WPI Wire, Vol. 10, No. 3 - Fall 1996

Beans rise to the top

It just goes to show that the folks at the (Worcester) Telegram & Gazette who give out the VISIONS 2000 Enterprise Award know what they are talking about. Back in 1992, Robert W. Bean '82ME, '85ME (M.S.) was one of the winners of the prestigious prize. Today Bean is president and CEO of Baystate Technologies, Inc., a worldwide developer of software for the mechanical design market, and his wife, Karen, '86 (M.B.A.), is the company's chief operating officer.

Mr. Bean Mrs. Bean Robert taught in WPI's Manufacturing Engineering Application's Center's (MEAC) Robotics Laboratory in the mid-1980s. He and Karen quit their jobs to found Baystate in 1989. They took out a home equity loan and borrowed on their credit cards to finance their new company, which is located in Marlborough, Mass.

The gamble paid off. In 1994, Baystate was listed as a Top 15 Growth Company for Central Massachusetts by Worcester Business Journal. The company had annual sales of $1.5 million in 1995, sold approximately $2 million worth of product in the first six months of 1996, and currently employs 23 people.

Baystate's first product was DRAFT-PAK®, a byproduct of a robotic system Robert designed on a personal computer using a computer-aided design software package called CADKEY®. DRAFT-PAK filled many of the mechanical design needs that were not met by CADKEY; it soon became the No. 1 third-party add-on to CADKEY, he says.

CADKEY Box Since 1989, more than 12,000 DRAFT-PAKs have been sold to Fortune 500 organizations, as well as to smaller engineering/design firms. As the first-of-its-kind software package, DRAFT-PAK has provided engineers in these companies with a computer-based design handbook packed with screws, nuts, bolts, gears, rivets, dowels and springs in a range of formats. "Just a few clicks of the mouse and the desired part appears on screen, much like a design catalog - except this catalog is on a floppy disk," Robert says.

DRAFT-PAK, he notes, is the only software package of its kind to be developed for use with four PC-based CAD systems: AutoCAD(R) (the PC-CAD market leader), CADKEY®, MicroStation® and Vellum®. "It has been especially well-accepted in the mechanical PC-CAD marketplace as a companion to the CADKEY product."

Last summer, in response to this acceptance, Baystate acquired the CADKEY mechanical product line from MCS Inc., (formerly CADKEY, Inc.) of Windsor, Conn.

"Basically, CADKEY is a perfect acquisition for us because many CADKEY customers use our popular DRAFT-PAK product," Robert says. "The CADKEY line will extend Baystate into the marketplace as a primary mechanical CAD software developer and significantly increase our gross revenue."

According to Karen, just prior to taking on CADKEY products, Baystate received a $200,000 Economic Stabilization Trust loan from the Industrial Services Program of Massachusetts to finance the company's next level of growth and to help increase manufacturing jobs within the state. "The funding will be used to enhance our software product development, expand our global distribution and, in the process, create high technology jobs," said Karen.

In July 1996, Baystate entered into a strategic business relationship with Kubotek Corporation of Osaka, Japan, which will invest $1.25 million in Baystate for an equity position in the company, and for the exclusive right to develop and market CADKEY mechanical design software in Japan.

"Kubotek is a unique partner," Robert explains, "because they have optimized the Japanese version of CADKEY for their own internal use in designing state-of-the-art optical inspection systems. And, by utilizing Kubotek's technical staff, we will have virtually 'round-the-clock software development on CADKEY."

Robert and Karen say that their success in expanding Baystate is due, in part, to the creative and cooperative efforts of the members of their staff, including WPI alumni David Saulnier '90ME, his wife, Amabel Yee Saulnier '87ME - '90MFA (M.S.), John Dunkelberg '92CS, Shawn Zimmerman '93ME, Qingyang Zhang '93ME (M.S.), and John McCullough '93ME.

Regarding the immediate future of Baystate, Robert says, "We are focusing 100 percent on the current and future needs of mechanical CAD customers. Our product enhancement plans will include significant technology improvements, resulting in a broad range of new opportunities for CADKEY, providing one of the best values and most user-friendly systems on the market today."

Ruth Trask

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