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Building Blocks

NWC Inc. will sell products on the Web. To do that we needed a new two-ton air conditioner, a building security system, a UPS and power-distribution system and a new 100-amp circuit, new equipment racks, servers, switches, storage, routers, operating systems, a firewall and, most of all, talented people with varied skill sets. In the first part of this cover package, "A Start-Up Is Born", lab director Ron Anderson describes our business plan. In "Software Focus,", technology editor Lori MacVittie talks about the applications. Here, we give you the scoop on the gear that makes your friends envious--the high-tech hardware and its support infrastructure.

Where We Live

Choosing the facility proved interesting. We picked the lab because the location--conveniently in the same building as our existing Green Bay lab--the size of the suite--800 square feet--and the price were right. We're located in what is known quaintly as the "lower level," otherwise known as the basement. The building and property have been owned since the 1930s by the local Kos family, which also runs the management company, Kos Management. The site was, at one time, a chicken farm, complete with hatchery, henhouse and slaughterhouse. The main building is nearly 100 years old, and two additional structures are 30 and 50 years old, respectively.

Today, the building comprises mostly office space with a few walk-in businesses on the first floor. We've dubbed the decor, virtually unchanged from the 1970s, "little Swiss village." It's complete with mini cedar-shake roofs over the doors, fieldstone accents and mullioned windows.

The site is 50 feet from the cleverly named East River, and we were concerned about water getting into our lab. We checked with Kos Management and found that the building, despite its age, has a prodigious water-management system with redundant pumps. A closet in our suite contains one of the redundant sump pumps along with an impressive array of natural gas meters. The presence of not one but several gas mains has kept us from smoking the occasional surreptitious cigarette.

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