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.
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.
Federal agencies have formulated aggressive campaigns to recruit skilled employees during an era of increased need for information technology professionals. Forced to compete with private industry, these agencies are changing employment packages to lure qualified professionals into the public sector and meet departmental requirements.
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.