2016 VTKW Sponsor Showcase: Automation Creations, Inc.

ACI all electric vehicle VT Corporate Research Center

Automation Creations, Inc. (ACI) develops guaranteed custom software solutions for technology driven companies worldwide. The ACI team of agile developers and designers works with clients to build web and mobile software that improves productivity and the bottom line. The company has extensive experience with clients in commercial, educational and government sectors.

Recently, ACI developed the Blacksburg Transit website backend powering the BT4U mobile app. They continue to provide programming support to MatWeb.com, and a major pharmaceutical logistics company. ACI also takes on very short projects, like Excel macros and training course development. Volunteers from ACI help run the New River Robotics Association, a non-profit to promote STEM, located in the KnowledgeWorks building.

Thank you, Automation Creations, Inc. , for sponsoring VT KnowledgeWorks including the 2016 Global Partnership Event!

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Event offers university students and faculty from all over the world a chance to collaborate, form partnerships, build their global networks, and congregate in Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia, USA. The Global Partnership is an ongoing cooperative association of regions building permanent social and academic relationships with each other, for mutual long-term advantage. Members of the partnership gather annually during a week-long Global Partnership event hosted by VT KnowledgeWorks, Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech, and citizens and businesses of the Roanoke-Blacksburg region.

2015 Winners: The grand prize of $25,000 was awarded to Team Visionear of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), Bangkok, Thailand. Read more about the winning teams! Read about the 2015 event outcomes and publicity.

For more information about getting involved in the Global Partnership Event, please contact Lindsey Eversole, Outreach Manager, leversole@vtknowledgeworks.com.

Keep in the know about VT KnowledgeWorks through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

VT KnowledgeWorks

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles, access to timely, relevant information, and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks Sponsors

Allegheny Logistics GroupAutomation Creations, Inc., BAE SystemsBB&T, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP, Carilion ClinicCelaneseCIT GAP Funds, City of Roanoke, First Bank & Trust CompanyG.J. Hopkins, Inc.National Bank, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Plastics One Inc., PowerSchool Assessment & AnalyticsRackspace, Shentel, SimulTV, SMBWSunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union Bank & Trust, Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, VPT, Inc., and Wordsprint.

Automation Creations Releases PC Drafter 12.0 Fantasy Football Software

In 2010, fantasy football software PC Drafter was featured in Handshake 2.0's Tech Showcase and on WDBJ7 with Bob Grebe.

In 2012, VT KnowledgeWorks member company Automation Creations, developers of PC Drafter, released version 12.0 just in time for the 2012 fantasy football season and the NFL kickoff game on September 5, Cowboys vs. Giants.

Yesterday, PC Drafter 12.0 was featured on Handshake 2.0 and Henry Bass, founder of Automation Creations, added this comment to the post:

Bob Grebe served as emcee of the [VT KnowledgeWorks] Global Business Challenge last week, and asked me what was new for Fantasy Football, remembering our 2010 interview!

We have a great feature this year for importing rules and league configurations from Yahoo Fantasy Football: we think this is the tip of a very deep iceburg. We'd like to do a lot more interfacing with various fantasy drafts, so that PC Drafter becomes a web and mobile app that truly turns a complex optimization problem into one-click simplicity.

Here's a video of Bob Grebe's story on PC Drafter.

Updates from the PC Drafter Facebook page:

PC Drafter is in the thick of the current Fantasy Football Draft season. We'll see our biggest activity over the next 10 days, culminating in the NFL kickoff on the 5th of September, Cowboys vs. Giants!

Our new feature to import your league directly from Yahoo Fantasy Football is a hit! Hundreds of downloads in the last few weeks, and the season is still building. This eliminates errors and saves time.

More about PC Drafter from Facebook:

Bar none, this is the one method to use for serpentine, cyclical, and auction drafting. Dominate your fantasy draft by combining our award winning projections and PC Drafter's superior GOLD algorithm.

GOLD builds on Value Based Drafting principles ideas that have been in the public domain for years. The difference is, GOLD goes far beyond as it tightens up the process and dynamically delivers more robust player recommendations. The results are 10% higher scoring teams when compared to teams chosen using just Average Draft Position.

PC Drafter incorporates this GOLD algorithm, plus everything else you need to gain a huge competitive advantage using your PC during your football fantasy league's draft. Maintain multiple leagues, use standard or auction format, handle keepers, evaluate trades, and with the registered version, update your players with the very latest projections at the click of a button.

