InforMax was a cutting-edge company engaged in bioinformatics—namely, the development of new software for drug design, utilizing findings from the Human Genome Project. Founded in 1988, the firm was created by Dr. Alex Titomirov, a talented Russian scientist who had been invited to the United States to work in the laboratory of Dr. James Watson, one of the two scientists who discovered the DNA helix.

The Athena Group was retained to do public relations for InforMax, prior to its initial public offering (IPO). The publicity campaign showcased InforMax’s unique capabilities, its team of talented scientists and software engineers, and its potential to greatly increase the speed and accuracy of new drug design. As a result of the campaign, InforMax won coverage in The Washington Post and other top media outlets. When the Rockville, Md-based company went public in 2000, Maryland declared it “one of the top biotech IPOs in the state” that year.

“Mary Gotschall helped us build a public relations campaign for InforMax from the ground up, at a crucial time in the company’s history,” summarized Dr. Titomirov. “Thanks to her efforts, we raised the visibility of InforMax among the public, potential investors and key stakeholders. This helped ensure the success of our initial public offering.”

Alternative Marketing Access

Alternative Marketing Access (www.amadc.com) is a multi-service consulting firm that has furnished brand marketing and business development assistance for more than 30 years. The firm—which was founded by Walker A. Williams—provides clients with comprehensive expertise in strategic planning, institutional development, issue advocacy and representation, educational services, communications and public relations.

The Athena Group has worked with Alternative Marketing Access on a number of initiatives. These include editing a business plan for a global Mixed Martial Arts company; finalizing Trinidad Conference Report on alternative energy strategies for the Caribbean; and preparing a summary about US-African faith-based initiatives to address Africa’s challenges.

“Mary Gotschall always delivers work of the highest quality in timely fashion,” commented Walker Williams. “She is a versatile, enthusiastic expert and has added a great deal of value to our client relationships.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a book in 2000, entitled Bridging the Atlantic: How Eight Small American Businesses Succeeded in Europe (And How You Can Too). This was a guide for small U.S. companies about how to establish a presence in Europe using a variety of techniques, and it’s available on Amazon.com.

The eight case studies highlighted in the book represented a wide spectrum of industries. For example, there was a Web-based business in California that sold its hot sauces to a European clientele online. There was a classical instrument maker in Chicago who discovered how to thrive in Europe’s high-end market making hand-crafted violins, violas and cellos. And there was a tree farmer in the mountains of North Carolina who successfully sold lumber to Europeans by using a German sales representative.

“Mary Gotschall, working with co-writer John Davenport, did a wonderful job producing the book,” commented Pam Slater, who was then Director of Trade Policy, Europe at the Chamber. “The book will inspire scores of American entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses by going to Europe.”


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