Posts tagged: Liberty Lake
There won't be many more chances to write about Itronix, the tech product line that recently died a quiet death as a small business segment within the belly of defense contractor General Dynamics Corp.
See today's story for the account of how the once-proud Spokane-launched product line went into the dark.
The graphic here is compliments of Syed Khusro, who worked as VP of engineering at Itronix up through last November, including the change of location from Spokane Valley to Sunrise, Fla.
On this occasion, we'll offer up two $5 coffee cards to people who can answer the following two trivia questions correctly. Post answers here, don't send emails because we won't see them anyway.
Question 1: Name three of the companies that at one time owned Itronix. We're talking about starting in 1994 and going forward until 2013.
Question 2: Which of the following companies made a very serious effort at buying Itronix but never did (choose just one)? Asus, Dell, Gryphon, Avista, Motorola, Siemens, Fujitsu.
You need to answer both correctly to win. Extra entries not allowed. Current or past employees of Cowles Co. are not eligible.
The two earliest correct entries get the coffee cards.
The Itronix product line, at one time one of the area's chief tech products, is finished.
General Dynamics, which acquired Itronix in 2005, confirmed this week it's dropped the production of all GD Itronix “rugged” products.
Itronix was a spinoff from metering firm Itron. Its original product line was handheld meters used by utility crews. Over time it expanded into rugged, highly durable laptops and tablets.
In 2009 General Dynamics, one of the nation's largest defense contractors, announced it would move all Itronix operations from Spokane to Florida. That decision resulted in the loss of 380 Spokane jobs.
Last winter General Dynamics plugged the plug. A company spokesman sent this note this week:
“Regarding General Dynamics Itronix products, we continually assess our business and make changes to ensure efficiency in our operations.In September 2012, we determined that it is in the best interest of our customers and business to end-of-life the General Dynamics Itronix branded computing products. We will ensure that customer support for products under warranty obligations will be honored.”
You have to wonder how the phrase “end-of-life” ever became a verb.
As a blogger at RuggedPCReview Blog put it, Itronix was a company whose ownership was always in flux.
“Itronix was started in 1989 as a unit of meter-reading company Itron …It was then sold to rugged computer maker Telxon in 1993. In 1997, telecom testing gear company Dynatech Corp. bought Itronix from Telxon for about $65 million. Dynatech changed its name to Acterna in 2000, but fell on hard times and sold Itronix to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital in 2003 for just US$40 million in cash. Golden Gate held on to it for a couple of years before General Dynamics came along. — The band Jefferson Starship comes to mind here, with Grace Slick charging 'Someone always playing corporation games; Who cares they're always changing corporation names.' ”
Cornerstone Pentecostal Church is converting the former Kia of Spokane showroom and dealership in Liberty Lake into its new church. The dealership, at 21326 E. Mission, was owned by Sydney and Arlene Kane, who had operated it until closing in January 2011.
The purchase price paid by the church was $1.9 million. Cornerstone Pentecostal is leaving its current church building at 12817 E. Broadway.
The church has roughly 300 members, said Pastor Rick Mayo. Mayo said the showroom is being transformed into a vestibule and the service shop is being converted to a 9,000-square-foot sanctuary.
Steve Ridenour worked on behalf of the previous owners. Clark Pacific of Spokane represented the church in the deal.
Mayo said the church has its current site for sale. It is listed for $750,000.
Spokane tech startup CXOWARE has landed its first round of outside funding — a total of $1.25 million from an overseas investor and three regional venture funds.
CXOWARE provides software tools used by large and mid-sized companies to analyze financial risk and other risks that could disrupt their businesses.
Company CEO Steve Tabacek said the funding includes roughly $1 million from Belgian entrepreneur and mathematician Henry Beker. Beker was a founder of U.K.-based information security company Baltimore Technologies.
Beker now has a seat on the CXOWARE board, said Tabacek.
An additional $250,000 came from Spokane Angel Alliance, Spokane’s Inland TechStart Fund and one member of the Seattle Alliance of Angels.
Tabacek started and helped grow Liberty Lake-based IT-Lifeline, a business continuity and recovery services provider. Tabacek still owns 30 percent of that company, but left three years ago when the board wanted a new CEO.
In early 2011 Tabacek and colleague Jack Jones teamed up to start the new company. Jones, a former chief information security officer with Nationwide Insurance, developed a prototype of an analytic tool that would identify the critical areas of business vulnerability.
Those concerns include theft, cyber fraud, external issues like hostile takeover, disruption of the supply chain and other factors. Jones’s breakthrough was coming up with a detailed tool that could estimate a company’s risk, in monetary terms, Tabacek said.
