THE "ORIGINAL" ACUITY
Acuity got its start in the early 90’s as a VAR for leading MCAD software brands such as CADKey and SDRC I-Deas. We became one of the largest distributors of those products in the Western US, and sold these products into some of the most respected companies in the region. In 2001, it was announced that SDRC and UGS, two of the most renowned (and competitive) software vendors in the market, were to merge under the ownership of EDS. Acuity’s business was strengthened by this merger and the addition of the NX (Unigraphics) products, along with Teamcenter and Solid Edge (which had been purchased by UGS in 1998).
THE IMPACT OF 9/11
Like so many companies, we experienced a dramatic downturn in our business after 9/11. The economic effects of that horrible day began to appear for us in early 2003, and we weathered that storm as best we could, for as long as we could. At that time, I was a senior salesperson in charge of managing many of our key customer relationships. By the spring of 2004, many of Acuity’s employees had been laid off and Tom was ready to transition into his own start-up. In July of 2004, my wife and I made an offer to acquire Acuity’s assets and customer relationships. Our offer was accepted and my journey as a business owner began.
STARTING FROM SCRATCH
I remember it like it was yesterday. When I went to work that first Monday morning as owner of Acuity, it was me and my wife in an office with a desk, a telephone, and a laptop. That’s it. We had a collection of existing customer relationships in the Pacific Northwest, Doug and Andy worked as technical contractors, and we had a strong partnership with UGS (now Siemens PLM Software). That was enough to get us to the next level.
GROWTH AND CHANGE
By 2007, thanks in large part to a recovering aerospace industry, we were able to hire back almost all of the “original” Acuity’s key technical people, add a staff of sales/marketing/administrative people, and acquire 2 small channel partners in Southern California. By the end of 2010, we had expanded our footprint into the Midwest with the purchase of another Siemens PLM channel partner out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. We had a staff of 15 and supported products from Siemens PLM Software as well as Kubotek Validation Tool, Invention Machine (Goldfire), JETCAM, Vistagy, and Moldex3D.
BACK TO OUR ROOTS
Last year, we made the tough decision to sell our Midwest business in order to focus on our core NX, Solid Edge, and Teamcenter customers. Although the sale resulted in a parting of ways for a few of our employees in the Midwest, we feel very good about this decision in hindsight because it has allowed us to focus on our core customers and core skill sets. Business is good (and getting better each quarter). Our customer relationships are much stronger due to our ability to respond more quickly to their needs and truly understand their business challenges.
2014, LOOKING AHEAD
In our tenth year, I have much to be thankful for. Acuity has survived an economy and business challenges that put many of my colleagues out of business. Our customers are growing and succeeding with the software and services we provide. The Acuity team is truly the best in the business. Each one of them is invested emotionally and mentally in our core mission of providing the utmost value and attention to our customer relationships. Without them, without you, we would not be where we are today.
Thanks for being part of this journey.
To the next ten years…