGLOBE INC.

Gazelle Company

www.openglobe.net

The 2001 Gazelle Company winner is OpenGlobe Inc., a new high-tech company based in Indianapolis with offices in Greenville, South Carolina, and Los Gatos, California. OpenGlobe was created last year as a spin-off of Escient Technologies to develop products and services that converge new technologies such as the Internet, DVDs, mp3s and other formats of digital entertainment.

OpenGlobe is developing technology that will allow all such formats to be linked through the Internet and used on devices made by original-equipment manufacturers such as Thomson, Compaq and Kenwood. All three major brands joined the company's efforts in its first year of operation.

As broadband Internet access becomes more readily available in homes and offices across the country, OpenGlobe expects an explosion in demand for access not from people but from their machines. The company is positioning itself to provide the technology that will allow a personal computer, DVD player and home-entertainment system to retrieve and play selections seamlessly.

"At OpenGlobe, we are focused on our OEM partner success, providing a wide range of design services that accelerate the capabilities of successful brand-name consumer-electronic manufacturers to deliver the next generation of entertainment products," says CEO Bernie Sepaniak.

JAMES EIFERT

President, Rose Hulman Ventures

www.rose-hulman.edu/rhv

James Eifert was honored for outstanding individual contributions to the technology industry. He serves as president of Rose-Hulman Ventures, a technology-based business incubator and product-development center located in Terre Haute. From a 35,000-square-foot building on a campus-like setting, students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology work directly with high-technology companies that are preparing to launch new products and services.

Drawing from a wide range of academic experience, Eifert was able to secure funding for his vision from the Lilly Endowment.

He oversees dozens of students who assist the staff of Rose-Hulman Ventures in supporting new technology companies that are developing products. One client company is developing business software for wireless devices. In addition to providing the companies with office and laboratory space, the project provides technical and business support and even some venture capital.

"We think it's a terrific education for our students to be directly involved in the product development and technology development process," Eifert says, noting such involvement helps both students and faculty to understand the needs of businesses and practice what they teach. "They say a picture is worth a thousand words; well, experience is worth a thousand pictures.

MARK HILL

President, Baker Hill www.bakerhill.com

Mark Hill also was honored for outstanding individual contributions to the technology industry. His work with information technology is evident as both a founder of Baker Hill, a Carmel company that provides technology for the banking industry, and a leader of the Indiana Information Technology Association.

Since its creation in 1983, Baker Hill has developed information-technology products used at more than 1,000 financial institutions, ranging from small community banks to large financial centers. Baker Hill products allow banks to automate tasks such as financial statement review, analysis of loan applications and evaluation of account profitability.

Hill notes that banks are just one example of how business can no longer look at technology as simply implementing new software in one area to improve efficiency. Instead, he urges companies to utilize systems that work with all departments and allow the benefits of better information to help every employee.

Recognizing such, an approach increases the need for a high-tech workforce in Indiana, Hill became chairman of INITA in 2000 and assisted the association in its membership growth and work with higher education to foster programs that attract and retain students who specialize in high technology. Retaining such talent in the state is an important goal for Hill, who holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University.

"We have the community and the will here in Indiana to make IT an important part of our diverse economy," Hill says. "Information technology is not really an industry of its own, but impacts all industries and we need to make sure that we have the knowledge workers of the future to fuel the entire economy."

SCOTT JONES

CEO, Escient Technologies

www.escient.com

"I've always been the sort of person who likes to build things," says Scott Jones, CEO of Escient Technologies and another awardee for individual contributions to the technology industry.

Escient Technologies, the Indianapolis company he founded in 1996 to converge home electronics and the Internet, currently manages five separate high-tech companies: Escient Convergence, a designer and manufacturer of digital home entertainment devices; Gracenote, a database of music services; PowerFile, a provider of DVD and CD media storage solutions; OpenGlobe, an original-equipment provider for manufacturers such as Compaq and RCA; and Escient Solutions, a provider of networked environments such as home theaters and corporate conference rooms.

A graduate of Indiana University, Jones got his start in the industry at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT in the 1980s and went on to patent voice-mail technology used by a majority of the world's telephone companies. Jones returned to Indiana from Boston intent on developing information technology in the Hoosier state.

"I am interested in building something special here in Indiana," Jones says. "When I came back from Massachusetts, I realized that there were enormous assets that were not being leveraged in this state."

After forming Escient Technologies in 1996, Jones took an active role in attracting additional investment to the state and has been involved in promoting everything from venture capital to direct airline flights to Indianapolis and adoption of daylight-saving time.

Jones is a member of the 21st Century Research and Technology Fund and chairman of the Indiana Technology Partnership and Tech-Net Indiana.

BARNES & THORNBURG

Professional Services Provider

www.btlaw.com

While people might consider the state's largest law firm to be a typical "old economy" business, Don Knebel knows differently. As co-chairman of the Barnes & Thornburg's technology business group, Knebel helped the firm launch BTech, a new practice group devoted to the fast-paced world of high technology.

Drawing expertise from across the firm, the new group handles matters such as technology transactions, intellectual property protection, computer and software protection, Internet business and technologies, venture capital and public offerings, options and equity compensation, labor and employment, and strategic alliances.

