In January, LeVan took over the job one of Vocollect's founders, Roger Byford, had held since the company launched in 1987. Byford, an engineer by training, has settled in as chief technology officer, a role Byford says suits him a whole lot better. And LeVan says he's convinced Byford is more than willing to give up the reins.
"I've met lots of founders who said they meant it, but they really didn't," says LeVan. "Roger truly means it."
LeVan will leverage his experience and Vocollect's potential to build a bigger presence in Europe and to transfer Vocollect's technology to a wider range of applications.
He's got a handsome roster of customers to work with. Vocollect boasts retail giant WalMart among its clients and enjoys a solid relationship with Giant Eagle Inc., a company LeVan describes as "a good strategic partner in helping us understand how to support a core market."
LeVan comes to Vocollect with hefty experience in automated data capture technology. He spent the past seven years as a senior manager at two such companies, most recently in San Diego as CEO of SCS Corp., a producer of radio frequency identification tags and scanners, and in Vernon Hills, Ill., at Zebra Technologies Corp., a company that produces bar coding products and that had $450 million in sales last year.
And how does Pittsburgh stack up against those locales?
Says LeVan: "In terms of a supportive atmosphere and a network of people who want to help one another, this is better than both of those places." How to reach: Vocollect Inc., www.vocollect.com