Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Great Expectations Encore Development Execs Eye International Operations, IPO

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Great Expectations Encore Development Execs Eye International Operations, IPO

Article excerpt

By the time his elementary school-age children reach high school, Encore Development Co-President Bob Leonard says he wants their classmates to know as much about Leonard and Encore as they do about Bill Gates and Microsoft.

He's exaggerating, of course. But at the every least, Leonard expects Encore to be an established international company, headquartered in Jacksonville, that develops e-business and data warehousing solutions for businesses.

And while Bob and his brother Tom, who co-founded Encore, have worked rather anonymously in Jacksonville in the software development business for much of the last 15 years, they are bringing their business out into the open with plans for an initial public offering of stock.

"We're sort of targeting eight to 10 months from now" for the stock offering, said Pat Allin, who was recently recruited away from accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers to become co-chairman (with Tom Leonard) and chief executive officer of Encore.

Encore produced revenue of $7.5 million last year and projects to reach $22.6 million this year and $140 million by 2002. Besides its Jacksonville headquarters, the company has opened offices in Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Chicago and New York and expects to open foreign offices next year.

Allin worked with Bob Leonard several years ago at a company called Moore Corporation Ltd. He said while the Leonards are largely unknown in Jacksonville, they do have a strong reputation in their industry.

"In the technology community in the Southeastern U.S., they are well-known," Allin said.

The Leonards, who grew up in Jacksonville, started their own company called Leonard Development Group in Jacksonville in the mid-1980s to develop software products for use in Apple Macintosh computers. Tom handled the technical aspects of the development, and Bob handled sales and marketing.

Their main product in the 1980s was a program development tool called TML Pascal, which allowed Macintosh users to write their own programs in the Pascal computer language.

"Pascal was the language of choice on the Mac," said Bob Leonard, who said their product accounted for 80 percent of the Pascal market for the Macintosh.

A second product developed in the early 1990s was GreatWorks, an integrated package of eight software products such as word processing and spreadsheet applications for the Macintosh. Bob Leonard said the company's products, developed by his brother, were a significant step in increasing the applications available for use on Macintosh computers.

"Tom is really one of the unsung heroes of the industry," Bob Leonard said.

The Leonards sold their company in 1991 to California-based Symantec Corp. for 154,000 shares of Symantec stock, which would have a current value of about $7 million. …

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