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FYI : Press Release HENTER-JOYCE AND BLAZIE ENGINEERING MERGE

From: Helle BjarnÝ <hbj@visinfo.dk>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2000 10:51:53 +0200
Message-ID: <51657A7817A7D3119023009027DE00510117C3@VIISNY>
To: "W3c-Wai-Ig (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>




----- Oprindelig meddelelse -----
Fra: Tom Ley <tom@blazie.com>
Til: Multiple recipients of list <announce@blazie.com>
Sendt: 11. april 2000 22:05
Emne: Press Release


> FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 11,
> 2000
>
> CONTACTS: Henter-Joyce
> Sharon Spencer
> (727) 803-8000 Blazie Engineering
> Bryan Blazie
> (410) 893-9333 Freedom Scientific
> Steve Leese
> (760) 602-5232
>
>
> HENTER-JOYCE AND BLAZIE ENGINEERING MERGE
> TO FORM FREEDOM SCIENTIFIC INC.
>
> St. Petersburg, FL - Henter-Joyce, the leading U.S. software company
> specializing in products for blind people, has merged with Blazie
> Engineering, the leading U.S. manufacturer of Braille hardware devices, to
> form Freedom Scientific Inc., a new company dedicated to offering a broad
> line of assistive technology products for people with sensory impairments
> and learning disabilities.
> Henter-Joyce, founded in 1987 by Ted Henter, who learned to program
> computers after losing his sight in a car accident, is known for having
> developed the world's best selling screen reader software, called JAWS
("Job
> Access with Speech") for Windows.  By allowing blind people to achieve the
> same or higher productivity in computer-based jobs as sighted people, JAWS
> has increased employment opportunities for people who are blind while
> helping employers and universities meet the requirements of the Americans
> with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Located in St. Petersburg, Florida,
> Henter-Joyce employs 71 people, of whom 31 are blind or visually impaired
-
> the majority working in software engineering, computer programming, sales
or
> technical support.  Ted Henter will stay on with Freedom Scientific as
vice
> president of advanced development for software products.
> Blazie Engineering, founded in 1986 by Deane Blazie, an electrical
engineer
> with an advanced degree in computer science, manufactures a broad line of
> hardware products for blind people, including note takers, Braille
printers
> and Braille displays.  Blazie developed the Braille 'n Speak, the world's
> first note taker - a personal digital assistant (PDA) with Braille input
and
> voice or data output that allows blind users to take notes,  keep their
> address book and update their personal calendars without reliance on
pencil
> and paper.  Blazie now offers five different models of note takers and
holds
> a leading global market share.  Blazie employs 75 people at its facilities
> in Forest Hill, Maryland and Stuart, Florida.  Deane Blazie will stay on
> with the combined companies as vice president for advanced development of
> hardware products.
> Freedom Scientific is headed by Richard H. Chandler, founder and former
> C.E.O. of Sunrise Medical, one of the world's major manufacturers of
> rehabilitation products for the elderly and disabled.  Chandler resigned
> from his post at Sunrise in October, 1999 after 16 years, in order to form
a
> new company focusing on technology-based products for people with
> disabilities.  Freedom Scientific has been funded with an equity
commitment
> from two leading private equity firms, Patricof & Co. Ventures, and Summit
> Partners, each of which has successfully invested in the past in
businesses
> focused on disability products.  Credit lines and additional equity
> investments have been arranged with two major banks, further contributing
to
> Freedom Scientific's capital pool dedicated to the new venture in
assistive
> technology.
> Henter-Joyce and Blazie Engineering will continue to design, develop and
> manufacture their respective product lines in separate business
development
> units, but their sales, marketing, order entry and administrative
functions
> will be combined at the Freedom Scientific Blind/Low Vision Group, to be
> located in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Freedom Scientific's corporate
> headquarters will be in Carlsbad, California.
> Commenting on his decision to merge with Blazie and form Freedom
Scientific,
> Ted Henter said, "Deane Blazie gave me my start in business over 15 years
> ago, and we have been close friends ever since.  Our teams have worked
well
> together on numerous joint efforts over the past several years.  We've
often
> thought it would be a natural alliance to put our two companies together,
> but each of us lacked the necessary capital to make it work.  When Dick
> Chandler came along with access to venture capital sources, the pieces
just
> fell into place."
> Deane Blazie said this about the merger:  "Ted and I are similar in that
we
> both have a love of product and fascination with technical challenges in
the
> blindness field, but we found ourselves increasingly bogged down in
> administrative chores as our companies grew.  The new company's structure
> will allow us each to concentrate on what we do best.  Dick Chandler
brings
> a background in professional management and a track record of building
> enterprises through acquisitions and expanding those businesses
> internationally.  Our new company will benefit from numerous synergies,
> creating the same kind of potential."
> Chandler observed, "Ted Henter and Deane Blazie have both built highly
> successful companies committed to delivering technology based products
that
> open the doors of employment and education for blind and visually impaired
> individuals.  In aggregate, their businesses grew by more than 25% last
> year.  This growth should be further invigorated by this merger, with its
> opportunity for offering customers a broad line of hardware and software
> products, along with improved levels of customer service and support.  Ted
> and Deane will continue to provide strong leadership voices in the
blind/low
> vision industry.  Freedom Scientific, meanwhile, will seek additional
> acquisition opportunities in related assistive technology markets, such as
> products for the learning disabled and speech or hearing impaired."
> Freedom Scientific's mission is to change the world for people with
sensory
> and learning disabilities by creating innovative, technology based
products
> and solutions.
>
> ###
>


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Received on Wednesday, 12 April 2000 04:57:49 GMT

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