Governor Gilmore Announces International Contract for VTLS
--Blacksburg firm partners with Rio university as a result of trade mission to South America--
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - During a signing ceremony at the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Governor Gilmore today announced that Virginia Tech Library Systems, Inc. (VTLS) has signed a contract to supply library cataloging software to the 18,000-student university. The Governor met with VTLS executives and UERJ officials today, the third day of his South America trade mission.
"VTLS continues to show that businesses from Southwest Virginia can be successful in exporting their products around the world," Governor Gilmore said. "This company is clearly a success story of the respected Virginia Tech business incubation program."
VTLS is a developer and manufacturer of library cataloging software systems that replace standard card catalogue files. The company was established in 1985 by a then professor at Virginia Tech, Dr. Vinod Chachra. VTLS later became an initial tenant at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center business incubation facility, with Virginia Tech holding an equity interest in the firm.
The university’s equity interest has since been sold, and VTLS is now privately held with annual sales of approximately $11 million. VTLS exports 65 percent of its products and employs 110 in Blacksburg. Recently, VTLS opened a marketing office in Brazil, and now has 17 systems in operation there.
"By bringing world-class automation to the UERJ libraries, VTLS brings the world of knowledge to the fingertips of all students and faculty of the university," VTLS International Vice President Jack Bazuzi said. "This project simultaneously makes the contents of the UERJ libraries available to every scholar’s workstation around the world. With a single, giant leap, UERJ today joins the larger community of scholarship. VTLS is very proud to be part of this process."
In the early 1990s, VTLS participated in the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s International Market Planning [IMP] program in which teams of MBA students from Virginia colleges and universities – in this case, Virginia Tech – develop international business plans for Virginia firms seeking to export their products.
UERJ was founded in 1950, and serves a community of 18,000 students and 2,000 professors with a staff of 5,000 employees. The UERJ library system consists of 21 libraries.
Governor Gilmore presented a book on Virginia for the new library and witnessed the testing of the software at the event. As the first Virginia Governor to travel to South America for trade development purposes, Governor Gilmore has planned meetings with numerous South American government officials and business leaders in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. High profile events and prospect meetings in these countries will help open new markets for Virginia products and services, port activity and agriculture.