The result is you can actually enjoy your fantasy drafts this year, secure in knowing that you've got the most up-to-date rosters, projections and schedules, all customized for your league's scoring. 

Fantasy football draft software pcDrafter

Read more about Automation Creations and PC Drafter on Inside VT KnowledgeWorks.

Read about the winners of the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Challenge.

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Event was made possible by its generous sponsors, including The Allegheny Logistics Group, CCS-Inc., Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, G.J. Hopkins Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., NetVentures, Novozymes, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Rackspace, SAIC, Shentel, StellarOne Bank, SunTrust Bank, TechLab, Third Security, The Branch Group Inc., Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, and VPT, Inc.

For a complete list of other contributors of the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week please visit our website.

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Foundation, funded through the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters is in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, The Branch Group, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law Group, LeClairRyan, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and The Becher Agency (TBA).

With Software, Smaller Is Better

An excerpt from Small, Efficient Teams are BestHenry's Web Log.  Henry Bass is the founder and president of VT KnowledgeWorks member company Automation Creations, Inc.:

Smaller-is-better axioms from our experience at ACI:

  • The average size of a custom software development firm is 5 to 11 full time employees (ACI is currently 15)
  • The corporate dynamic changes when a company goes from 20 to 35+; enter middle management and more layers.
  • Bigger size = more communication needs = more meetings.
  • Software developers HATE meetings.
  • Small firms typically need employees to wear more hats. This diversity gives smart developers higher job satisfaction.
  • Looking at the public company annual reports, the traditional "economies of scale" don't apply to custom software development.

Custom software development company, Automation Creations, Inc.
VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters is in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

You're invited to keep in-the-know about VT KnowledgeWorks on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, The Branch Group, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law Group, LeClairRyan, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and The Becher Agency (TBA).

Spin-out of VT KnowledgeWorks Member Companies Debuts Video Interview Series

From Automations Creations, Inc. and Handshake Media, Incorporated, VT KnowledgeWorks member companies. She Chooses(TM), the social network for women, is a joint spin-out from both companies. A version of this post first appeared on Handshake 2.0.

To add to the standard threesome – blog, Facebook, Twitter – of how online enterprises share their news, She Chooses has added video interviews with upcoming featured guests on She Chooses Chat and posted them on the She Chooses Channel on YouTube.  Each guest is asked a version of this question:  “If you only had two minutes to share with other women what you passionately believe is true, what would you say?”  Then the guest is to speak to the camera, in one take, in two minutes.

The video interview series debuted with the next featured guest on She Chooses Chat, Krisha Chachra.  Krisha Chachra is a native of Blacksburg, Virginia, a Ph.D. candidate at Virginia Tech, and a member of the Town Council of Blacksburg, Virginia. 

She Chooses™ is the social network for women whose members choose what, how, and with whom they share.  Currently a web application released March 22, 2011 with a mobile app under development, She Chooses features an algorithm-based self-awareness and sharing component – Feel. Think. Choose. – that fosters meaningful personal reflection and authentic communication for and among its members.  
 
Wherever a woman is, whenever she chooses – in the middle of a meeting or the middle of the night, when a friend, a sister, or mentor just isn’t available – a woman uses She Chooses to pause, reflect, ask “What have other women chosen?” and view other members’ responses immediately.

Using the features of She Chooses, She Chooses Chat is a profoundly meaningful, completely unique event, a synthesis of personal reflection, conversation, discussion and sharing among She Chooses members.  Featured guests are women of note and the combination of their wisdom and experience increases the power of the event. 

Krisha Chachra will be the next featured guest on She Chooses Chat, Wednesday, August 17, 2011, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM ET.

Video by Matthew Yourshaw

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VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships.  It is a self-sustaining not-for-profit subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Foundation, funded through the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual.  Its world headquarters is in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, The Branch Group, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law Group, LeClairRyan, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and The Becher Agency (TBA).

Co-Founders of She Chooses to Meet for First Time

From Automations Creations, Inc. and Handshake Media, Incorporated, VT KnowledgeWorks member companies. She Chooses(TM), the social network for women, is a joint spin-out from both companies.

She Chooses(TM), the social network for women She Chooses was co-founded by Anne Giles Clelland, Alex Edelman, Henry Bass, and Laureen Fleming.  The She Chooses team has worked remotely from its beginnings, “meeting” weekly via Skype.  Alex Edelman will fly into the Blacksburg, Virginia area this week and he and Henry Bass and Laureen Fleming will meet for the first time at their She Chooses team meeting on Wednesday, May 11, 2011.  They will gather again on Thursday, May 12 for TechNite

Here's the rest of the story on Handshake 2.0.

