"No CEO? No Problem, for Tacoma-based B2B Communications Software Firm"

“A Tacoma-based high-tech firm is operating without a CEO, but is anything but leaderless.Scott Bourne, president and CEO of Scott Bourne Companies, a collection of new media and technology companies, has joined the advisory team at ContractQuest, a business-to-business communication software company. In place of a CEO, Bourne joins Lee Wise, a 30-year industry veteran who recently returned from retirement to take a position as the company’s chief financial officer; and Jim Hammer, vice president, owner, partner, and board member of SNH Corporation, Pumilite Building Products, WestBlock Products, Westblock Systems, Hammer Investments, and Westblock Pacific L.L.C., to complete the firm’s advisory team.The team is to oversee management and daily operations of the company. The advisory team is an interim phase for the company until it locates a full-time president and CEO, Bourne said.Bourne brings with him world class expertise in the Internet industry. He is the founder of the first Internet radio network, NetRadio, now publicly traded on the NASDAQ, as well as First-TV, the first Internet-only TV network, along with netcasting the first motion picture made for online viewing.Bourne said his role at ContractQuest is acting as an advisor and consultant to help raise money and run a viable business.I was attracted to the business model, Bourne said. While they initially saw their market as contractor associations, I quickly noticed a bigger model that would allow them to grow the business far beyond that model to one that served any type of association. It becomes a question of scale and they have that.Twice selected as one of the 100 most influential people on the World Wide Web by Website Magazine, Bourne acts as special Internet Advisor to the dean at New York University and is chairman of U.S. Congressman Adam Smith’s Technology Advisory Committee, as well as playing a role in a number of other technology-related firms and activities.Wise, nearing 70, came out of retirement to work for ContractQuest. He previously served as the controller of financial services for Nalley’s Fine Foods’ U.S. and Canadian operations prior to retiring in 1990. According to the company, Nalley’s experienced an increase in revenues from $50 million to $250 million in the U.S., and from $11 million to $50 million in Canada, during his tenure.After attending an investor meeting, I was impressed with the technology, Wise said. I decided the best way to get involved was to join the organization.While technology has changed over the years and twenty-somethings are desired for creative and technical positions, investors do not want a twenty-five year old managing a several million dollar budget, said Scott West, co-founder of the company. They just don’t have the experience necessary to do the job.Wise provides cash flow forecasting, financial troubleshooting and council on resource allocation for the firm.The company recently expanded its business into India and Australia and is planning additional overseas operations. It also introduced CQWireless, a communication tool for contractors to conduct business on the job site.Construction professionals can use the software on a Palm VII or Handspring Visor for wireless mobility.CQWireless is going to do for you what the cell phone has done over the last decade, said Tom Kwieciak, a building industry analyst. Contractors will be able to communicate with subcontractors, manufacturers, and clients from the construction site.The software uses the Internet to provide its mobility. A builder’s request-for-quote may be posted directly to the Internet-accessible database using the software. The contract summary is immediately available online to be bid on by trade contractors.Builders can also manage detailed punch lists, communicate with sub-contractors, and request status reports on tasks by using the software.For trade contractors, the software provides access to the requests-for-quotes as well as keeping them in contact directly with the builder.Contract and Procurement Site Set to Launch September 15thContractQuest’s contract and procurement technology is slated to launch CQConstruction on September 15. The site is launching with the assistance of more than 20 construction organizations and businesses.The site is designed to assist builders, contractors and trade-contractors become more effective through online services, and CQWireless, software that allows members to access information through the Internet from a hand-held PDA device.The site is ASP-based, not software based. The web-based site will charge builders and contractors from $25 a month for unlimited access to the site and its features, according to the company.The site is reportedly offering services to organizations with a total of about 100,000 members on the launch date.Photo: Lee Wise, CFO. Courtesy of ContractQuest. “