WebMethods hires PRC alumnus Don Upson

Further signaling its intent to pursue the government market, middleware provider WebMethods Inc., Fairfax, Va., has hired former Virginia Secretary of Technology Don Upson as senior vice president of business operations for its public-sector unit.

The company plans a formal announcement on May 20.

The move follows that of Len Pomata, former president and chief executive officer of Litton PRC Inc., who March 11 assumed role as president of its new business unit.

The hires reunite Pomata and Upson, who worked together at PRC, with Upson reporting to Pomata as vice president of marketing. Upson joined PRC in 1992 and worked there until 1998, when he became secretary of technology for Virginia, a cabinet-level position that he held until March. Pomata worked as CEO of PRC from 1995 until 2000.

Upson said he had been familiar with WebMethods when he was secretary of technology. "To me, its product reflects a couple of very important trends in government: the appreciation by government of its interdependencies across jurisdictions, and the fact it doesn't have the money to replace systems that it needs to communicate with. [WebMethods' software] gives agencies the ability to share information across jurisdictions without replacing existing systems. That integration software space is new."

In his position, Upson will be responsible for developing business with the public sector, building alliances with federal partners and systems integrators and undertaking policy, professional and political activities.

According to Upson, the company plans on hiring a third individual as vice president of sales to complete the federal-sector management team.

With the team in place, the company hopes to boost government sales from the under 10 percent of its revenue today to 25 percent in three years, said Mark Bisnow, a senior vice president for the company.

For its fiscal 2002, which ended March 31, WebMethods had $196 million in revenue, with a net loss, excluding amortization of stock, warrants and goodwill and equity investment impairment charges as well as restructuring costs, of $82.7 million, according to a company press release.

For Upson, the federal team will bring significant experience to the table when dealing with agencies and the integrators that support them.

"We understand the government," said Upson. "We understand budget constraints. We understand its buying mechanisms, the missions that most require integration software: health care, law enforcement, security and defense."

In addition to these recent hires, the company has formed an advisory group for consultation on the government space. Thus far, group members include Alan Balutis, the executive director and chief operating officer of the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils and the Industry Advisory Council; Tom Hewitt, founder of government research firm Federal Sources Inc., McLean, Va., and Dan Young, who was head of Federal Data Corp., from 1985 until it was acquired by Northrop Grumman Corp., Los Angeles, in 2000.

WebMethods' public-sector unit, now called WebMethods Federal, may change names to WebMethods Government to reflect the company's interest in state, local and other public-sector work, Bisnow said.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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