Companies, many of them in the financial services sector, now need to identify risk potential and find ways to prioritize risk mitigation budgets and manage that exposure, Tabacek said.
The company has a staff of five with offices in the McKinstry Innovation Center east of downtown Spokane. Tabacek said the headcount will grow to eight in the next 30 days as the investment is applied to stronger marketing and business development.
The first year and half, CXOWARE relied primarily on his own and Jones’s funding, Tabacek said.
The partners used a Pullman tech company, Integrated Engineering Solutions, to develop the software-as-a-service used by customers. By 2013 Tabacek said they had a dozen paying customers, most of them in financial services and the energy sector.
That success set the stage for seeking outside investment, Tabacek added.
“Risk management and risk reduction are huge right now for public companies in health care, energy and even the non-public sector,” Tabacek
We ran this story today in print and online, about Madrona Venture Group leading an investment round of $4.2 million for 2nd Watch, a cloud services company with its HQ in Liberty Lake.
The press release made a major deal out of 2nd Watch having “premiere” partner status with Amazon Web Services, the cloud-service division of Seattle's large online retailer. While AWS is not 2nd Watch's exclusive service provider, it's the No. 1 option for helping other firms get on the cloud, the release noted.
And we made sure, when researching the story, to ask folks at 2nd Watch about the reliability of AWS in light of another major service disruption over the holiday.
Stories noted that AWS lost some of its data center operations in the East, with the result that at least one large consumer experience, streaming of Netflix video, was disrupted.
So we asked co-founder Jeff Aden if AWS has had any problems that affect 2nd Watch customers. Here's his reply: “I can’t comment on Netflix as I do not know the details of what took place and there has been no postmortem on the topic. 2nd Watch has not had a single High Availability “HA” architecture or HA customer that has had a business impact due to AWS (problems).”
That WSJ.com story cited above noted: “The Amazon unit said it identified and fixed technical problems at its operations in Northern Virginia. They affected other firms besides Netflix, including Scope, a San Francisco social-media company, and software company Heroku Inc.
“Amazon hasn't offered an explanation for the source of the outage, which didn't affect its own online operations. A spokeswoman said Amazon would release a full summary of the outage in the coming days.”
Liberty Lake cloud service company 2nd Watch, Inc. announced it's received $4.2 million funding primarily led by Seattle's Madrona Venture Group, with participation from other private investors.
Launched in 2010, 2nd Watch helps large and midsized companies move IT applications and manage company business processes with cloud-based services.
2nd Watch has become a premiere partner with Amazon Web Services, the growing cloud-service division of Seattle's large Amazon.com operationg.
A company release said the funding will help with growth. The company now has about 30 workers in its Liberty Lake and Seatlle offices.
Madrona is one of the most active Western Washington VC firms. It manages about $1 billion and was an early investor in companies such as Amazon.com, Isilon Systems, World Wide Packets, iConclude, Farecast.com and ShareBuilder.
To read a more complete and detailed version of this story, go to Spokesman.com this evening or look in the Dec. 27 print edition of The Spokesman-Review.
Spokane companies generally aren't pushing the boundaries of cloud technology. Except for a few, and one of the best examples is Liberty Lake-based 2nd Watch, Inc..
We at Officehours haven't called 2nd Watch's number all that often this year. This week we do have one news item that brings them into a bit more focus.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has created a “premier consulting partner” system to establish a top tier of providers it regards as key providers of cloud services. It recently named 2nd Watch part of the program.
A press release noted 2nd Watch is part of 15 companies given the premier consulting partner designation.
The release added: “The achievement … from Amazon Web Services represents a major milestone in our strategic plan. Our success can be attributed to forward-thinking leadership, a highly technical and operationally-focused staff, and numerous positive customer experiences,” stated 2nd Watch co-founder and president Jeff Aden.
“This recognition highlights our commitment to bringing AWS to companies, allowing them to become more agile and freeing up additional capital for strategic business expansion.”
On Monday Itron Inc. announced that Philip Mezey, who's been at Itron since 2003, will step into the CEO and president's role at the end of the year. He's taking over for LeRoy Nosbaum, who is retiring for the second time in three years.
Nosbaum retired in 2009 and then came back in late 2011 to fill in as interim CEO. Nosbaum said at the time he would help until the next CEO of Itron was found.
Mezey, 52, joined Itron after being one of the principals at Silicon Energy, which Itron acquired in early 2003. He was VP of product development for the company, which developed apps and software tools for large customers and utilities.
