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April 14, 2007

Autodata profile in biz section

Here's some from a feature that will appear in Monday's Business section. It is a followup to a piece a wrote a couple years ago about this European-based motor vehicle repair manual business opening in Rochester. Look for the entire piece in print Monday:

They may work in front computers in an office, but their minds are in the garage under a hood. Timingmanual

Surrounded by a stack of just-arrived manual from car manufacturers and with technical illustrations of timing belts on his computer screen, Todd Nelson explains the basics of what his team of self-described “gearheads” does.

“We are condensing 20 pages of information down to two pages that a repair technician can be fold out flat while working,” says the editorial manager for Autodata. “ It is all about how to get it (the need technical information) fast to get the job done and save time.”

Nelson, a former service manager from a Rochester car dealership, works for Autodata, an England-based publisher of technical manuals and electronic media. The company’s U.S. headquarters is in Rochester in Suite 403 at 6301 Bandel Road N.W.

Being the “U.S. headquarters” for the long European-focused company was not a major deal when the office opened in 2005.

Vice president and General Manager Richard Gunderson opened the doors with three people on staff and a warehouse full of manuals for European and Asian vehicles.

Now two years later, he has 15 on staff with plans to hire three or four people this year. Much of his warehouse is being renovated to be used for 11 workstations for writers near a new technical library with thousands of resources.

“In last two years, we have developed five new products for domestic markets,” Gunderson says, And seven members of his team help with a $1 million project to create a new three DVD product that will be launched in May.

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