Harmonia, Inc. at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center

The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology, research, and science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, is home to high-tech start-ups and established technology businesses. 

Handshake 2.0 asked companies about the business benefits of locating at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center–known locally as "the CRC."

Pallabi Saboo, CEO of Harmonia, Inc. replied.

Using the October 2007 report from the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), 21st Century Directions–which lists reasons why tenants locate in university research parks–Ms. Saboo created this comprehensive analysis and commentary:

Access to skilled workforce including students

I absolutely agree.  There is no dearth of talent to pick from at the CRC especially with its proximity to the Virginia Tech campus.  Hiring has never been so easy and painless!

Quality of buildings

Par excellence.

Joe Meredith, President of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, is extremely accommodating and reasonable when companies plan out their changing space needs.  He understands the cash flow issues of small businesses and makes sure anything that is in his hands is made completely painless, financially easy, and stress-free for the tenants.

In addition, the CRC is now building a secure building up to Top Secret level which is critical for our line of work.

Prestige of being located in research park

Very high.  We get a lot of respect in the outside world among clients, potential business partners, investors, etc. when we mention our offices are located in the CRC.

Access to university faculty, facilities, and equipment

Proximity to the campus provides easy access to the university faculty, facilities and equipment.  A large part of generating business for us involves writing proposals.  We have enjoyed tremendous success as our proposal teams are made up of our employees and university faculty to target the specific skill sets required to win a bid.  Also, we have leveraged the university labs many times to deliver successfully on our projects.

Flexible leasing space

Joe Meredith completely gets the ever-changing staffing needs of a small business due to variability in contracts.  He has always believed in providing flexible leasing space way back since he first took over the reins of the park and my husband and I relocated our first business to the CRC in 1993.  Over the years, Joe Meredith has come up with creative ways to make leasing more and more flexible and painless for the tenants.


Very affordable in terms of rent as well as in terms of access.  A lot of our employees take the bus to work and the bus service to CRC is very frequent and very affordable.

Interaction with other firms in the park

The CRC is continuously organizing events to promote interaction among firms in the park.  These include many technology "share" events, networking and socializing events, events to foster partnerships among tenants, as well as community service events. This provides tenants the opportunity to bond on multiple fronts and feel comfortable with each other and consequently tap on each other’s strengths when needed. 

Business-related support services

The CRC staff is always accessible to provide any support needed.  Beyond that, even on a formal level, Joe Meredith has established many support services businesses in the park who offer discounted services and first priority to park tenants. 

Pallabi Saboo, CEO of Harmonia, Inc., located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology, research, and science park Harmonia, Inc. provides cradle to grave Software Life Cycle management solutions resulting in cost and time efficiencies not seen ever before, future proofing and creating platform independence in end results along the way.  Harmonia received the 2007 Tibbett’s National Award winner for most commercializable innovative technologies and Pallabi Saboo received the 2008 Washington Smart CEO award.

Harmonia, Inc. is located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology, research, and science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, facilities, and equipment and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

Some of the information used in this business blog post for Handshake 2.0 was gathered using competitive intelligence software AttaainCI.

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  1. The great environment that Pallabi describes at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center has helped Harmonia develop an innovative product for development of user-centered applications without writing code: LiquidApps (http://www.liquidappsworld.com). The product is unique in its integration of different roles in development of applications throughout the lifecycle: system engineers, human-factors designers, training curriculum developers, traditional software developers, and testers. The integration permits reuse of artifacts created by each role (e.g., UML diagrams, user interface designs, training documents) to provide a 25% savings in lifecycle costs.

  2. Thank you so much, Marc for sharing news of LiquidApps. And thank you so much, too, for providing me with these very interesting and helpful examples of when the use of LiquidApps would be ideal:

    1. The sales group in a small or medium size business wants to quickly build an easy-to-use application to “mash up” or put data together from different sources like their Customer Relationship Manager (e.g., Salesforce), a company database of past orders, a public Internet service (like Zillow to show housing values by address). The goal is to form a prioritized list of sales leads for the month. But they don’t have a programming staff. Someone in their company that is comfortable, say, creating complex Excel spreadsheets and macros could easily use LiquidApps to do the job in a few hours.

    2. A large company like a hospital, bank, or engineering firm wants to streamline its software development and save cost sin this tight economy. Maybe it is a bank that needs to update its software due to new regulations from Washington or mergers. LiquidApps can help analysts who are not hard-core software developers do more of the redesign work, help automate steps like generation of training manuals or on-screen help, and more to get the new product out fast and cheaper. LiquidApps is already used at Fortune 500 companies, including one of the largest defense projects in history.

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