Ron Reed launched PacifiCAD in his Chattaroy home in 1989 with a computer and a plotter.
Computer-aided design was transforming how architects, engineers and manufacturing companies did their drafting, modeling and design work. Reed recognized the new technology’s potential.
During a 28-year run, the business owned by Reed and his wife became a dominant force in Eastern Washington. PacifiCAD sold Autodesk software and provided consulting services.
In mid-March, the Reeds sold the company to IMAGINiT Technologies, a division of Rand Worldwide.
Reed said he and his wife, Debbie – PacifiCAD’s chief financial officer – were ready to retire, but the couple wanted to leave their customers and 30 employees in good hands.
“I think it’s a good move for Spokane and for our design community,” he said of the sale. “I always wanted to grow and provide a higher level of service.”
IMAGINiT has about 350 employees, with more than 100 technical support staff and 40 offices in the U.S. and Canada.
The company will keep PacifiCAD’s Spokane office in the Steam Plant building and retain the staff in Spokane, Seattle and Boise. Reed will continue working through the end of April to help with the transition.
As a young adult, Reed played in rock bands and did a variety of odd jobs. In his early 30s, he enrolled at ITT Technical Institute earned an associate degree in applied science.
He went to work for Telect, where he persuaded the founders, Bill and Judi Williams, to buy Telect’s first CAD system. While Reed worked there, he spent several years teaching CAD part-time at Gonzaga University.
“That’s where all the architects and engineers in town were going to learn CAD,” Reed said. “I got to meet almost all my future customers while I was teaching at Gonzaga. It was a huge opportunity.”
When Reed left Telect, former students heard he was available and started hiring him for projects.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” he said.
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