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She Chooses (TM) is the social network for women whose members choose what, how, and with whom they share.  She Chooses features an algorithm-based sharing component that helps women ask themselves what they’re feeling and thinking prior to making a choice – Feel. Think. Choose.  Offering the opportunity to privately consider members’ publicly shared choices ranked appreciatively by other members, She Chooses fosters uniquely meaningful personal reflection and authentic communication in the company of other women.

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VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a self-sustaining not-for-profit subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Foundation, funded through the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual.  Its world headquarters is in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, The Branch Group, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law GroupLeClairRyan, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and The Becher Agency (TBA).

Automation Creations Spins Out MatWeb

Automation Creations, Inc. (ACI) is pleased to announce the spin-out of its MatWeb.com online materials resource to MatWeb, LLC. MatWeb, LLC is owned by longtime ACI employee, Dr. Dale Kipp. For ACI, MatWeb.com’s spin-out accentuates exciting growth for both the ACI business model of custom software and website development, and the MatWeb.com business model of advertising, premium-user subscribers, and content licensing.

ACI’s owner and President, Henry Bass, said, “MatWeb.com is now positioned to accelerate its new product and service offerings. ACI, in turn, will benefit from an increased ability to focus on its offerings of web-based software development and support and to innovate in mobile software development. The two business models have been steadily progressing toward this spin-out for several years. I am very pleased that Dale will be taking MatWeb to new heights at MatWeb, LLC.”

MatWeb.com helps engineers and designers find material properties and identify materials that match their design specifications. Over 220,000 unique visitors monthly view, on average, three to five of MatWeb.com’s 80,000+ data sheets during each visit, for over eight million datasheets served in 2010. Most of MatWeb.com's revenue comes from advertisers who want to be in front of new product design teams, manufacturing, and R&D users. MatWeb.com enjoys additional revenue from premium subscribers who pay to save searches, export data to their design software, and make detailed comparisons, and from companies who license database components.

Dr. Dale Kipp was instrumental in building the original MatWeb.com materials database in 1996, overseeing its growth from 500 materials at launch to over 80,000 materials today. The search engine and underlying database have evolved through multiple revisions, each one significantly expanding MatWeb.com’s capabilities and customer capacity. Participating in MatWeb.com’s evolution through custom programming, database development, eCommerce and server hosting was a natural fit for Automation Creations through 2010.

Automation Creations, Inc. has been located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center since its inception in 1996. ACI currently employs 16 software developers, project managers, software trainers and software quality assurance experts. MatWeb, LLC will move into a new office in the Corporate Research Center this month, March 2011.

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Henry Bass described MatWeb.com in The Cool Factor for a Materials Database.  You can read more about Automation Creations on Inside VT KnowledgeWorks.

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VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a self-sustaining not-for-profit subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Foundation, funded through the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual.  Its world headquarters is in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, The Branch Group, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law GroupLeClairRyan, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and The Becher Agency (TBA).

The Best of Blacksburg on Video

Blacksburg, Virginia is the home of VT KnowledgeWorks.  Blacksburg Lodging, a Virginia hotel reservation site, is an enterprise of VT KnowledgeWorks member company Smart College Visit, IncBlacksburg Lodging is listed among Virginia Tech's Visitor Resources. NextThreeDays, featured on Blacksburg Lodging, is an enterprise of Automation Creations, Inc., a VT KnowledgeWorks member company. A version of this post originally appeared on Handshake 2.0.

Blacksburg, Virginia was recently featured in the video The Future of Selling and Social Media by OgilvyOne.  It's the front page video on Blacksburg Lodging's YouTube Channel where users can find a selection of videos featuring the Town of Blacksburg, the New River Valley of Virginia, and Virginia Tech.  Handshake 2.0 is a fan of this one!

You're invited to learn more about  Blacksburg Lodging on Twitter, Blacksburg Lodging on YouTube, and Blacksburg Lodging on Handshake 2.0.  Here's all about the Handshake Video.

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VT KnowledgeWorks is a unique growth enhancement program open to entrepreneurs in the New River Valley and beyond.  Acceleration center and incubation facilities are located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Programs for Members are divided into two categories according to the evolutionary status of the member company.  Pre-Launch program components are carefully constructed to help market-worthy ventures organize, formulate strategy, obtain outside investment, and launch in an efficient manner.  Enterprise class members benefit from emphasis on strategic support for ongoing growth, continuing intra-preneurship, and professional development for the corporate leader.

VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law GroupLeClairRyan, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and The Becher Agency (TBA).

Materials Database Registers 180,000 Engineers Worldwide

A version of this post originally appeared on Handshake 2.0

Handshake 2.0 asked Henry Bass, founder of Automation Creations, a VT KnowledgeWorks member company:

What is MatWeb

We see this description from the MatWeb site: "MatWeb's searchable database of material properties includes data sheets of thermoplastic and thermoset polymers such as ABS, nylon, polycarbonate, polyester, polyethylene and polypropylene; metals such as aluminum, cobalt, copper, lead, magnesium, nickel, steel, superalloys, titanium and zinc alloys; ceramics; plus semiconductors, fibers, and other engineering materials."

Glad to hear that data sheets exist.  What are they for?  Why would someone need them?  Who uses them?  Is anyone local a user of MatWeb?
 
"Data sheets for over 79,000 metals, plastics, ceramics, and composites."
 
79,000 is an impressive number in any business realm, especially with a founding in 1997.  What can invite someone in Blacksburg, Virginia, home of Handshake 2.0, to care that MatWeb is here and was created by ACI?  What's its cool factor?

Henry Bass replied:

Funny you should ask! We're actually proud that non-engineers ask us about this, because we can highlight this to our engineering-related advertisers: we've got an exclusive audience of engineers. Non-engineers write us and say they don't get it…so that's one way we can assure that products and services will be seen by the right audience.
 
Our datasheets provide a reference of the material properties for 79,000+ metals, plastics, ceramics and composites.  This means that when an engineer wants to use 6061-T6 Aluminum in his or her next product design, MatWeb.com serves as a handy reference for that metal's density, strength, elasticity and other properties.
 
Furthermore, if the engineer asks the question, "What other materials could I use that have the strength of this, but would be lighter?", he or she can use MatWeb to quantitatively search and find that Nylon 66 with glass fiber reinforcement can provide about the same strength but is 40% lighter.  If the application doesn't require the product to be exposed to high temperatures, this might be a lighter, cheaper alternative.

MatWeb is a searchable database of material properties data sheets

We went live with MatWeb in 1997, boasting properties of almost 500 materials.  Every year, we add to or update about 12,000 data sheets through the diligent efforts of Virginia Tech engineering students and our expert staff.  The result is that MatWeb.com is cited as the reference source for material properties more often than any other reference, printed or online. 
 
Local users of MatWeb would include the audience of just about all engineers at Virginia Tech (electrical, civil, mechanical, chemical, materials science, aerospace, etc), and engineering-related product development companies such as Moog, Federal Mogul, Safety Performance Solutions and TORC.

The cool factor is that over 180,000 engineers worldwide have registered with us because we're the largest free material property database on the web. Right here in li'l ol' Blacksburg.

Thanks,
Henry

Fantasy Football Software Technology Featured on WDBJ7

Henry Bass and fantasy football software pcDrafter, a product of VT KnowledgeWorks member company Automation Creations, Inc., were featured by Bob Grebe on the WDBJ7 morning news show.

 

You're invited to read more about pcDrafter on Inside VT KnowledgeWorks.

VT KnowledgeWorks Member Launches Blacksburg, Virginia Hotel Reservation Site

BlacksburgLodging is an enterprise of Smart College Visit, Inc., founded by Z. Kelly Queijo.  Smart College Visit and Automation Creations are VT KnowledgeWorks member companies.  A version of this post first appeared on Handshake 2.0.

From Z. Kelly Queijo:

The work we've been doing at SmartCollegeVisit on travel services for the college-bound made me realize that my own college town lacked a locally-owned resource for hotel searches. We worked with Automation Creations to create a design that includes our hotel booking services and also showcases the events and restaurant specials streaming through the NextThreeDays regional event calendar.

Pairing lodging with events makes it easy for travelers to the Blacksburg area to find out where to stay and what to do. BlacksburgLodging's Twitter list streams current postings by tweeters from the town, Virginia Tech, Hokie fans, and others who just love Blacksburg.

Find a Blacksburg, Virginia hotel with BlacksburgLodging

Folks planning to travel to Blacksburg on a Hokie football weekend can search BlacksburgLodging and find out which area hotels still have rooms available. Searches can be extended to include Dublin, Christiansburg, Salem, Roaonoke, and beyond. The site includes the majority of the hotels within a 40-mile radius. Those not listed are invited to contact me about getting added to our hotel database.

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You are invited to follow BlacksburgLodging on Twitter at @bburglodging.