Deltek co-founder dies of lung disease

Donald deLaski applied his accounting skills to emerging computer technologies to create Deltek as a software company dedicated to government contractors.

Donald deLaski, who co-founded Deltek, died of lung disease on March 9 at his home in Bethesda, Md. He was 80. DeLaski had battled asthma his entire life.

A memorial service is being held at 3:30pm on Friday, March 16 at the deLaski Performing Arts Center at the Fairfax, Va., campus of George Mason University.

He founded Deltek in 1983 after building an accounting practice for government contractors. The company began with a $100,000 investment to fund the programming effort for the first version of the software. Today, Deltek is a public company with 2011 revenue of $341 million and 750 employees.

“When it comes to accounting for government contractors, Don deLaski was the guy that changed everything,” said Kevin Parker, Deltek’s CEO. “In the early 1960’s he figured out how to put very complicated cost accounting information together for his clients in an organized and logical way. And then finally, when the technology was ready, he seized the opportunity to automate his approach and to make it affordable for firms of all sizes.”

DeLaski was the CEO of Deltek until 1996 and he remained active on the board until 2005.

He also was very active with philanthropy work, forming the Donald and Nancy deLaski Foundation, which granted over $40 million to Washington D.C. area charities during  the past 10 years. Its largest gift when to George Mason University to build the Performing Arts Practice facility and the founding of GMU’s Center for Consciousness and Transformation.

The deLaskis also funded gifts for medical care for local asthmatic children through Howard University and also arts education for children through the Sitar Center. Other major local gifts have also been provided to the Mount Vernon Library, the new Arena Stage building and the Center for Mind-Body Medicine.

DeLaski attended Coolidge High School in Washington, was a graduate of Duke University and received a law degree from George Washington University. He was married for 54 years to Nancy Lee Panossian, who died in 2009. He is survived by three children, Kenneth, Kathleen and David, and six grandchildren.

For further information, please contact Ken deLaski at

Donations may be made to the Early Identification Program conducted by George Mason University. Click here for further information, or contact Kathleen deLaski at