Booz Allen exec succumbs to cancer

With the Dec. 23 death of Al Picarelli, the government IT market has lost one its leaders and a person many call one of the true good guys of the industry.

The 63-year-old Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. executive was diagnosed with cancer last spring. He had undergone aggressive treatment and even showed signs of remission before the cancer was discovered in his brain two months ago. He died at his home in Annapolis, Md.

In an e-mail to employees, Booz Allen Chairman and CEO Ralph Shrader recalled Picarelli's "indomitable spirit, great wisdom, and love for his family, friends, and the firm - in addition to his incredible talent for applying information technology to solve clients' problems."

Picarelli joined Booz Allen in 1994 as a vice president and rose to become a senior partner. He also was a member of Booz Allen's top management body, the firm's leadership team, and he led the company's global IT business. He retired in September.

"I can tell you from personal experience he was one of the finest men in the government IT community," said Scott Lewis, president and CEO of PS Partnerships, a Falls Church, Va., marketing and consulting company. Lewis also is the former group publisher of Washington Technology.

While described by many as a first rate businessman, Picarelli will be remembered equally as well for his optimism, humor and the way he reached out to others.

"His reach extended beyond [Booz Allen] into the entire Northern Virginia technology community. Al had friends in all of the major SI's and technology provider firms in the country," said William Arzt of Accenture Ltd. "He defined himself in part by extending himself as a friend to many ? within Booz Allen and in our community. Booz Allen and the community truly loved Al Picarelli."

Howard Ulep, director of federal programs at Key Government Finance Inc., Annapolis, Md., met Picarelli in the 1980s when Picarelli was working with Grumman Corp., building that company's IT business. They worked together on a Navy contract.

"Al was humble - he never flaunted his education, nor his business successes?. He rarely spoke about himself, mostly about the positive side of others," Ulep said.

Through their years of friendship, Ulep often heard Picarelli comment that "Life is good," Ulep said.

"He was ever optimistic even after his diagnosis in the spring," Arzt said.

In his message to the Booz Allen employees, Shrader said, "At this time of year when we traditionally give gifts to loved ones, we should cherish the gift of Al - and, in his memory, try to adopt and share some of his qualities, especially his unselfishness, honesty, sparkle, and sense of humor."

Picarelli is survived by his wife Judy, two daughters, Denise Picarelli and Janice Smith, both Booz Allen employees, two grandchildren, two sisters and several nieces and nephews.

A funeral mass will be conducted 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 29, at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Reston, Va. The family will receive friends today and tomorrow from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Adams-Green Funeral Home in Herndon, Va.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be sent to the American Cancer Society with the designation "Other Cancer Research," PO Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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