Optelecom-NKF to go turnkey route

New structure, new direction
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Sunday, January 1, 2006

GERMANTOWN, Md.--Optelecom-NKF, a global supplier of communications platforms transporting data, announced two major personnel moves and a new corporate direction in December. The company will soon be offering integrators a more sophisticated product suite.
On the personnel side, Tom Overwijn, managing director of Optelecom-NKF, was both elected to the corporate board of directors and named executive vice president and chief operating officer of European operations; and James Armstrong, Optelecom chief financial officer, was appointed to the newly created position of executive vice president of North American operations. Both will now report to chairman and chief executive officer Edmund Ludwig.
Investor liaison Rick Alpert said that Armstrong's new role will allow Ludwig, who was in charge of the Americas, to be free of day-to-day duties in that market and have more time to focus on the big picture as Optelecom moves forward with what Alpert called a new focus. Optelecom looks to offer "a family of products [that offer] uncompressed and compressed digital video transmission capabilities that cover most conceivable applications in telecom and security and surveillance," made possible by Optelecom's $26-million acquisition of NKF Electronics from Amsterdam-based Draka Holding earlier this year.
"We recently added a capable line of IP/Ethernet-based network solutions," Alpert said. "We're now organizing the resources to not only support our current line but develop as rapidly as possible comprehensive solutions. That's going to involve engineering, licensing, and possibly making some more acquisitions to find what's necessary for success."
"We don't have all the elements in-house right now," agreed Armstrong. "We're committed to aggressively growing the business."
"NKF was one of our primary competitors," said Armstrong by way of example. "We saw that the world was changing and NKF had already seen that the world was changing." Armstrong said their profitability and large head start in research and development along IP/Ethernet-ready product lines made NKF very attractive. Now, that acquisition is paying off in what Optelecom-NKF can soon deliver to integrators. "Say, for integrators, there maybe 10 elements to an installation; currently we provide two of those elements. Our strategy is that we want to provide seven."
Armstrong said their products are currently part of installations done in Yankee Stadium and the major DC monuments. He emphasized Optelecom's quick delivery system, large inventory, environmentally robust products, and lifetime technical support as the company's selling points for integrators. Armstrong said the company expects to hit $80 million in revenues by 2008.