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Firehole Composites acquired by Autodesk

Awardee Story Firehole Composites acquired by Autodesk
Date: Mar 26, 2013
Author: Chilton Tippin
Source: laramieboomerang.com ( click here to go to the source)

Jerad Stack said the recent acquisition of his company, Firehole Composites, by Autodesk was an exciting moment not only for his firm, but for the entire Laramie community.

“(Autodesk) is a fortune 350 company that’s coming in and developing a presence in Laramie,” Stack, the chief executive officer of Firehose, said.

“This is a major technology business, which is kind of one of the reasons why we’re building things like the Cirrus Sky Technology Park — to have more things exactly like this happen.”

Firehole Composites, a company specializing in design software for composite parts, was acquired March 12 by Autodesk, one of the world’s largest design-software firms.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Stack, who will now be the product manager for composite software, said Firehole was founded in 2001 and spent several years in the Wyoming Technology Business Center before moving to its current location downtown in 2008.

Stacy Doyle, public-relations manager for Autodesk, which offers an array of 3D, design and engineering software, said the company purchased Firehole because its software filled a gap in Autodesk’s product portfolio.

“If you look at our entire simulation portfolio, we have everything you could ever possibly need,” she said. “We have solutions for structural, thermal and plastics analysis. What was really missing was something specific to the testing and analysis of composite materials.”

Stack said his company’s software was used primarily by engineers who design and test parts as varied as those that go into golf clubs, tennis rackets, cars and planes.

“What’s specific about our product is that it lets them design and engineer parts that are made out of composites,” he said.

In engineering terms, composites are materials made of two or more constituent materials that have different properties.

Using the Firehole technology, rather than building an actual model engineers can create a digital one and run analysis on its functionality.

“You can determine what kind of carbon you want to use, what kind of epoxy you want to use that will hold the carbon fibers together in designing your part, all the way up to our advanced material, which actually simulates the performance of these things,” Stack said. “(For example,) you can put forces and temperatures and it will tell you how it will bend or how it will break.”

Though Autodesk is headquartered in San Francisco, the Firehole team and office will remain in Laramie.

Stack said the company would continue serving existing customers and product lines would not be done away with.

“The intention is to keep our product lines and keep that business growing,” he said.

“The next six months to a year is going to be a two-pronged approach. We’re continuing to support our current customers and giving them the top-line support they’ve been given, while at the same time developing a strategy for integrating (with Autodesk).”

Stack said Autodesk’s acquisition would keep technology jobs in the community.

“It’s a proof point that all of this work of the University (of Wyoming) and community is heading in the right direction,” he said. “There should be a lot more Fireholes to come.”

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