Running a third lap

Renny DiPentima enjoys new role as corporate adviser

When Renato "Renny" DiPentima retired in
June 2007 as president and chief executive
officer at SRA International Inc., he said he
wanted to enjoy a schedule that would be more
flexible than those that determined how he
spent much of his 45 years in government and
industry.

That doesn't mean DiPentima has become a
full-time retiree who
spends his time soaking
up the sun at his home
in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He said he has simply
switched his focus from running companies to
counseling them, primarily by serving on corporate
boards of directors.

He serves on several boards, including those
of SRA; Brocade Communications Inc., an
information technology services provider; and
Redshift Ventures, a venture capital firm.

"Transitioning to these board roles keeps just
that right amount of intellectual sharpness and
still reflects my caring about the industry and
the businesses," he said. "I see it as the third
part of my career, having spent 32 years in government
and then 13 years with SRA."

Despite a heavy workload at SRA and in government,
DiPentima found time to be chairman
of the Federal IT Acquisition
Improvement team as part of the President's
National Performance Review initiatives. He
also led the Industry Advisory Council's chief information officer task force, making recommendations
to the CIO Council on the roles and
responsibilities of federal CIOs.

Although it's a great honor to run a public
company, "I have to say it's also a tough job," he
said. Shifting gears from being an operating
manager at SRA to a governance person as a
board member has been a major change, he
said. "It's a whole new set of challenges, which I
really enjoy."

Quarterly board meetings, conferences and
speaking engagements regularly bring
DiPentima to the Washington area, where he
tries ? not always successfully ? to piggyback
his board duties with informal gatherings of
friends and former colleagues.

With such a full ? yet flexible ? schedule,
DiPentima said he has little time to miss running
SRA. "I miss the day-to-day interaction
with my friends. I do miss that," he said. "But I
think I was at the point in my career where ... it
was time to find the right successor and go into
a more relaxed, more flexible schedule for me."

His successor, Stanton Sloane, echoed
DiPentima's sentiments. "Renny's handoff to
me as the new CEO of SRA in 2007 was flawless,"
Sloane said. "We had worked out a transition
period, and Renny stayed on board
while I got to know the company, the employees
and the customers. He's a true gentleman
and has been extremely
helpful to me. He left behind
large shoes to fill."

DiPentima joined SRA in
1995 as a vice president and
CIO. He also served as president
and chief operating
officer.

During his tenure at SRA, the company
grew from $135 million in revenue to $1.2 billion.
He also amassed numerous industry
awards, such as the American Council for
Technology/Industry Advisory Council's
Janice K. Mendenhall Spirit of Leadership
Award in 2006 for his contributions to the federal
IT community.

Previously, he spent 32 years working for
the federal government, rising to deputy
commissioner of systems
at the Social Security
Administration.

In an interview last
year, DiPentima recalled
how the introduction of
IT dramatically changed
the way government operates. "At Social
Security, everything was done on paper," he
said. "Information only moved as fast as paper
[did]. The only people who could help you
were the people who had the paper. And only
one person could help you at a time. IT
changed all of that. It brought online, interactive,
immediate access to information. It was
revolutionary."

DiPentima began his retirement by traveling
in the Pacific Northwest, from Seattle to Alaska.
Since then, he and his wife have traveled
frequently, including regular visits to their children
and grandchildren in the Washington area.
When he is at home in Florida, DiPentima
also gets together occasionally with former IT
executives living nearby.

He said he enjoys meeting with former
industry colleagues and "finally having the
chance for my wife and me to play a little golf
on a more regular basis." But he added quickly
that so far the warm weather hasn't helped
improve his game, not even with a new set of
golf clubs.

David Hubler (dhubler@1105govinfo.com) is associate
editor at Washington Technology.

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