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SMALL CHARLOTTESVILLE COMPANY PLANS RAPID GROWTH; CIT SPONSORED UVA RESEARCH FOR COMPANY

 SMALL CHARLOTTESVILLE COMPANY PLANS RAPID GROWTH;
 CIT SPONSORED UVA RESEARCH FOR COMPANY
 HERNDON, Va., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- INOVA Corp., a Charlottesville, Va., company that built an eight-year reputation as an electronic display equipment distributor, is set to become one of Virginia's newest manufacturing industries, thanks to research funded by Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) at the University of Virginia.
 INOVA's odyssey into self-manufacturing began two years ago, when the company's owners identified a need to design new electronic display products that could take advantage of the latest technologies in the electronic display field.
 Electronic displays are programmable screens that use a matrix of individually addressable dots to create message text or graphic images. Indoor displays most often use light emitting diodes (LEDs) for illumination.
 The owners approached the Center for Semicustom Integrated Systems in UVa's Department of Electrical Engineering. CIT, which founded the center four year ago, agreed to co-fund research with INOVA.
 Next month, if all goes according to schedule, INOVA will put the research into full technological production.
 INOVA specializes in designing electronic display networks and automated multi-display systems for the telecommunications industry. In these environments, INOVA connects directly to the telephone system and shows representatives how many telephone calls are waiting and other vital statistics and information. Telephone calls to AMTRAK, NationsBank, or J.C. Penny, for example, are handled faster and more efficiently with the help of INOVA's electronic displays.
 The company is the brainchild of Tom and Wendy Hubbard, a pair of northern Virginia natives who met and married in Charlottesville.
 The Hubbard couple is ideally suited for a?ging their display manufacturing business. Tom Hubbard is in charge of INOVA's day-to- day operations, including manufacturing and on-site fabrication. Wendy Hubbard is responsible for sales and marketing.
 Begun as a two-person operation in 1985, INOVA now boasts 23 employees and over $2 million in annual sales as a display distributor. The company's new venture in manufacturing and production eventually may net the company over $20 million in annual sales, according to co-founder Wendy Hubbard.
 Interested in the latest technology, eager to overcome limitations that existed in available products, setting their sights on new and different markets, and realizing their potential for creating new and increased business, the Hubbards approached Barry W. Johnson, an associate professor at the CIT Center for Semicustom Integrated Systems.
 Describing their technology needs and concerns, the Hubbards contracted Johnson's center to help INOVA design the computer hardware and software necessary for their new products. Johnson, in turn, put his center staff, along with five UVa graduate students, to work to fulfill the Hubbard's needs.
 Johnson's team has completed the research and testing necessary for the Hubbards to enter the field of on-sight manufacturing.
 "This is just the kind of work that CIT does best," explained former Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton, president of CIT. "Here is a Virginia company that needed new technology, we helped them through one of our research centers, and together we have all benefited from the relationship."
 Johnson, who guided the research project to completion, said, "Tom and Wendy Hubbard are quite a success story. They are a highly competitive, competent husband-and-wife team who found a way to fill a need. They are the 'Mom and Pop' business of the 21st century."
 The Hubbards themselves seem pleased with the scope and quality of work they received from the CIT center at UVa. "We had a number of options on where to seek help," said Tom Hubbard. "But we decided on an approach that included university involvement, hands-on research, and CIT funding to assist us."
 Holton added: "INOVA will be a new manufacturing business in Central Virginia, and it will utilize the resources of over two dozen sub-contractors throughout the state for metals, wiring, electronics and paper products. All this is a great asset for Virginia in terms of employment, revenues and taxes."
 -0- 6/9/92
 /NOTE: A color photograph of an INOVA electronic display board is available either form CIT, 703-689-3013, or INOVA Corporation, 800-637-1077/
 /CONTACT: Michael P. Gleason of Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology, 703-689-3013/ CO: Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology; INOVA Corporation ST: Virginia IN: CPR SU:


DC -- DC021 -- 8466 06/09/92 15:57 EDT
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Date:Jun 9, 1992
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