Rochester Medical Corp., Stewartville's largest employer, became a subsidiary of New Jersey-based C.R. Bard at 8 a.m. today following Wednesday's overwhelmingly positive shareholder vote.
Votes representing 8.4 million shares were counted in a Minneapolis board room of the law firm Dorsey & Whitney. The $262 million deal was approved by a vote of 8.1 million in favor to 179,156 against. Another 12,054 abstained. Rochester Medical had 12.3 million outstanding shares that were eligible to vote.
Rochester Medical's Chief Financial Officer David Jonas said the vote tally took about 30 minutes. About 20 people attended the voted.
Shares of Rochester Medical were trading at $20 at the close of the market on Wednesday.
Representatives of C.R. Bard are scheduled to discuss their future plans at an all-employee meeting Friday morning at the catheter manufacturing facility. Rochester Medical has about 250 employees in Stewartville with a total of 400 worldwide.
While no specifics have been discussed about what will happen to the Stewartville facility or its employees, the president of Bard’s Medical Division made encouraging comments to staff in September.
"We are making this merger because we really believe you have got a ton to bring to us. These are additive, these two companies. There is not a ton of overlap," said Peter Curry, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
This acquisition marks the end of the local ownership of the 25-year-old company co-founded and run by CEO Anthony Conway and his brother, Vice President Philip Conway. The CEO has previously said that he and his brother will remain "deeply involved in the transition … ensuring that our new products will get to market in a very timely fashion."
The Roadrunner, which owed much of its hybrid design and manufacture to Big Blue's Rochester campus, was the first machine to break the computer industry's "sound barrier" in 2008 by clocking a petaflop or one quadrillion calculations per second.
“We just all looked around and said, ‘We made it,’” stated Peter Keller, who was part of the Rochester manufacturing team that recorded that historic milestone on May 25, 2008.
The plug was pulled on the $121 million supercomputer on Easter Sunday at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
"Roadrunner, while I would not define it as strictly obsolete, it has been surpassed by newer technology," said Kevin Roark, of Los Alamos. "It's perfectly normal. …This is the natural progression."
Roadrunner's duties are being shifted over to Los Alamos' Cielo supercomputer, which is made by Seattle-based Cray Inc. Two years younger than Roadrunner, Roark describes it as faster, smaller, less expensive and more energy-efficient than its IBM predecessor.
Until it was shut down, Roadrunner ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week since being delivered to the laboratory via 25 trucks.
While it now is being experimented on as it waits to be dismantled and shredded, Roadrunner took Los Alamos' work on the United States' nuclear weapons stockpile to a new level.
"It has performed remarkably well. It has really helped us solve some fundamental problems that were essentially unsolvable before a computer of its speed," Roark said.
It wasn't just its speed that made Roadrunner so groundbreaking. The revolutionary hybrid design that coordinated the use of different types of computer chips, including Cell chips originally designed in Rochester to be used in Sony's PlayStation 3 video game system.
"Roadrunner was a truly pioneering idea," said Gary Grider, of Los Alamos' High Performance Computing Division, in a statement. "Roadrunner got everyone thinking in new ways about how to build and use a supercomputer."
Los Alamos teamed up with IBM to build Roadrunner from commercially available parts. They ended up with 278 refrigerator-size racks filled with two different types of processors, all linked together by 55 miles of fiber optic cable.
The supercomputer has been used over the last five years to model viruses and unseen parts of the universe, to better understand lasers and for nuclear weapons work. That includes simulations aimed at ensuring the safety and reliability of the nation's aging arsenal.
Roadrunner was the world's fastest computer for 18 months. At its peak, it was two times faster than Blue Gene/L, which was IBM’s star machine and the fastest computer in the world in 2007.
Its historic speed kept Roadrunner on the Top 500 Fastest Computers list, despite being outdated. It still ranked as 22nd fastest machine in the world in November.
IBM had four of the top 10 fastest computers on that November list, and all had roots in Rochester. Sequoia, a BlueGene/ Q, took the No. 2 spot behind Cray's Titan. Other BlueGenes — Miram JUQUEEN and Fermi — locked up the fourth, fifth and ninth spots.