Mezey said in an interview this week he knows the CEO job at Itron is demanding. The job he's held at Itron, COO of the energy group, has kept him busy traveling. “Traveling is pretty much my full-time job,” Mezey said. The CEO's job will be just as itinerant.
When he doesn't travel, those days he considers his happy breaks from the routine.
He's busy enough that Mezey doesn't have a home in the Spokane area, he said. He still maintains a home in Northern California, where Silicon Energy was based.
As a stroke of timing, Harvard Business Review's online site Monday ran an opinion piece today by Mezey, titled “A New CEO's Reinvention Road Map.” Mezey offers comments there on why he subscribes to the notion that a company has to balance maintaining its core assets while also committing to making big changes.
All I know is, if I worked at Itron, I'd go to the HBR site and post some serious apple-polishing comments. Seriously, guys, here's your new CEO offering some major thoughts and as of Tuesday, not one person has posted a response.
You can thank me later for the suggestion.
About 20 months ago Itron (based in Liberty Lake) announced Malcolm Unsworth would take over as CEO from longtime top guy LeRoy Nosbaum.
That didn't last too long. In September 2011 the company board brought back Nosbaum and asked him to right the ship. Nosbaum said at the time he'd only be aboard as long as it took to get results and help find a successor.
Monday the board chose the successor, Phillip Mezey, who has been with Itron since 2003 and has been 2003. president and chief operating officer for Itron’s Global Energy segment since March 2011.
The 2009 photo above is one of Unsworth on the left, Mezey on the right. Mezey was not yet head of Global Energy at Itron. Does anyone know where Unsworth is today?
Itron is a maker of software, services and meters for electric, gas and electric utilities.
Nosbaum steps down agains on Dec. 31 but will remain a consultant with Itron and assist Mezey as he moves on with the job. Mezey will also become board president after Jan. 1.
Investors remain concerned and hopeful; in 2010 Itron shares lifted off into the high $70 range and then started a long retreat. In fall of 2011 the price per share dropped to around $34.
Since then, the share price is up, but only in the $40-41 range, and investors and customers are hoping to see Itron battle back and have Mezey work some magic with new deals and with existing customers.
Not according to a survey produced by Puget Sound Business Journal. We just took a look at it and we saw not one company from our side of the woods.
Here's the full list of 100. If you spot a company that is from over here, let me know, and I'll buy you a cup of joe for the help:
• 110 Consulting Inc
• Aeroform Inc.
• Affirma Consulting
• AIM Consulting Group Washington LLC
• Akvelon Inc.
• Attunix Corp.
• Audigy Group LLC
• BDA Inc.
• BlackRapid Inc.
• Blazing Bagels and Bakery Inc.
• Blink Interactive Inc.
• BooginHead LLC
• Bridge Partners Consulting LLC
• C2S Technologies
• Cashmere Molding Inc.
• Comm/net Systems Inc.
• Compendium Inc.
• Contour Inc.
• Danforth & Associates Inc. (dba Coldwell Banker Danforth & Associates Inc.)
• DBBest Technologies
• Edifecs Inc.
• Epic Seats Inc.
• Evergreen Capital Management LLC
• GM Nameplate Inc.
• Gravity Payments
• Heatcon Composite Systems Inc.
• Hughes Group LLC
• Hunt Marketing Group
• InDemand Interpreting
• Institute for Corporate Productivity Inc. (i4cp inc)
• JeffreyM Consulting LLC
• Kalani Packaging
• Kotis Design LLC
• Lenati LLC
• Mactus Group LLC
• Madrona Solutions Group Inc.
• Management Services Northwest Inc.
• Matisia Inc.
• Method Homes LLC
• Mountains Plus Outdoor Gear
• Nayamode Inc.
• NIC Global Manufacturing Solutions
• Northwest Modular Systems Furniture
• Nuun & Co.
• Nytec Inc.
• Obot Electric
• Omax Corp.
• omniFAB LLC
• Paracle Advisors LLC
• PartyPail Inc.
• PeopleFirm LLC
• Point It Inc.
• Point to Point Transportation Services Inc.
• Powell-Christensen Inc.
• Produxs Inc.
• Protingent Inc.
• Quote Wizard
• Rainier Financial Group
• Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty
• Red Arrow Logistics
• Redapt Inc.
• RGen Software Solutions
• Rooster Park
• RSVP Real Estate
• Saturna Capital Corp.
• Schakra Inc.
• Servpro of Central Seattle
• Sesame Communications Inc.
• Simplicity Consulting Inc.
