Two established web development companies combine to grow their capabilities in Southwest Virginia

Henry Bass and Mary Miller finish the legal signatures at Creekmore Law.

Henry Bass and Dr. Mary Miller finish the legal signatures at Creekmore Law.

Automation Creations, Inc. (ACI) has just completed the acquisition of Interactive Design and Development, Inc, (IDD) growing their total workforce to 22 full-time employees in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. Both companies benefit from the merger, increasing their capabilities and skillsets with a long history of software and multimedia development, for both regional and global customers. ACI develops web and mobile software for businesses with a focus on computer and database programming. IDD develops interactive web and kiosk experiences, focusing on user experience and multimedia.

Henry Bass, founder and president of ACI, says the merger made perfect sense from the beginning: IDD operates in a complimentary space, and the two companies have worked together on multiple projects over the last two years. ACI has senior software developers and database expertise, which combines well with IDD’s project managers, business development and software programming talent.

“We are delighted to formalize our ongoing relationship with the talented staff of IDD” said ACI President Henry Bass. “The result is a stronger web, mobile and kiosk development team. We’re very proud of the tremendous employee experience from both companies.” ACI celebrated its 20th anniversary this June, while IDD celebrated their 25th anniversary in July.

The combined company, operating as ACI, has retained all employees in the acquisition and boasts a merged workforce of 22, with no layoffs and strong potential to grow in size with the new capabilities. Dr. Mary Miller, IDD’s President, said, “IDD brings an exceptional kiosk development team, leveraging a content management system we developed for cloud-based kiosk updates, maintenance and monitoring.” The IDD team has been working on a project for the Smithsonian museum since the beginning of this year.

ACI adds its web hosting capability to IDD’s offerings. Jim Wyers, CEO of ACI noted “Over 250 local customers enjoy the fact that their web, email and applications are hosted locally. If a customer has trouble, we are the only call they need to make.” noting that other firms or hosting environments may require a customer to contact multiple services to track down a problem with email or website issues between the designer, the domain name server, the web site host and email host.

ACI pursued this merger as part of a growth strategy, augmenting a strong data-driven web programming team with user experience expertise from IDD, their software development talent in .Net content management, and the cloud-kiosk market. Dr. Miller’s business development talent combined with educational technology is another key component to the expanded company’s growth plans.

“From a customer perspective, both companies have a strong brand, and continue to offer the services our customers value.” Said Laureen Fleming, commercial projects director. Dr. Miller is an engaging speaker with a wealth of multimedia and web experience. She represents the first technical marketing director of ACI. “We have increased capacity to handle the exciting projects both companies have lined up, and can offer faster response to both existing customer needs and new projects Mary brings” said Fleming.

Dr. Mary Guy Miller

Dr. Mary Guy Miller, founder of Interactive Design and Development, Inc.

Both companies have been active in the Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council, serving in leadership positions. Dr. Miller was president of the RBTC from 2009 through 2010, is a member of the RBTC Hall of Fame, and is active in 4H leadership. Henry Bass chairs the RBTC member development committee, serving as an advocate for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) development among the future workforce of the Roanoke Blacksburg region. He also serves as the STEM co-chair on the board of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. Henry is the Vice President of New River Robotics Association, a volunteer in the non-profit, where he is an assistant coach for the Tuxedo Pandas competitive robotics team and head judge for the Roanoke Blacksburg FIRST Lego League competition in November. Both Miller and Bass agree that giving back to the community is fundamental to corporate and regional success.

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ACI Expands, Publishes Google Virtual Walkthrough

Automation Creations, Inc. expanded its offices by assuming the adjoining space in the VT Corporate Research Center.  To showcase our new workspace, our graphics designer, Ed Harvey, decorated each of our whiteboards with exciting images of ACI, our clients and projects over the last 18 years.  Then, to share our enlarged floorplan, we had a Google-certified photographer create a virtual walkthrough and publish the tour on Google Maps.

The total office space is just over 4,300 square feet, with two enclosed meeting rooms, and a third brainstorming area. “The result was simply astonishing,” Exclaimed Henry Bass, owner and President. “We had half of our team across the hallway before, and we knew bringing everyone under one roof would improve communication, but the new space, with meeting rooms, whiteboards, and Ed’s fantastic artwork, really improves our atmosphere and professional image.”

ACI Entrance photo

The entrance to Automation Creations, Inc at 2020 Kraft Drive, 3rd floor

 

The Google Virtual Tour is a relatively new feature offered by Google Maps, intended to allow web visitors to preview stores, museums or facilities.  Henry Bass admits that most of ACI customers don’t need a virtual tour of the office, but there are far-reaching benefits to having this tour online. “Not only can our customers get a better feel for our facilities and workspace, but this also helps me recruit the kind of top developers who can fit with our outstanding team.  In addition, by showing our own offices, we can show customers what a Google tour can do for their own website and Map presence.”

Visit the ACI virtual office on our webpage, or on Google Maps.

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