Knebel likens BTech to the express lane at a supermarket, noting it also provides the same wide selection but much quicker processing time. With the rapidly changing economic landscape of IT companies, that speed is essential.

"One of the real needs of a modern technology company is the need for quickness, agility and responsiveness, whereas some of the traditional hallmarks of a law firm have been ponderousness and stability," he says. "BTech is a way that we can bring together the resources of our law firm and match them with the needs of our clients."

That effort has resulted in the firm's representation of some 150 Silicon Valley firms, in addition to the Indiana clients it serves from offices in Indianapolis, South Bend, Fort Wayne, Elkhart, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

APRIMO INC.

IT Product Company www.aprimo.com

Helping companies to track and evaluate the return on their advertising dollars has allowed Aprimo Inc., an Indianapolis-based software company, to grow by more than 100 percent each year.

Aprimo's software is helping corporate clients who require accountability in an increasingly competitive advertising environment.

"We remain very bullish in our prospects. We think there's a huge growth opportunity," says Rob McLaughlin, executive vice president. "Quite frankly, it will be seen not so much as a niche but as an industry. It's going to be an industry to support the industry of marketing."

The key to that growth is Aprimo Marketing, a software that allows users to plan, implement, manage and analyze their efforts to deliver a targeted message to prospects. By identifying how and where marketing dollars are spent and comparing that to results, Aprimo helps its clients become more efficient.

In addition, McLaughlin describes Aprimo as a second or third-generation high-tech company that has been able to grow by learning from pioneers in the field.

"We've been able to gather those experiences and build a business plan and a business strategy that really is the best of what was gathered in our community," he says.

Aprimo was also last year's winner of the CyberStar 2000 Gazelle Company award.

ONEX

IT Service Company www. onexioc.com

Onex won the CyberStar award as the top information-technology service company for the second time in a row. The consulting company that provides services in areas such as application development, finance and accounting, executive search, information systems and organization assessment was one of Indiana's fastest-growing private companies in the past year.

At the end of 2000, the company was recognized nationally as one of the Top 100 emerging information technology companies. Onex was acquired in May by New Jersey-based InRange Technologies.

"I believe one of our biggest strengths is people," says Joe Huffine, the Indianapolis native who cofounded the company in 1997 and helped it grow to 250 employees in four cities across the Midwest. "If you think about what we're bringing to clients, it's smart intellectual capital that you can get in and add value,"

Onex cofounder Sally Huffine Breen agrees that finding the right combination of talent to fill the technology needs of clients has been key to the company's success. "It's unique in that when you build a relationship with a client and you get to know them, their business, what makes them profitable and how they operate ... they can turn (to you for) one solution," she says. "It's been a fun ride building this."

JAMES E. GOLDMAN

Outstanding IT Educator www.tech.purdue.edu/cpt

As a professor and assistant department head at Purdue University's Department of Computer Technology, James E. Goldman was recognized as the CyberStar outstanding information technology educator of the year.

"I think a big part of my success here has been the result of my industry experience before I came here and also my ability to straddle both worlds," he says.

Goldman has used his IT contacts to create new curriculum for the school and to forge partnerships with businesses that have provided funding for laboratories where Purdue students learn about systems, from local area networks to the lasers in wireless and fiber optics.

Goldman recalls, "When I first came here, I was really hired to revamp or revitalize one lectureonly course that was an elective called 'Data Communications.' We now have a whole separate bachelor's degree program in telecommunications and network technology."

He continues, "Our students really end up with a unique background. Although they get the hands-on experience with the computer networking equipment, they also have a real good background in information systems in general, application development and database management."

In addition to his work with classes at Purdue University, Goldman also established Dynamic Systems Solutions Group (www.dssg.com), a faculty-owned consulting group that handles customized research projects for corporate clients.

THE SYCAMORE SCHOOL

Outstanding IT Secondary School www.sycamoreschool.org

An independent private school serving 425 gifted students from preschool through eighth grade, the Sycamore School in Indianapolis won a CyberStar award for its use of information technology in the classroom.

Headmaster Nyle Kardatzke believes incorporating technology in the classroom is key to preparing young students for higher education and the workplace of the future. That's why the school has wired its classrooms with computers, VCRs, DVD players, CD writers, digital cameras and other tools of information technology. The school has a T-1 line connecting to the Internet and each computer in the school is networked to the library's database for research.

"Sycamore's role in the future of technology in Indiana is most clearly tied up with the kids we have here. We have some very bright kids and inventive kids who are learning to manage data and information through technology," Kardatzke notes. "Some of them are bound to stay here and have an influence on the business of the future."

Kardatzke says the support for adding the latest technology comes both from parents, who provide most of the funding for programs, and from Indiana foundations and businesses that have been supportive of the school's mission. However, he also credits the inquisitive young minds and their ability to embrace new technology as a key to the school's success.

Kardatzke says, "The receptiveness of the kids and their enthusiasm and responsiveness draws all of us out and causes us to perform in ways we probably wouldn't be able to do anyplace else."
COPYRIGHT 2001 Curtis Magazine Group, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:winners of the 2001 CyberStar awards
Comment:Indiana's CyberStars.(winners of the 2001 CyberStar awards )
Author:HROMADKA, ERIK
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2001
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