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HOUSTON-Aston Group Inc. will try to sell Texas middle-market firms its integrated digital solutions from a new Houston “virtual office.” The Vancouver-based firm has leased a suite at One Riverway as its initial base. “Our Houston office is actually a ‘virtual office,’ with only three people staffing it at the moment,” Sandra MacKendrick, an Aston executive, tells GlobeSt.com. “We see this as our foothold in the Texas market. We will be expanding in future.”

Aston has utilized a similar “toe-in-the-water” approach in opening most of its 17 other offices in North America. Aston seems confident the trio assigned to Houston can market a full suite of Microsoft-based solutions to professional services firms and manufacturing and distribution clients from the One Riverway base.

With the entire Aston support network behind them, the Texas team will be equipped to handle regional, national and international accounts, according to George Brown, president and CEO of Aston Group. “For us, Texas represents a major population center that has received insufficient coverage in the past. Aston Group, with our host of international experts and high performance standards, will provide the quality of service and support that this region deserves,” he says.

Aston’s global network of service and support covers Canada, the UK, Europe and Australia. Aston Group had decided to enter Texas when a local reseller recently closed its operations. Seizing the opportunity to be of service to the reseller’s abandoned customers, Aston hired a multilingual core staff of Navision certified experts, including a developer and two implementers.

The Houston staff’s first task will be to finish the project that the reseller failed to complete for its manufacturing and distribution clients. For the time being, sales will be handled by Ken Centner, account executive, who will be assisted by the company’s national call center team.

“Having worked in the Houston area for more than 15 years prior to joining Aston in Colorado, I am familiar with the city and the needs of this client base,” says Centner. “I look forward to bringing Aston’s best and brightest resources to this market.”

Aston Group will be introducing Navision’s new e-Business offerings to the Texas market in 2001, including recently announced Web-enabled and customized mobile solutions.

Aston Group Inc., headquartered in Vancouver, is a division of Aston Group A/S of Denmark, formed by a consortium of IT organizations in 1999. The company employs over 1,500 professionals worldwide and has local service and support locations in more than 44 cities.

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