Forging Onto New Ground

January 27, 2002
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The C&G Software “Muddy Boots Guys” of Atlanta, Ga., trekked onto new—but not so new—territory last November. After 23 years, The Muddy Boots entity is now part of Carlson Software Inc. of Maysville, Ky.

With a need and a desire to create software to aid their surveying business, Edwin Cowherd (the “C” of C&G) and Dean Goodman (the “G”), two land surveyors from Georgia, founded C&G Software in 1978. C&G Software was later picked up by Internet monger, Applications Gateway of Charleston, W.Va., in February 2000 to leverage the Internet community for the benefit of C&G customers.

According to Bruce Carlson, PE, PLS, president of Carlson Software, the Applications Gateway ownership wasn’t working well for C&G.

“Applications Gateway used C&G as a dot-com launch,” Carlson says. “Basically, none of the original employees of C&G were working for Applications Gateway. There was a lack of continuity. We watched this from a distance and saw an opportunity. We had always thought that C&G and Carlson Software had similar philosophies on customer service.”

So began the talks between Carlson and Goodman in August 2001 for another strategic C&G move, this time to Carlson Software. The fit seemed good for both companies, and Applications Gateway was open to selling C&G. Carlson has now laced up the boots for the Carlson Software and C&G partnership to forge their way—together—in the data collection and office software markets.

Carlson prefers the conjoining of the two entities to be referred to as a merger and not an acquisition. He recognized C&G’s commitment to provide the best land surveying software in the industry, and Cowherd and Goodman’s continuing expansion of products to meet the spectrum of environments land surveyors work in.

“One thing was obvious to us: the 2-way loyalty between C&G and its customer base,” Carlson says. “Such customer allegiance is the most prized asset of any business—something we nurture at Carlson Software as well. We wanted to promote and sustain that loyalty by offering a new home for C&G under the Carlson Software umbrella. One of our goals is to continue selling the C&G product line, and reinvigorate it with ongoing enhancements and the introduction of Carlson-based features. We also plan to borrow from C&G over to Carlson, including seamless data file linkages.”

“Carlson is a company I have always respected,” Goodman says. “They have the same basic values and business philosophy as we do at C&G. Working with Carlson will give C&G customers the best of two worlds. Customers will have continued support for their C&G software with new opportunities from Carlson.”

“The C&G product line has always been well respected in our industry,” Carlson says. “We will maintain that level of excellence and provide C&G customers with continued support and even more offerings from the Carlson product line.

“We’re offering a steep discount to upgrade to the Carlson line—out of respect for the large number of C&G users. We’re taking a lot of the utilities from Carlson and putting them into the new release of the C&G AutoCAD version.”

Customers—both Carlson’s and C&G’s—can be assured that the marketing, distribution and sales of C&G products through the new division will have a C&G touch.

One of the Muddy Boots, Dean Goodman, PLS, is to head the Boston facility of the C&G division. Goodman will be the director of the new C&G division, overseeing the direction of data collector products as well as C&G office products. He will maintain the existing CG-Field Plus and contribute to SurvCE, the new complete data collection system for real-time GPS and total stations using Windows CE. Plans are to port some of the COGO and other signature features of C&G to the Carlson products and eventually provide onboard data collection.

“Everybody is excited about Dean Goodman,” Carlson says. “He is one of the pioneers of the software market. He’s the full package. Not only does he know data collection programming but he is comfortable working in AutoCAD-based products.”

A few other familiar players have been announced to the Carlson C&G division. C&G’s sales and marketing director, Don Morrison, and technical support manager, Jeff Smith, PLS, will continue in their respective roles under the Carlson name. Burke Mitchell, PE, has also signed on to assist Goodman in product development. Retired C&G co-founder Ed Cowherd, PLS, may contribute at a marketing level, according to Carlson. He has already promoted the merger at conferences he has attended.

“It is with great pleasure that I extend my best wishes to Carlson Software in their new relationship with C&G Software Systems,” Cowherd says. “I am excited about the effort to revitalize C&G and to provide our loyal clients with a product which they deserve.”

Carlson says it is the goal to get several more C&G personnel onboard over the next few months, until all C&G’s premium employees are settled under the Carlson name.

“Our goal is to get the elite of the C&G division,” Carlson says.

The new C&G division will be based in three locations: Maysville, Ky., Boston, Mass., and Atlanta, Ga. Most of the new hires will work out of the Atlanta office. Sales will be performed primarily by C&G division employees. Technical support will be processed through the Maysville and Atlanta facilities.

Short-term goals for the partnership include the release of the AutoCAD 2000/2002 compatible version of CG-Survey.

“One of the primary goals is to make a major impact in the data collector market from DOS to CE platforms, by offering the C&G product on the DOS platform and then our SurvCE on the CE platform,” Carlson says.

“We’ve had nothing but positive feedback from C&G users,” he says. “We couldn’t be any more upbeat about this. We’re really motivated to ultimately become the major player in the survey software market.”

With another two significant organizations coming together in the surveying industry, we will see what marks—boot marks, if you will—the merged entity will create.

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