December 12, 2005
Bridging the Gap
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The gap referred to in the title is the gap between mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. Most final products are electromechanical in nature. The design must take into account both electrical and mechanical issues. Too often the electrical design is handed off, thrown over the wall so to speak, to the mechanical engineers.
Flomerics is a public company founded in 1998 in the UK who is trying to bridge this gap. In 1995 Flomerics went public on AIM (Alternative Investment Market) part of the London stock exchange, like Celoxica as described in a recent editorial. The firm offers an Integrated Analysis Environment (IAE) for the physical design of electronics with products for thermal management of systems and boards, electromagnetic compatibility and package level thermal characteristics. I had an opportunity to speak with Gary Carter who joined Flomerics in January as COO and became CEO in September. Gary had been Managing Director and Vice President of European Sales for ANSYS.
Tell me a little about you background.
Northern Europe operations and worked my way through there until I left there at the beginning of this year. At that point I was running the European sales organization for ANSYS. I took the opportunity to join Flomerics at the beginning of this year when they were looking for a new chief executive, an opportunity to move into an environment where I was responsible for a company as opposed to just the European part of it. Albeit a much smaller company, it was something which was local and which I could really get involved with at the highest level.
In the interest of non-disclosure, I was co-founder and ran development at Aries Technology, a pioneering firm in mechanical CAE for the average engineer.
(We will skip the walk down memory lane and discussion of common friends and acquaintances) “Amazing piece of code, well ahead of its time”
ANSYS is a much larger company and offers a much broader product portfolio than Flomerics. What attracted you to this company that has been around for about 15 years with revenues around 10£ million for the past few years? How has the transition gone?
it actually went down from 2001 to 2003. That's when the industry went through a recession. Up until 2001 the average growth year to year had been around 23%. I am looking forward, now that the industry is picking up, to working with the company to build strong growth again. It's been a lot for me to get used to. Of course the electronics industry is not one that I have been familiar with. There has been quite a steep learning curve, learning about the EDA industry, the players there and so on but I am getting there.
The former CEO (David Tatchell) is now CTO and still a board member. He ran the company for over a dozen years. How has the relationship between the tow of you gone?
one. David will be around yet in his CTO role which is great. It has enabled me to pick up the CEO duties.
The company has a major product called FLOTHERM that accounts for 75% of the revenue. In recent years, the company has tried to broaden the product portfolio. Would you comment on that?
bridge the gap between electronic and mechanical engineering which is the space that Flomerics has set itself up in. Those products are helping in that. We made an acquisition early this year, an Hungarian company called MicReD (Microelectronics Research and Development Ltd) who are producing testing software for evaluation of the thermal properties of things like dies and LEDs. That very much complements the software and helps us diversify the product offering.
Is the Hungarian group the only group outside of the UK?
The Hungarian group obviously focuses on their hardware and the software to support their hardware. We also have a development center in Bangalore, India. This is something that was set up a couple of years ago which we have been building since. It represents, I would guess, about 30% to 40% of our development team.
How has that worked out?
It has worked out well. Obviously there is a competitive marketplace and you have to look at the most effective way to develop the tools. We started out relatively small two years ago and built it quite quickly. There are different challenges in managing a development group like that. But it has worked out well. We have put things like QA and testing services out there which were easier to transpose into India. But we are still focused on main development project management is all driven from the UK.
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-- Jack Horgan, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.
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