The News & Observer

Raleigh, N.C.

December 23, 1995

Skilled workers lure firm

David Ranii, Staff Writer

Copyright © 1995, The News & Observer

A start-up software company with high growth potential has decided to move to the Triangle from Troy, N.Y., because of the area's skilled labor force.

Optimum Technologies Inc. is the first company attracted to the state by Bill Williams, a Department of Commerce recruiter who was hired in November to focus on entrepreneurial companies.

Optimum, which has 10 employees and expects to hire 30 to 40 people during the next 12 months, is negotiating for office space in Morrisville. Even if those negotiations fall through, however, the company is committed to moving to the Triangle, said Siu Shing Tong, the company's chief executive and co-founder.

Optimum is developing software that it says will significantly reduce the engineering design time required for electrical and mechanical components by automatically testing different designs and determining which one is best. Eventually, the technology in the company's ISIGHT software could be applied to a wide range of complex business decisions, such as financial investments, Tong said.

"The market potential is very large," he said.

Williams said that Optimum is just the kind of start-up company the state wants to attract: a potentially high-impact company with leading-edge technology.

Optimum was ready to move to Virginia Beach, Va., when the Commerce Department and MCNC stepped in and started to sell North Carolina, Tong said. The company was so enamored with the area's work force that it opted for the Triangle even though Virginia offered incentives worth more than $200,000 and North Carolina offered no incentives.

"That is a reflection of how impressed I am with your city," Tong said.

The only thing that could stop Optimum from moving here is a failure to find suitable office space in what is an extremely tight real estate market.

Tong and co-founder David Powell previously worked in General Electric Corp.'s research and development laboratory, where they helped develop a precursor to ISIGHT called Engineous. Engineous was used to design a turbine for the engine used in the Boeing 777, Tong said.

ISIGHT is in beta testing - testing done by a small group of customers - and should be ready for sale in about six months, Tong said. ISIGHT is being designed for use on both workstations and personal computers.

Used with permission.
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Copyright © 1995, The News & Observer.

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