22 leaders who made a difference
- By Nick Wakeman
- Sep 01, 2006
They are entrepreneurs who launched their own companies and senior executives who rose through the ranks. And while they are all men, they are still a diverse lot. Some come from the aerospace and defense arena, others from science and technology and still others from government services.
What they have in common is a passion for the mission of government contractors and the public service they provide.
They also are businessmen who returned value and profits to shareholders and employees.
It has taken scores if not hundreds of leaders to build today's marketplace, but these 22 burned the brightest.Norman Augustine
While chairman and CEO of Martin Marietta Corp., he orchestrated the merger with Lockheed Corp., creating what became the government's largest defense and IT contractor.
Augustine prophesized the coming consolidation of the industry and then helped make it happen by leading Lockheed Martin through 17 acquisitions before he retired in 1997.Dan Bannister
Bannister joined DynCorp in 1953 and worked his way up through the ranks to become president and CEO in 1985. Three years later, he led DynCorp's conversion to an employee-owned company. Revenue grew steadily from $646 million in 1989 to $2.3 billion in 2003.
In 1997, he relinquished the CEO title and became chairman, a post he held until the company was sold in March 2003 to Computer Sciences Corp. for $930 million.
Well known for his support of the broader contracting industry, Bannister was a chairman of the Professional Services Council.Edward Bersoff
He led his company, BTG Inc., through what would become a familiar arc for other IT contractors: an entrepreneurial start, strong growth, an initial public offering of stock and then sale to a larger company.
Bersoff in 1982 founded BTG as the Bersoff Technology Group, took it public in 1994 and in 2001 sold it to Titan Corp. Advanced Technology Inc. of McLean, Va., is being acquired by a special acquisition corporation he helped start. Bersoff will become chairman and CEO.Robert Beyster
The evangelist of employee ownership, Beyster founded Science Applications International Corp. and built a multibillion dollar business. Though he owned barely more than 1 percent of the stock, Beyster led the company for 35 years, retiring in 2004. At that time the company had 42,000 employees and revenue of $6.2 billion.
A true believer in entrepreneurship, he founded the Beyster Institute to work on entrepreneur and employee-ownership issues.
He maintains a blog at www.beyster.com and plans in spring 2007 to publish a book on entrepreneurship.Nicholas Chabraja
Under his leadership as chairman and CEO, General Dynamics Corp. has made a name as an active acquirer of IT and systems integration companies and as a winner of major defense contracts.
With deals for Anteon International Corp., GTE and Veridian Corp., General Dynamics established itself as a leader of network centric warfare, communications and other IT-related support.Milt Cooper
Cooper joined Computer Sciences Corp. in 1984 as a vice president and rose to become president of the company's federal business in 1992. An early proponent of best-value contracting, Cooper wasn't afraid of leading edge ? and risky ? projects such as the IRS' Prime and National Security Agency's Groundbreaker contracts. Both projects pushed the boundaries of the agency-contractor relationship.
By 2001 when he retired, CSC's federal business had grown to $2.6 billion in annual revenue.Thomas Hewitt
The founder of Federal Sources Inc., Hewitt built a business focused on serving government IT contractors.
Providing data and consulting services, Hewitt helped bridge the gap between contractors and their government customers.
His services and skills filled a demand for bringing companies together with customers as well as fostering partnerships among companies.Chris Horgen
A co-founder of Nichols Research Corp., Huntsville, Ala., Horgen helped build a company that focused on high-end engineering and systems integration work. Its golden age was the 1990s when the company embarked on a growth plan that included acquisitions to crack new markets and expand its defense-heavy customer base.
By the late 1990s, the company had a $1.2 billion contract backlog and hard-to-get customers in the space, missile defense and intelligence communities.
CSC in 1999 swooped in and acquired the company for $391 million, ending Nichols' 21-year run as an independent company.Clifford Kendall
The founder of one of the first government IT systems integrators, Kendall started his company, Computer Data Systems Inc., in 1968 with four employees. By the time he sold the company in 1997 to Affiliated Computer Services Inc., it had more than 3,000 employees and was traded on Wall Street. The company often made the lists of the country's best small and midsized companies.Kent Kresa
Like CEOs of other defense companies in the late 1980s, Kresa, then head of Northrop Corp., saw an industry in flux. By acquiring Grumman Corp. and other companies that matched customers' needs, his leadership ensured that Northrop was one of the survivors.
In the process, he also built one of the largest government IT businesses and laid the groundwork for a company that continues to grow and thrive.J.P. "Jack" London
When London in 1990 became chairman and CEO of CACI International Inc., he backed up his belief in the then 28-year-old company and acquired a 5 percent stake in the Arlington, Va., systems integrator.
His belief in the company has never wavered as he's held off rumors of being acquired and one very vocal dissenting shareholder who advocated that the company be sold.
