by Merry Thomas, Bonanza Staff Writer

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December 19, 2001
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Incline entrepreneurs fish for business with the Internet

Shortly after Don Simmons of CyberFrame moved to Incline Village last year the annual business fair grabbed his attention.Simmons said there are more than 200 Internet business -- depending on what is considered a business -- in Incline.Even so, "Incline Village was not as wired as many had thought," he said."Simmons is working to set up a PC Internet-users group for the chamber," said Jim Jeffers, Incline Village/Crystal Bay Chamber of Commerce president."There is a list of new businesses from Washoe County but it doesn't tell what they do," said Jeffers."A lot of them don't apply for business licenses. I know there are a lot dealing in the stock market and a couple dealing with rentals and timeshares -- but as to anything specific, we don't have it," Jeffers said.Simmons has started three Internet-users groups that are supported by the chamber of commerce.Mondays at noon there's an informal meeting in the Centerpointe Building, in the Truckee Meadows Community College conference room for anyone who has questions. Any level of knowledge is OK, according to Simmons."Some know nothing, some have had a previous business, some want technology advice," Simmons said."The PC group meets once a month. It's mostly for local business people and people whose hobby is PCs," said Simmons.There is no membership list for this group, though the e-mail address lists about 50 or 60 people, he added.To contact Simmons about any of the chamber-related cyber groups, call 831-4130 or e-mail him at interested in starting a cyber business will find help from Simmons' third group, the High Tech group, organized by Tom Johnson, 832-1930, and a group called Sierra High Tech, run by Jack Schwartz, (530) 587-7685.Johnson's group, also hosted by the chamber, helps business people stay on the leading edge of technology and on cyber business models.Members formulate business plans and discuss the how-tos of a virtual corporation. Schwartz's group lends a hand with the business aspects, appealing primarily to venture capitalists and attorneys.Internet folks who would like to connect with cyber business on a broader scale should contact Tech Alliance, a nonprofit business formulated to attract high-tech business to Nevada.Tech Alliance won last year's governor's award for the best start-up business. Contact Ken Hawk, CEO, for sampling of Incline Village's cyber business community includes internationally marketed high-tech businesses.Ron Code, founder of Information Analysis Corporation, designed MEDLOG software, the company's main product. A component of medical research all over the world, Code said MEDLOG is most useful at research universities, pharmaceutical companies, medical devices companies and research hospitals."It's used in clinical trials -- for comparisons of new drugs, for instance," said Code."I started in the Bay Area 14 years ago and moved up here seven and a half years ago," he said."Our largest markets are in the Bay Area and in New England. The most active overseas market we have is in Sweden," Code continued.Another local business that reaches far into cyberspace is Multipath Corporation.Ron Young, 56, said he moved to Incline in 1987 and incorporated the company in Nevada in 1988.Young designed and developed the software in Incline Village though most of its customers are international."Clients include Fortune 500 companies and laboratories," Young said."I make mathematical libraries for supercomputers -- for the largest ones -- those that have great speed and scientific application," said Young."In the past I was a consultant and had employees. I used to travel a lot and they got to stay home and do the fun stuff -- develop the software" said Young.Another local cyber-business targets the hotel and the real estate industries.Doug Bedient, 38, and Guy Ceragioli, 40, founded LEAP in Incline Village in 1996. Bedient brought a background of graphic design to the business and Ceragioli brought his experience in marketing software to LEAP.The other employee, Fred Simonton, 28, is also a guitarist and lead singer for the local rock band, Sister Charles."We aren't just a step beyond the competition, we're a leap beyond; it's a positive statement," said Ceragioli.LEAP designs Internet sites for companies."The thing that's unique about us is that we give clients the capability to update their own sites," Ceragioli said."They can use their own photos and Realtors can update property descriptions and price changes. They have control over their site," said Ceragioli.One of the company's largest new clients is Embassy Suites in New York. LEAP also revamped Reno's KUNR Web site and has worked with Qandamp;D and Dermody Properties in Reno."Locally, Great Outdoor Clothing is a customer and they have nine other stores across the United States," said Ceragioli."We're also working on a site for Incline's Educational Field Services, and Preferred Capital in Tahoe City," Ceragioli said.Cyber businesses also have a way of evolving over time.Brian Vohs, 41, and his wife, Carol, 40, brought Azure Consulting toIncline in 1998, and have since developed the company into Azure Software and Consulting.The couple moved here from a small town near Stuttgart, Germany, though Vohs grew up in North Carolina.Azure primarily works with IBM mainframe software, but they also do limited consulting for those with PCs."Our work is for what some people would call 'dinosaurs.' The software is designed for mainframe only, software maintenance with S.A.P.," said Vohs."These are enterprise-wide integrated solutions. All of a large company's databases -- payroll, and all of the other systems -- are on one software system," said Vohs."We take the unwieldiness out of maintenance. We have happy clients, and that's what it's all about," he said.Incline Village hosts Internet service provider, Sierra-Net.Texas-born Mike Montgomery, 40, founded the company about five years ago, according to employee Joseph Falzone, 33.Sierra-Net employs six people and is in an expansion mode, having been bought just last month by Mandamp;A West.A NASDAQ corporation, Sierra-Net hopes to expand into Northern California, said Falzone.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Apr 28, 2000 12:00AM Published Dec 19, 2001 11:08AM Copyright 2001 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.