• SmarTek21 LLC
• Society Consulting (formerly Pentad Solutions)
• Spectrum Controls Inc.
• Sportswear Inc. (dba Prep Sportswear)
• SST Group LLC (dba Seattle Sun Tan)
• Sterlitech Corp.
• Strong-Bridge LLC
• Summit Imaging
• Tableau Software Inc.
• Teleion Consulting LLC
• Tomlinson Linen Service
• TTF Aerospace LLC
• Turner Exhibits Inc.
• Unify Square Inc.
• Urban Renaissance Group LLC
• Vintners Global Resource LLC
• Wimmer Solutions Corp.
• Winshuttle LLC
• World Medical Equipment Inc.
• Xtreme Consulting Group Inc.
• Yoogi’s Closet Inc.
Today's SR story on three growing Spokane area startups is part of this newspaper's yearlong look at jobs and employment challenges.
The three we focused on are were digital marketing agency Seven2, green online retailer GreenCupboards and Liberty Lake software and app developer Gravity Jack. All three showed the same pattern: gradual and steady growth in a relatively new market or industry, along with the ability to land work from outside the immediate region.
We didn't do one thing, and maybe our readers can help. What are the best examples of fast-growing startups in North Idaho or in the rest of Eastern Washington? We considered Coeur d'Alene-based Pacinian, a company with immense upside. But much of its work to date has been beta development and the firm has yet to announce any one big deal with a major customer.
There are certainly other job-growing startups we didn't include. Please pass along any suggestions by posting them here.
The Spokane area’s largest data center, TierPoint in Liberty Lake, has been acquired by Cequel Data Centers, LLC, a St. Louis-based company with similar operations across the United States.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. But the size of the transaction was “significant,” according to TierPoint CEO Octavio Morales. He said he could not elaborate on the sale.
While the amount of the purchase was not disclosed, a press release noted that five financial services firms were involved: Goldman Sachs, CapitalSource Bank, US Bank, ING Capital and CoBank.
Morales said TierPoint’s 24 current employees will not be affected. The main goal of the deal, he added, was to provide more capital to help the company grow and reach more Northwest customers.
TierPoint operates three data centers at its campus in Liberty Lake. Together the buildings provide more than 30,000 square feet of raised-floor data-center space and almost 4.4 megawatts of power. Its third data center building also pioneered using geothermal cooling water to control building heat.
The founding investor in TierPoint is Bernard Daines, one of the area’s leading technology advisers. Daines is no longer a manager of the company, having sold his interest to the company’s other partners.
TierPoint’s list of regional clients includes several banks and dozens of Northwest companies including f5, Coldwater Creek, IT-Lifeline and Red Lion Hotels.
The decision to acquire TierPoint was largely based on its offering a location in “one of the safest areas of the United States, with relatively low power costs and high fiber connectivity,” said Paul Estes, the CEO of Cequel Data Centers.
TierPoint’s strategic focus will continue on expansion into colocation, managed technology services and cloud computing services, Estes said.
(Photo: 2007 SR photo) TierPoint executives, from left, Bernard Daines, Octavio Morales, Chris Walter and Dan Seliger at their headquarters in Liberty Lake.
The former Mastercraft building in Liberty Lake has been acquired for a new Camping World store, according to the company that brokered the deal.
Camping World, based in Bowling Green, Ky., is one of the nation's bigger sellers of RV equipment, camping equipment and RV merchandise. It's taking over the building used by Mastercraft as its main area showroom and dealership for a line of power boats.
The address is 19651 E. Cataldo.
Camping World will lease the 10,800-square foot facility from Oppidan Investment, a Minnesota firm that will be the project developer. Oppidan paid about $1.8 million for the building, said Chris Bell of NAI Black. Bell represented the seller, Wayne Sorensen, in the transaction.
This will be the first store operated by Camping World in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area. The company has more than 75 stores in more than 30 states.
Oppidan is expected to begin tenant improvements later this month.
Both the Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls school districts are ramping up their broadband connections, installing 2-gigabit fiber connections provided by Fatbeam Inc.
Center Partners Inc.’s new Liberty Lake call center will host an open house Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 11:45 a.m., when a ribbon-cutting is planned.
The company is moving into a 52,000-square foot office last used as the headquarters of Liberty Lake-based Telect Inc., at 1730 N. Madson. Telect has relocated elsewhere in Liberty Lake.
Center Partners will relocate about 400 of its workers who until recently were based in Coeur d’Alene.
Center Partners officials say they hope to hire another 200 workers for the Liberty Lake location. The company handles customer calls for a number of major companies, including a Fortune 500 financial services company.
