Braille Monitor August-September 1986
In the summer of 1985 it began to be evident that Maryland Computer Services was having financial and organizational problems. Deane Blazie (the long-time president of the company) and Richard Kramer (the other large stockholder) were at odds, and the situation was deteriorating month by month. After a good deal of maneuvering, during which Blazie made several attempts to buy a controlling interest in the company, Kramer took control, firing Blazie as president.
This was early in 1986. But Kramer's rule was to be a short one. The financial instability which had precipitated the squabbling and ill feeling in 1985 was not remedied by the firing of Blazie. In fact, it may have been worsened. By March the company was on the rocks. There was a large loan, and the bank moved in with a demand for immediate payment. Under this pressure Blazie (reportedly at the insistence of the bank) was called back to help either liquidate or find a buyer. In the meantime the company discontinued the distribution of some of its products and brought research to a slowdown or a standstill on others.
It was generally understood that Tele sensory Systems and VTEK were both trying to work out deals to pick up the pieces and take control of the remains of Maryland Computer Services, but the ultimate buyer was a group headed by Lee Brown, the financial power of Triformation. Shortly after the takeover, Brown sent the following letter to a number of people throughout the country:
Forest Hill, Maryland
June 3, 1986
Dear Maryland Computer Service Friends:
On May 16, 1986, Maryland Computer Services, Inc. was acquired by the principals and management of Triformation Systems, Inc. Although not as severe as the outward signs suggest, the company has been plagued with troublesome fiscal problems. The root of these fiscal problems was an unstable banking relationship which, consequently, led to a loan demand. Having the loan called in meant that the company would either be liquidated or sold. Thus came the consummation of the above mentioned acquisition.
The acquiring investment group, of which I am a member, consists of the same individuals that successfully performed the fiscal reorganization of Triformation in May 1985. Today, Triformation sports the most promising financial statement in the Enabling Technology Industry. The expertise of this group in manufacturing, marketing, finance and banking has already made MCS solvent and is rapidly steering the company to a course of profitability.
MCS is in full operation. We have declared our priorities to be service, customer support and fiscal soundness. The company is in the process of organizing resources around these priorities.
Although MCS will be operated as a separate company for the time being, some functions will be combined to take advantage of economies of scale. Since there will be a close working relationship between the two companies, MCS sales personnel will be able to demonstrate the broadest range of products in the industry. A complete family of synthetic speech, hard copy Braille and paperless Braille products is available through the sales staff. MCS will continue to emphasize selling a total customer solution consisting of products, service, and support. One very important benefit coming out of the combination of the two companies is that more and more services will be performed at the customer site as opposed to being done at the respective factories. This should considerably reduce equipment down time.
If you have any questions, please contact me at your convenience. I will be of service to you.
Very truly yours,
Maryland Computer Services, Inc.
Lee Brown, President
In the field of computer technology for the blind reputations have sometimes been questionable and controversial. Maryland Computer Services was generally quite well regarded. There will be those who will be glad that its products and sales force did not go to Telesensory Systems or VTEK. Doubtless there will be those who will be sorry. The reputation of Triformation has been somewhat like a roller coaster, sometimes up and sometimes down. The two Triformation companies were beginning to be major powers in the field when the problems of a couple of years ago cast everything into doubt. Since that time there has seemed to be a beginning reemergence. If Triformation and what is left of Maryland Computer Services can combine into a stable entity and can fulfill the promise which each of them individually has offered, it will be cause for rejoicing by the nation's blind. In the meantime one can only take a wait and see attitude.