Changing of the Guard
When I saw the news at the end of last week, my mind reeled a bit.
SRA International Inc's CEO Renny DiPentima retiring? Wow. I know everyone eventually retires or at least should, but come on, Renny?
When I think of SRA, I naturally think of Ernst Volgeneau, the founder and chairman, and Ted Legasey, who helped Ernst get the company off the ground.
But almost as quickly I think of Renny, who joined the company 12 years ago after a stellar government career. Lightning struck again and his career at SRA has been nothing short of stellar as well. The company has probably quadrupled in size and gone public. It also is a yearly lock on the lists of best places to work.
Renny has told me several times that moving from the government to the private sector wasn't a huge leap because his primary motivation?to serve the public?stayed the same. He felt he was doing important work for the nation when he was at the Social Security Administration and he feels the same way about the work SRA does.
He's a true believer in the ethic of doing well by doing right.
Sure, it's corny, but if you spend any time talking to Renny, you believe it.
Another reason, I feel the need to talk about Renny is because of how much he has helped me to understand the government market.
As a reporter, you try to find a couple go-to sources. The type of people you can ask, what is this really about? They give you a history lesson and a tutorial as much as an interview.
Early in my career covering the government IT market Renny was one of those go-to sources for me and he continues to be. I'm sure when he looks at the one or two quotes he has had in some of my stories and compared that to the hour or so we had talked, he probably thinks he got the short end of the stick. But he's never complained, at least not to me.
But he has helped me dig deeper into stories and pointed me to other important sources. I know he has saved me several times from looking foolish.
One good thing about his retirement is that Renny isn't leaving completely. He's stepping back. He'll work part time for SRA and stay on the company's board. So I wouldn't be surprised if Renny and I still have some long talks left in us.
Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 01, 2007 at 7:22 PM