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KeyLabs finds key to success

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Jan E. Newman knows a hot business prospect when he sees one.

In fact, it was the heat of southern Nevada that led him, as a high school student, to his first entrepreneurial venture: providing ice for all the major businesses in town.That enterprise helped Newman build a college fund for himself, and education helped him land a job in 1986 with a small company called Novell Inc. Novell went on to huge success in the computer networking business, and Newman became an executive vice president in charge of a $1 billion business unit.

While at Novell, Newman directed the Super Lab, the industry's largest testing facility. He noticed that many developers wanted to use the lab to test their products, but Novell's heavy use kept them out.

Seeing a business opportunity, Newman started KeyLabs in January 1996. Using his industry contacts and relationships, Newman was able to win initial business. In fall 1996, media giant Ziff-Davis announced that KeyLabs would be the only commercial test lab it endorsed to run its benchmarking software.

In 1997, the company landed an even bigger client when Sun Microsystems chose KeyLabs to manage the 100% Pure Java program on a worldwide basis. All developers of Java technology must send their products to KeyLabs in order to carry the 100% Pure Java logo.

KeyLabs also has developed a suite of software tools and established a certification program while under Newman's guidance as president and chief executive.

In the future, the company plans to develop services and infrastructure to take advantage of the growth of the Internet and help computer companies reduce the cost of PC ownership. Newman also plans to raise capital to expand the marketing and sales presence of the company, increase development capabilities and expand the test lab.

Newman, 38, expects employees to propose new ways to manage the business more effectively every time it grows. In the community, he has been involved at various levels with the Boy Scouts of America for the past 10 years.