Meanwhile, he continued to set and meet growth goals. In 1998, the company had $326.1 million in annual revenue. Today, its revenue stands at $1.76 billion.Michael McCullough
McCullough joined Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in 1965 as a consultant and made partner by 1971. In 1985 he became chairman of the then 70-year-old consulting company. He retired in 1991.
He was an early proponent of the idea that the government could be an important customer of high-end consulting and technology services. He also promoted the overall industry itself, not just Booz Allen's role in it. McCullough is a director emeritus of the Professional Services Council.Alvin Nashman
Many call Alvin Nashman the dean of the systems integration market. For 27 years, he led Computer Sciences Corp.'s systems group. When he retired in fiscal 1992, CSC employed more than 16,000 people and had revenue of more than $1.1 billion.
His work at CSC set the course for that company, which, despite its size, has successfully bridged the divide of the commercial and government IT markets.
Although retired, Nashman continued to influence the industry, sitting on the boards of companies and IT investment funds such as NextGen Capital LLC.Philip Odeen
After taking the helm in 1992 as president and CEO of BDM International Inc., Odeen led the company through a buyout, an initial public offering and a $1 billion sale to TRW Inc. He ran TRW's information and systems integration business, a $3 billion-a-year business, before becoming chairman of TRW and negotiating its sale in 2002 to Northrop Grumman Corp.
In June, Odeen stepped down as CEO of QinetiQ North America Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of the British defense company.George Pedersen
The co-founder of ManTech International Corp. had modest ambitions in 1968 when he founded the company. But today it is among the elite companies with greater than $1 billion in annual government revenue.
Despite the company's size and status as a publicly traded entity, it is hard to separate Pedersen from ManTech. He wants it that way, proudly proclaiming he will remain as chairman until he dies. "I love what we do, every day," he says.Gene Ray
A former employee of Science Applications International Corp., Ray in 1969 struck out on his own and formed Titan Corp. The company became known for its cutting edge technology development, and Ray, through acquisitions, continued to build a vibrant IT services business.
In 2004, Ray tried to sell the company to Lockheed Martin Corp. for $2.2 billion, but the deal fell apart amidst allegations of illegal activities in one of its international units.
But the company as a whole never missed a beat and continued to win contracts. In the following year, Ray completed a deal for sale of the company to L-3 Communications Inc. for $2.65 billion.Charles Rossotti
One of former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's whiz kids at the Pentagon during the Kennedy administration, Rossotti early on recognized that selling IT and consulting services to the government was a viable business.
In 1970, he co-founded American Management Systems Inc. In 1997, he became IRS commissioner and ushered in one of the first truly performance-based contracts, IRS Prime, to modernize the agency's business processes.
Since retiring in 2002, Rossotti has been active with the Carlyle Group investment firm, as well as writing a book about his time at the IRS, "Many Unhappy Returns: One Man's Quest To Turn Around The Most Unpopular Organization In America," Harvard Business School Press.John Toups
Toups in 1958 founded an engineering services company and led that company until its acquisition in 1970 by PRC Inc. In 1973, he became a group vice president of PRC's engineering companies and rose in 1977 to president and CEO of PRC, leading the company for 10 years until its acquisition by Emhart Corp. He served on Emhart's board until Black and Decker Corp. acquired the company in 1998.
He remains active and connected in the IT community, serving on the boards of several companies and nonprofit organizations.Earle Williams
Williams is one of the architects of the systems integrator business model of providing high-tech professional services to the government. He became chief executive of BDM in 1972 and held the job until his retirement 20 years later. He saw the company through 16 straight years of 29 percent or better annual growth.
He also believed in his industry and worked to raise its status through organizations such as the Professional Services Council at a time when many government contractors felt it was better to keep a low profile.Ernst Volgenau
The co-founder of SRA International Inc. is known as much for his emphasis on ethics and culture at his company as he is for keeping an eye on the bottom line.
The SRA mantra, repeated by many companies but executed as well by few, is to take care of customers and employees first, and the revenues and profits will come. And come they have for SRA, which has risen from a four-person shop in 1976 to a $1.2 billion publicly traded company today.Dan Young
Dan Young spent 25 years at Federal Data Corp., rising, with the company's acquisition in 1995 by the Carlyle Group, to become president and CEO. Over the next four years, he closed six acquisitions, and the company grew to about $600 million in annual revenue. In November 2000, Young sold the privately held company to Northrop Grumman Corp. for more than $300 million.
He continues to share his wisdom and experience with other companies, serving on boards of directors and advising up-and-coming executives.Dendy Young
Now chairman of GTSI Corp., Young has spent his career in the trenches of the government reseller business, first with Falcon Microsystems Inc., which he founded, then sold to GTSI in 1994. In 1996, he came back to return GTSI to profitability and brought its revenue up to the $1 billion mark.
Now he has passed day-to-day operations to James Leto as the company works to transition its emphasis to that of a solutions and services provider.