At look at the first Top 100

A look back at the first Washington Technology Top 100, published in 1994, is instructive for two reasons. One is how much things have changed, and the second is how much they have stayed the same.

That issue's headlines describe how the Top 100 companies are "re-inventing themselves" and how the definitions of the terms "systems integrator" and "information technology" are changing. There are mentions of tight budgets and the need for companies to make acquisitions.

Sound familiar?

The most notable changes are the companies. At No. 1 was AT&T, followed by EDS/Hughes, both of which were owned by General Motors. Unisys was No. 3, and Loral, which had just acquired IBM Federal Systems, came in at No. 4. Computer Sciences Corp. rounded out the top 5.

Of the companies in the top 10 in 1994, only Boeing Co., EDS and CSC remain in that group today. Science Applications International Corp., is close. They were No. 11 in 1994 and are No. 5 today.

Martin Marietta, which had not merged with Lockheed yet, came in at No. 13 in 1994, thanks to its acquisition of GE Aerospace.

The roots of some of today's top companies can be can found throughout the 1994 top 10. Loral was later acquired by Lockheed Martin. GTE Corp., which was No. 6, in 1994, was acquired by General Dynamics, which was then No. 39 and is No. 6 today.

Six companies on the 1994 Top 100 were eventually rolled into today's Lockheed Martin. Another six became today's Northrop Grumman.

There are a couple head scratchers on the 1994 list, too, such as Deutsche Bundespost, which was No. 52, Sears Business Centers at No. 73 and Chrysler at No. 82.

One lesson the 1994 list teaches: Change is constant.

1994 Top 10:

1. AT&T

2. EDS, Hughes (General Motors)

3. Unisys

4. Loral

5. CSC

6. GTE

7. ITT

8. Rockwell International

9. Harris

10. Boeing

2008 Top 10

1. Lockheed Martin

2. Boeing

3. Northrop Grumman

4. Raytheon

5. SAIC

6. General Dynamics

7. KBR

8. L-3 Communications

9. CSC

10. EDS

About the Author

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

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