Off topic: Interesting press release

Buddy Brannan davros at
Tue Apr 11 16:37:36 EDT 2000

This is completely off-topic, but considering the rumors flying around on
Blazie coming out with a Linux notetaker, I thought it might be interesting
to some.

The first word that comes to mind for me is:


>From another list. ...

[Headers deleted]

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 16:07:06 -0400 (EDT)
From: Tom Ley <tom at>
Reply-To: announce at
To: Multiple recipients of list <announce at>
Subject: Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           April 11,

CONTACTS:       Henter-Joyce
Sharon Spencer
(727) 803-8000  Blazie Engineering
Bryan Blazie
(410) 893-9333  Freedom Scientific
Steve Leese
(760) 602-5232


St. Petersburg, FL - Henter-Joyce, the leading U.S. software company
specializing in products for blind people, has merged with Blazie
Engineering, the leading U.S. manufacturer of Braille hardware devices, to
form Freedom Scientific Inc., a new company dedicated to offering a broad
line of assistive technology products for people with sensory impairments
and learning disabilities.
Henter-Joyce, founded in 1987 by Ted Henter, who learned to program
computers after losing his sight in a car accident, is known for having
developed the world's best selling screen reader software, called JAWS ("Job
Access with Speech") for Windows.  By allowing blind people to achieve the
same or higher productivity in computer-based jobs as sighted people, JAWS
has increased employment opportunities for people who are blind while
helping employers and universities meet the requirements of the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Located in St. Petersburg, Florida,
Henter-Joyce employs 71 people, of whom 31 are blind or visually impaired -
the majority working in software engineering, computer programming, sales or
technical support.  Ted Henter will stay on with Freedom Scientific as vice
president of advanced development for software products.
Blazie Engineering, founded in 1986 by Deane Blazie, an electrical engineer
with an advanced degree in computer science, manufactures a broad line of
hardware products for blind people, including note takers, Braille printers
and Braille displays.  Blazie developed the Braille 'n Speak, the world's
first note taker - a personal digital assistant (PDA) with Braille input and
voice or data output that allows blind users to take notes,  keep their
address book and update their personal calendars without reliance on pencil
and paper.  Blazie now offers five different models of note takers and holds
a leading global market share.  Blazie employs 75 people at its facilities
in Forest Hill, Maryland and Stuart, Florida.  Deane Blazie will stay on
with the combined companies as vice president for advanced development of
hardware products.
Freedom Scientific is headed by Richard H. Chandler, founder and former
C.E.O. of Sunrise Medical, one of the world's major manufacturers of
rehabilitation products for the elderly and disabled.  Chandler resigned
from his post at Sunrise in October, 1999 after 16 years, in order to form a
new company focusing on technology-based products for people with
disabilities.  Freedom Scientific has been funded with an equity commitment
from two leading private equity firms, Patricof & Co. Ventures, and Summit
Partners, each of which has successfully invested in the past in businesses
focused on disability products.  Credit lines and additional equity
investments have been arranged with two major banks, further contributing to
Freedom Scientific's capital pool dedicated to the new venture in assistive
Henter-Joyce and Blazie Engineering will continue to design, develop and
manufacture their respective product lines in separate business development
units, but their sales, marketing, order entry and administrative functions
will be combined at the Freedom Scientific Blind/Low Vision Group, to be
located in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Freedom Scientific's corporate
headquarters will be in Carlsbad, California.
Commenting on his decision to merge with Blazie and form Freedom Scientific,
Ted Henter said, "Deane Blazie gave me my start in business over 15 years
ago, and we have been close friends ever since.  Our teams have worked well
together on numerous joint efforts over the past several years.  We've often
thought it would be a natural alliance to put our two companies together,
but each of us lacked the necessary capital to make it work.  When Dick
Chandler came along with access to venture capital sources, the pieces just
fell into place."
Deane Blazie said this about the merger:  "Ted and I are similar in that we
both have a love of product and fascination with technical challenges in the
blindness field, but we found ourselves increasingly bogged down in
administrative chores as our companies grew.  The new company's structure
will allow us each to concentrate on what we do best.  Dick Chandler brings
a background in professional management and a track record of building
enterprises through acquisitions and expanding those businesses
internationally.  Our new company will benefit from numerous synergies,
creating the same kind of potential."
Chandler observed, "Ted Henter and Deane Blazie have both built highly
successful companies committed to delivering technology based products that
open the doors of employment and education for blind and visually impaired
individuals.  In aggregate, their businesses grew by more than 25% last
year.  This growth should be further invigorated by this merger, with its
opportunity for offering customers a broad line of hardware and software
products, along with improved levels of customer service and support.  Ted
and Deane will continue to provide strong leadership voices in the blind/low
vision industry.  Freedom Scientific, meanwhile, will seek additional
acquisition opportunities in related assistive technology markets, such as
products for the learning disabled and speech or hearing impaired."
Freedom Scientific's mission is to change the world for people with sensory
and learning disabilities by creating innovative, technology based products
and solutions.


Buddy Brannan, KB5ELV
Email: davros at
Voice mail: 877-791-5298
All opinions are all mine!

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