GISCafe Special News Report: Complementary Technologies Mark AGRA Baymont Acquisition

By Susan Smith

Last week Avineon, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia, announced its acquisition of almost all the assets of AGRA Baymont, Inc., Clearwater, Florida, a company with over 20 years experience in AM\FM\GIS, environmental mapping, and photogrammetry services. Avineon has been providing geospatial solutions for over ten years including data conversion, migration, maintenance, systems integration and application development.

GISCafe spoke with Avineon's President & CEO, Karlu Rambhala; VP Business Development -Commercial, Gary Wilkison in Huntsville, Alabama; and Pat Callahan, Executive Vice President of CAD & GIS Operations.

The acquisition will enable Avineon to broaden their reach to a wider customer base and increase their market share, according to Karlu Rambhala. "Lately, Baymont has been our biggest competitor. In most of the opportunities we come across, either we finish number one and they finish number two or vice versa. They also have an excellent reputation for performance like Avineon and they have experience in several areas that we do not."

For example, areas in which the acquisition strengthens Avineon's qualifications include water, wastewater, telecom, gas, and electric utility data management, as well as mapping, photogrammetry and image analysis services. Baymont is very strong in these areas and some time ago acquired the assets of Geonex Corporation, a large imaging and mapping firm that once provided extensive classified mapping services.

Avineon has their eye on expanding into the federal government GIS market, specifically in support of the DOD, NIMA and U.S. Census Bureau. As subcontractor to two large businesses that recently won prime contracts with the Census Bureau, Avineon plans to leverage the experience Baymont personnel have in that area. Baymont has experience in operating a Sensitive/Secured Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF) for government mapping services. Avineon also plans to take on work in environmental mapping and homeland security. "With the Baymont acquisition, we'll be able to get into the federal market segments and service customers in those areas," predicts Rambhala.

Avineon's business is 50 percent federal government and 50 percent commercial. Most of the commercial work is in the CAD & GIS arena. "We work to avoid dependence on a single business segment and this acquisition furthers that objective," says Pat Callahan.

As a result of this acquisition, all of the Baymont employees located in Clearwater, Florida are now working for Avineon. Avineon has also taken over Baymont's Florida office and calls it Avineon - Baymont Division. Avineon's Baymont Division will offer the following services: environmental and photogrammetric mapping for federal, state, and local government agencies; facilities mapping for telephone, electric, gas, water, and waste water utilities, and a number of other geospatial services.

In addition to GIS work, Avineon's experience in the information technology sector includes data warehousing, database development, web services and custom application development, which will benefit existing Baymont customers.

"There has been significant consolidation in this business over the last five or six years," says Gary Wilkison. "The number of vendors has been reduced dramatically. There are a lot of small shops out there but the larger firms are fewer in number. With the market consolidation going on now, clearly we've increased our market share with this acquisition."

Avineon has offices in the U.S., Europe and India. In the U.S. the company has 100 employees, and approximately 300 in India, but they are currently expanding to accommodate the new work they have. "Because of the increased capacity we require as a result of this acquisition, we are actually looking at expanding the scope of operations in India by adding another 100 people in the next few months," says Rambhala.

Avineon is an ISO 9001:2000 registered company and Baymont is ISO 9002 compliant. They also have built in quality control procedures and are strong on delivering quality products for their customers. There is a synergy between the companies in providing complementary, high quality solutions.

"One of the things we're doing is a Process Improvement Initiative, where we look at both companies quality programs, pick out the best parts, then merge them into a new program in the near future," explains Callahan. "We'll continue being ISO 9001 - also yesterday we just passed our ISO 9001 semi-annual audit. The quality system is extremely important nowadays because it penetrates all segments of the business enterprise for us -- not just the processes, but everything - how we deal with the clients, how we bid jobs, how we deal with all our suppliers, how we deal with our employees - it's all wrapped up into one system. It's an integral part of our business culture."


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