Remembering Dan Bannister
Friends, colleagues praise industry icon
- By David Hubler
- Mar 15, 2011
Friends and colleagues are remembering technology community giant Dan Bannister, former chairman, president and CEO of DynCorp., who died March 13 of pancreatic cancer. He was 80.
Among his many volunteer activities, Bannister served as chairman of Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) from 2008 until his death. He was also chairman of the board of the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) and served on the board of the Tower Club.
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The center’s CEO and president, Peter Jobse, said, “The entire CIT board, the secretary of technology and the governor of the commonwealth, we're all mourning the loss of Dan. Not only was he an outstanding technology visionary and executive in our community, but he has a long legacy of terrific leadership both in the private sector as well as in the volunteer community.”
As the CIT chairman, Bannister led the organization from a period of slow growth to one of rapid growth, Jobse said.
“Under Dan’s leadership, we were able to experience an increase in mission-related revenues of close to 30 percent over what our prior revenues were," he said. "Much of that I attribute to both Dan’s expertise in understanding the role that technology plays in the community and how it is developed in conjunction with entities like universities, as well as his very strong leadership.”
“I consider him a mentor,” he added.
“Dan Bannister was an extraordinary leader of our community,” said Bobbie Kilberg, president and CEO of NVTC. "He was an exceptional chairman of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, our Equal Footing Foundation and his company, DynCorp."
“Most importantly, Dan was a wonderful person — warm and caring, committed, accomplished and productive,” Kilberg added. "It is hard to imagine our technology community without his gracious presence."
Sid Fuchs, who served on the Tower Club board with Bannister, recalled that “when he talked, everybody listened.”
“He always had the best interests of the organization at heart, and he’s definitely an icon in the industry,” Fuchs said. “He touched a lot of people, too — more than just as a businessman.”
“He was a very inclusive type of person who in my mind always wanted to help people and was there if you needed him," Fuchs said. "And he wasn’t shy about his opinions. He was very professional at all times and just a really quality guy.”
“The information technology community has lost really one of the good guys and one of the true pioneers,” said Dan Young, managing partner of Turnberry Group and former CEO
of Federal Data Corp., who described Bannister as a competitor and a
dear friend. "He is responsible for many of the organizations that today support the IT industry. I am going to miss him.”
Young recalled an incident epitomizing that relationship when Federal Data Corp. was competing against DynCorp. for a government contract. Bannister learned first which company had won.
“He called up and said, ‘I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is we lost the contract. The good news — you won it.’ What a class guy he was,” Young said.
Bannister was the recipient of numerous industry awards, including the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award, the Earle C. Williams Award for Leadership in Technology, the Greater Washington Government Contractors Hall of Fame, and the KPMG Peat Marwick High Tech Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
He is survived by his wife Sondra, son Michael, daughter Linda Bannister Epstein, daughter Vickie Pasterak and son-in-law George Pasterak, stepchildren Jessica Kelty and Todd Wilkins, four grandsons, and four step grandchildren.
A memorial visitation will be held at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, 9902 Braddock Rd., Fairfax, Va., on March 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. A celebration of his life will be held at McLean Bible Church, 8925 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, Va., at noon on March 18. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Bannister family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Easter Seals, Joe Gibbs’ Youth for Tomorrow or the Equal Footing Foundation.
David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.