d'Vinci Interactive thrives on collaborative spirit
Mason Scuderi, left, is chief operating officer of d'Vinci Interactive and Pat Hellane is controller and president. The Hagerstown company, which specializes in Web and e-learning development, recently was acquired by JPL, a strategic marketing agency based in Harrisburg, Pa., but will retain its local presence. (By Yvette May/Staff Photographer / February 13, 2013)
Hellane created d’Vinci Interactive in 1993 in his Falling Waters, W.Va., home after hearing about software that gave desktop computer users access to multimedia.
A friend, with whom Vince worked producing videos, told him about Authorware, which is used to create e-learning applications, according to the website for Adobe (www.adobe.com), which owns the product. Vince was so intrigued that he traveled to California for training to become a certified programmer and trainer for the product that at the time was owned by Macromedia.
Vince always loved Macintosh computers and video, so putting them together “unlocked his creativity,” said his wife, Pat Hellane.
Macromedia didn’t have many trainers on the East Coast in the early 1990s and the concept of e-learning was just catching on, Pat said, so Vince was a pioneer of sorts.
“My husband was always an entrepreneur,” she said.
Their first business adventure was in the mid-1980s, when the Hellanes worked in the women’s fashion industry as wholesale traveling representatives. Then she sold Macs while he created a business that connected wholesale representatives with manufacturers in the women’s fashion industry.
With the Authorware training under his belt, Vince was able to educate staffers for various companies and federal entities — including the National Institutes of Health — on how to use it for their own training and certification programs. When those companies didn’t have time to lead their own e-learning courses, they sent the curriculums and resources to Vince to incorporate into training programs that could be done on a computer rather than on paper, Pat explained.
Thus was born d’Vinci, which is described at www.dvinci.com as a creative team that specializes in Web and e-learning development that has created more than 200 promotional and educational websites and Web applications.
The company’s name pairs part of Vince’s name with that of Tommy D’Aquino, a graphic artist whose skills Vince utilized in his computer-based curriculum development and with whom he hoped to partner in business but never did. Pat said her husband also was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, a painter, sculptor, architect and engineer, and that also factored into the company’s title.
A ‘blossoming’ business
In March 1995, d’Vinci moved to the Technical Innovation Center, Washington County’s technology business incubator at Hagerstown Community College.
“From then on, it really blossomed,” Pat said.
Until 2005, d’Vinci offered a lot of training, then its production side bloomed, she said.
In addition to NIH, d’Vinci’s clients include the National Park Service and the American Board of Pediatrics.
“That variety keeps everybody fresh,” said Pat, 55.
Vince kept in step with technology as it progressed from floppy discs to CD-ROM to the Internet.
“As technology progressed, so did he,” Pat said.
D’Vinci now creates apps for the iPad and iPhone, and does “responsive design,” through which websites are programmed to reformat themselves based on the device on which they’re being viewed, from computers to mobile phones.