A New Chapter Begins for Intergraph

By Joe Francica

Today, one of the key geospatial companies in the world, Intergraph, begins a new chapter in its history with the closing of the sale to Cobalt Holding Company. The company will no longer be publicly traded as private investors seek to strengthen the company’s market position. An article that appeared in the Huntsville Times this past Sunday seemed to indicate that the move will provide Intergraph with more access to capital and will lessen the burdens imposed by federal accounting practices. It also brings to closure an initiative begun by CEO Halsey Wise called the Now-Next-After Next plan for growing the business and focusing the company on its core competencies, said the Times.

In the time that Wise has been on the job, the company bought back millions of shares of stock and cut the employee headcount to position the company more favorably to investors. These moves resulted in a doubling of the stock price. The company reorganized into two divisions, thus consolidating its personnel and software solutions. Intergraph eschewed the notion that it competed solely in the GIS software market and repositioned itself as a solutions provider, beating the drum of open standards.

The company was founded in 1969 as M & S Computing with Jim Meadlock, an ex-Apollo program engineer, at the helm. It built its reputation as a hardware and software firm as it serviced both sides of the computer spectrum from manufacturing RISC-based chips and mini-computers to developing Unix as well as Windows-based CAD and GIS software. In the late '90s it sold its hardware facility and graphics card division and focused solely on software. Later, it moved most of its civil engineering design software to Bentley Systems, a company in which it still holds an equity position.

The Security, Government and Infrastructure (SG&I) division, now led by Ben Eazzetta, is responsible for geospatial software products (GeoMedia) and solutions, and has recently hired key industry personnel such as Peter Batty and Jack Pellicci in addition to retaining company veterans like Umit Basoglu. It is likely that the company will continue to push its geospatial technology as an integration platform on which to sustain solutions for public safety and first responder tracking and monitoring. It has developed an extensive services organization and according to company sources will look to both prime and subcontract its technology on large government contracts.

At this time, no changes appear to be forthcoming as Intergraph will retain its name and continue operating as it always has.

Published Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Written by Joe Francica

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