Ten Years and Counting...


"Washington has the critical mass to be a great technology center. The only trouble is, nobody seems to know it. There are lots of statistics: We have more than 1,100 technology companies with 160,000 technology employees. And more than 40 percent of these are managers or professionals, constituting the greatest concentration of talent in the world.

But statistics lack drama. And because we don't know enough about each other -- our heroes, our innovations, our fast burners, even our duds -- nobody else knows much about us either. As a result, 75 percent of the non-government money spent locally on technology goes outside our region. We don't have a statistic for how many millions of dollars that is. We just know it's too many.

Washington Technology is the bi-weekly newspaper locally owned and locally written to help you identify business and professional opportunities and the players on the home team...."

...That original, 10-year-old promo piece for Washington Technology still rings with a certain amount of currency: As a major cluster of the infotech economy -- the second largest in the United States -- the region remains under-recognized. Our core sector, systems integration, is only now emerging as the most influential and powerful channel for products and niche services. But the shift is on, the momentum is with us, and the money is sticking as well.

Washington Technology takes pride in these improving perceptions, bolstered by our region's dramatic growth. And we take more than a little credit.

When we set out a decade ago to identify and serve this sector, we became its ad hoc network. Our readers were, and remain, its leadership. But not only was the sector invisible to the community as a whole, the technology industry itself was fragmented and unconnected.

There were a few people with name recognition -- mainly Norm Augustine, who was better known as a former defense official and author of "Augustine's Laws" than as executive vice president of Martin Marietta. (As our first contributing editor, Norm agreed to let us excerpt his book for a modest royalty. Ten years later, he shares his thoughts on a decade of change in his industry.) Earle Williams, the first tech executive to serve as chairman of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, hosted a small group of tech CEOs during this period. Even Earle didn't know many of them, and for sure, they didn't know each other.

As motherboard of the Netplex, we helped fix that.

Washington Technology was not a financial barn burner in those early days, but thanks to great reader acclaim and the vision and generous pockets of our investors, especially TechNews Chairman John Sanders, we survived and grew. Most of our first advertisers are still around -- KSK, BDM, Advanced Technology, SRA, Ideas, Reed Smith's TechLex Group, TechWorld, Contel, BTG, RJO, Ford Aerospace, Martin Marietta, ERC, ARC, Sperry, C3, Burroughs, Capital Tech, Virginia Tech, American University, Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland, George Washington University, TASC, Booz-Allen & Hamilton, TRW, MITRE, GTE, PRC, AH&T, Autometric, Sovran, VM Systems, American Security, Montgomery County and the city of Alexandria. Albeit in another corporate persona, most are still with us.

Here are some of our lead stories in 1986: FFRDCs Profit by Tax-Free, Non-Competitive Contracts; High-Tech Council Seeks Money; NSF Identifies Serious Deficiencies in Undergraduate Math, Science and Engineering; PRC Implements Electronic Transfer in Food-Stamp Program; Space Privatization Left at Ground Zero; Chernobyl Accident Thrusts Spot Image into Business; Global Terrorism Creates Market for Secure Services; NASA Crisis Arises from Style Shift; FTS 2000 Has Contractors Ringing with Anticipation; GE Subsidiary Poised for Growth at Intersection of Computers and Communications; DCAA Overkill Has Contractors Whirling; DEC Launches New Marketing Approach for Computer Industry's Network Leaders; Landmark Systems Monitors Software Success; Service Firms Rally to Save Cut Profits.

That first year we launched the occasional forerunner of our monthly Executive Breakfast Briefings, brought to maturity by impresario John Sanders, again part of our commitment to the business network in visual, as well as virtual form.

But fast-forward to 1990, when the defense drawdown was underway, and information systems integrators began to think of themselves as something different from, and more than, defense contractors. At Washington Technology, the infotech era officially began with the arrival of TechNews Publisher Tim Karney, who flipped our focus on its head to reflect instead of our geography, our leadership in the region's fastest growing industrial cluster.

As the newspaper of government systems integrators, we acquired a national readership for our news and insight into Fortune One, the big kahuna of infotech spending; harbingers of changing policies; big prime integrators, leading teaming partners, marketing channels and vendors -- all in the context of providing business marketing intelligence.

Washington Technology, Washington and the infotech services industry have made great strides in the decade.

Highlights on our own list include the Greater Washington High-Tech Awards Gala, the Washington Technology Almanac, Washington Technology Online, our support of our region's tech councils and our many co-sponsored events.

But what will carry us forward, as in the past, is the dedicated effort of talented people, especially those on the front line, our editors, reporters, account representatives, and each and every one of our 35 employees and many contributors and consultants.

With these people and others like them, we can continue to inform, reassure and often, wow you. Our readers, who in addition to all your other exceptional qualities, are an incredibly powerful strategic customer for our advertisers, the savviest bunch of product and service providers that systems integrators ever teamed with.

Thanks for making us a 10!

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