Combining alpine skiing with avionics may not be a standard formula for business success except to Brad Lawrence. The 64-year-old avionics executive is pursuing an aggressive business model that fits with his personal recreational philosophy as he takes his high-technology company forward in an era of tighter defense budgets. Based in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, Lawrence’s Esterline Technologies Corporation is at the forefront of broad new economic imperatives reshaping defense contractors in this time of shifting Pentagon funding priorities.
Export controls of military-related materials long have been a bone of contention between government and industry, but 2010 ushered in an array of changes, with adjustments to current laws and talk of broader reform. Leaders of private-sector organizations have pushed hard for legal decision makers to simplify the sale of products to foreign entities so domestic companies can keep pace with overseas competitors. And though these industry personnel might sometimes label the governing agencies as obstacles, administrators of the law also want restructuring efforts to move forward.
The General Services Administration and the Defense Information Systems Agency have made the first contract awards under their combined commercial satellite communications program, and more are expected soon. Part of an effort that began approximately two years ago, the deals mark a major shift in the way federal government organizations procure these space-based services. And though industry has its doubts about this new arrangement, the agencies in charge of the program believe the plan will benefit users and providers alike.
In the real world, predicting the military’s requirements is not the work of soothsayers. Instead, it requires traditional and nontraditional defense contractors alike to keep their eyes wide open and their ears to the ground. If they plan to sell a solution to one or all of the armed services in the coming years, they had better be paying close attention today to technical gaps as well as wish lists. And although companies going after military and government business are similar in many ways, their approaches to garner that next big contract are often very different.
It is almost impossible to overstate the importance computer networks and Internet-oriented applications play in today’s federal arena. After all, Pentagon officials constantly stress the military superiority inherent in net-centric warfare in which voice, data, satellite images and video provide essential battlefield information in real time. In this electronic enclave, U.S. fighting forces always stay at least one step ahead of the enemy.
Lisa N. Wolford grew up loving water sports. A former competitive swimmer, she worked as a lifeguard as a teenager and young adult. Later she took up motor boating, kayaking and sailing as well as jet and water skiing. But probably because she came of age in land-locked Nebraska, Wolford never did learn how to surf.
That proved no hindrance later in life. As a federal information technology executive, the former U.S. Marine Corps radio operator figured out how to catch a big wave and ride it to success.
The 2010 Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) cycle has begun. Organizations interested in participating in the event can go to the Federal Business Opportunity site for details about how to participate.
The U.S. economic stimulus package is making waves throughout government and industry. Some experts believe that it represents a sea change in government acquisition in terms of oversight, contractor accountability and transparency, which has been attempted before but never has been fully realized. Companies that wish to benefit from the stimulus package need to move—and move quickly—by positioning themselves as solutions providers and as businesses that are willing to follow the new rules.
It is a good thing Dr. Stanton D. Sloane loves the thrill of the hunt. As president and chief executive officer of SRA International Incorporated, Sloane will be scouring details of the $787 billion federal fiscal stimulus package and the new administration’s upcoming defense budgets for additional sources of revenue.
One could forgive Paul Domorski for running a little scared. How else can people describe an executive whose guiding business book is none other than Only the Paranoid Survive by former Intel Chairman Andy S. Grove?
Do not blame Don Herring if his business plan for the next decade seems simple at first glance. After all, the senior vice president in charge of AT&T Government Solutions believes he is poised to cement his division’s reputation as a key provider of federal information technology services with dozens of new civilian and defense contracts that could be worth billions of dollars.
When he is not selling software to federal agencies and major corporations, Curt Kolcun likes to unwind on his 26-acre “farm” near the historic town of Leesburg, Virginia, about 40 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. The capital commute sometimes can seem like capital punishment, but Kolcun doesn’t seem to mind.
Chalk it all up to Melissa, a computer virus that spread rapidly on the Internet and shut down entire e-mail systems. For both the computing public and the information security industry, the Melissa virus—named for a Florida lap dancer, of all things—was a huge wakeup call.
As a young pilot in the U.S. Navy, S. Daniel Johnson liked the thrill of taking off from and landing on aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic. And yet he knew in his heart he wanted something more out of life—an exciting career in business.
So when he shipped back to the United States in the early 1970s, Johnson enrolled in a master’s of business administration (MBA) program at The George Washington University in the nation’s capital. Earlier he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, where the former high school athlete played shortstop on the academy’s baseball team.
If Howard Lance ever decides to sell his 22-foot motorboat docked at his home on the Intracoastal Waterway in central Florida, he could honestly advertise the craft as “hardly used.”
Steve Gaffney vividly recalls the day he literally got a whack upside the head that gave him a lifelong lesson in success—one that would come in handy this year.
Running a key sector in one of the world's largest information technology companies may not seem to have much in common with automobile repair. But one corporate leader draws from that discipline to drive a group that has undergone a complete overhaul since a serious breakdown little more than a decade ago.
Despite common interests and goals, the military and the information technology sector are hampered by cultural differences that thwart their ability to work together, according to a former U.S. Defense Department information technology leader now in the private sector.
George Pedersen always wanted to run a $1 billion company. When he started ManTech International Corporation on a shoestring budget several decades ago, the hard-charging executive knew achieving that level of market share would be a watershed moment for his fledgling enterprise.
The critical shortage of available technical talent has added a new wrinkle in the realm of proprietary information for corporations. Once reserved for the blueprints of jet fighter aircraft or new software programs, closely guarded secrets now include techniques used to attract the best and the brightest with education and experience in information technology sciences. In addition, the new corporate landscape is being shaped by policies and programs that encourage current employees to stay put, and congressional legislation is allowing more foreign workers to enter the U.S. work force.