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Two TVI officials resign top jobs

The Baltimore Sun

With its financial performance and stock price sagging, two top executives abruptly resigned from Glenn Dale-based TVI Corp. and the company's board named two of its directors to fill their spots, the company announced yesterday.

Richard Priddy, who was TVI's president, chief executive officer and member of the board, and Charles Sample, who was the executive vice president and a board member, resigned effective immediately, the company said. Replacing them are Lt. Gen. Harley Hughes as interim president and CEO and Don Yount as interim senior vice president and chief operating officer.

G.J. Roberts, TVI's senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the board was frustrated with the company's financial performance, and it along with Priddy and Sample came to a mutual decision that the two officers should resign.

"I think it was just a building of that, and they ended up deciding it was the right answer for the company and the individuals," Roberts said.

Sample had been with TVI since 1995, Priddy since 2002.

TVI shares fell more than 20 percent on the news, dropping as low as $1.05 during trading yesterday. The stock closed at $1.10, down 29 cents or 20.86 percent. The shares have plummeted 71 percent over the past 12 months.

TVI makes collapsible shelters and decontamination systems for first responders, hospitals and the military. The Prince George's County company employs more than 300.

Priddy said as recently as last month that he believed TVI was turning a corner, thanks to a new $2 million order from the Army. The company reported a net loss of $470,000, or a penny per diluted share, on revenue of $11.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Preliminary results for the first quarter of 2007, however, show a widening loss. TVI said yesterday that it expected a net loss of between 7 cents and 9 cents per share for the first quarter. The company expects revenue to be about $14 million for the quarter, up from $9.3 million for the first quarter of last year.

TVI expects to report first-quarter results next month.

A board-appointed special committee will conduct a national search for a permanent CEO, the company said.

Roberts said the company has not yet decided how it will fill the COO position long-term, adding that it will depend on the candidate selected for the CEO job.

Hughes, 71, has been a TVI board member since 2003. He was deputy chief of staff for plans and operations for the U.S. Air Force and Air Force operations deputy to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington in the 1980s, according to TVI.

"I welcome the opportunity to work with TVI's management team and employees to focus on the company's growth prospects and return on investment," Hughes said in a statement. "TVI has a promising portfolio of products and services, and I look forward to leading TVI in the interim and building long-term shareholder value."

Yount, 46, has been a board member of TVI since 2005. His previous employers include Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds, where he was principal and CFO, and Advanced TelCom Group, according to TVI.

Mark N. Hammond, TVI's chairman, declined to comment specifically on why the two executives were replaced.

"It was time to make a change," he said. "We feel very fortunate to have Harley Hughes as an interim CEO and Don Yount as interim senior vice president to help us transition the company and focus on what we hope will be a bright future for the company."

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