Applications for jobs can be found at Centerpartnersjobs.com.
Center Partners still has two other North Idaho centers, in Hayden and Post Falls.
Colorado-based Center Partners will lease the building from Jubilation Enterprises, a firm operated by Judi and Bill Williams, founders of Telect.
Reports that Liberty Lake company SprayCool is shut down or out of business are wrong.
Some local blogger ran a comment back in April stating that “Isothermal Systems Research (aka SprayCool) of Liberty Lake is out of business. At their peak, they employed up to 250 people.”
Not accurate. The blogger (who writes anonymously) didn't cite his source, but it had to have been a Spokane Journal of Business item back in late March noting that Isothermal Systems Research shut down as a corporation. ISR was the founding entity that eventually became SprayCool. The JOB story made clear the act had nothing to do with SprayCool.
SprayCool was acquired more than a year ago by Parker Aerospace. Our story is here. Its main products are high-end cooling chassis and enclosures used to protect electronic components in vehicles and aircraft.
SprayCool continues to operate and is doing fine, said Parker spokesperson Alison Dittmeier. The confusion may have resulted from the Parker purchase, which must have explicitly excluded acquiring the ISR name or other ISR-specific assets.
SprayCool had more than 200 workers at one time. Today the workforce in Liberty Lake numbers around 40, though Dittmeier did not disclose the number.
Itron Inc., the Liberty Lake provider of products and services for the utility industry, announced Monday it's reorganizing into two divisions, to move the company to faster, more efficient growth.
Itron will now have two divisions, one for energy, the second for water.
Philip Mezey will become president and chief operating officer—Energy. Marcel Regnier will become president and chief operating officer—Water.
A company release offered this statement: “This new alignment provides a deeper focus on solving Itron’s customers’ critical business challenges through technology investments and global best-practices. Itron’s ability to successfully deliver across many markets reinforces its competitive position.”
Malcolm Unsworth, Itron’s president and CEO, said in the statement: “This reorganization gives us more agility to execute on our vision for the company, which includes growing revenue, expanding our global presence, broadening our product portfolio and streamlining ouroperations.
The goal, he noted, was unifying back-office IT and financial systems and looking for ways to lower operating expenses.
Liberty Lake-based TierPoint recently announced it's finished a major backbone upgrade. For businesses and major enterprises, this amounts to fairly major news. The upgrade involves full 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections all across the company's network
The privately held data operations center and hosting company upgraded both the Liberty Lake and Seattle locations, said Craig Brandvold, TierPoint's marketing manager.
TierPoint has six 10Gbps carrier links that carry Internet in and out of the Liberty Lake site, plus two 10Gbps links that connect that location with its Seattle center.
Said Dan Seliger, the company's chief technology officer: “Those who get their Internet service from us will see a faster connection, very low latency, and even more reliable service, and those who host with us will also find more bandwidth available at very attractive rates.”
Spokane has always had a fair share of do-it-yourself businesses and inventors looking to hit a home run through a clever new thing. See today's business story on Minds-i, a deceptively smart Liberty Lake startup that's redefining the hobby-construction-kit industry.
Another new firm is Ergami, LLC, also based in Liberty Lake. The company recently started selling shelf organizers and items at its Shelfwire.com site. The chrome wire shelves and accessories help residential customers organize their space.
The company president is Joe Felice. He is the former head of design at online travel company Expedia.com.
Shelfwire stocks all of its products at a Spokane Valley warehouse.
“What makes us unique, is our focus on letting customers create their own storage furniture using our easy to use design app, ” Felice said in a release.
Matt Gerber, who’s held key jobs at area firms Itronix and SprayCool, has become CEO of Liberty Lake-based IT-Lifeline.
Gerber, who’s 46, takes the reins of the company started by Steven Tabacek, the firm’s only other CEO. Tabacek told board members he felt it was time for another person to direct IT-Lifeline, said Gerber.
IT-Lifeline provides backup and recovery-of-data services for companies across the region. It’s based in the TierPoint building in Liberty Lake. Most of its customers are health care providers and financial service companies.IT-Lifeline is focusing on gaining new customers in the Seattle area, Gerber said. At present about 30 percent of IT-Lifeline’s customers are from that area. “We want to make that 50 percent in the next two years,” Gerber said.
Gerber held a number of positions, including senior vice president for marketing at Itronix, which was acquired by General Dynamics. He moved to SprayCool where he became CEO in 2007 and then left after the company was acquired earlier this year.
He said Tabacek remains an owner of IT-Lifeline but is pursuing other entrepreneurial interests.