Col Hoschke buys a software company

Never one to let the grass grow under his feet, industry veteran Col Hoschke has bought the Mainpac plant maintenance software division of Geac Computers less than six months after severing his ties with the Sanderson group of companies. And it's not as if he was getting bored: Col keeps himself occupied as non-executive director of SoftGen and of Queensland company Advanced Data Integration.

And now Col holds the position of executive chairman of his new company where he has appointed Steve Sydenham general manager. "Steve has been involved with Mainpac for some time, although he left Geac and we rehired him as GM," he explained. The company now has a staff of 15, about eight of whom are involved in development.

Mainpac, which Hoschke described as an asset management system with special strength in plant maintenance, has a strong Australian heritage. According to Bruce Herron, business development director of the Australian arm of Geac Computers, the software was developed in the mid-80s by business consultant Cruikshank & Associates for the IBM AS/400 and Unix platforms. More recently it has been ported to Windows NT, and the latest release operates only in a Microsoft environment. Geac acquired Mainpac in 1998 and in the intervening years has signed up a strong base of users in Australia and other countries. "There are a lot of overseas users," Herron explained. "For example P&O uses it for maintenance of facilities at its ports around the world. We have clients in South Africa, mainly in the mining industry, in the UK in a range of industries, and in South-East Asia, primarily in the mining and associated industries."

Herron added that Geac was focusing its business on ERP applications for a few vertical markets and felt the product needed "more entrepreneurial management", so it went out to find an buyer with whom it could sign a reseller agreement.

Along came Col Hoschke, who said he has bought "a very nice business" with a "very enthusiastic" reseller in Geac. The first job for Hoschke and his sales team is to contact the existing Mainpac users -- all 600 or so -- before going looking for new business, including in overseas markets, he explained.

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