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Nick Wakeman

Stan Soloway gets surprise induction in hall of fame

I’ve known Stan Soloway for many years, and the attention and recognition he’s getting as he steps down from the Professional Services Council is well deserved. Last night was no exception, as he was the surprise inductee into the Greater Washington Contractor Award hall of fame.

He was welcomed to the hall by Paul Lombardi, former DynCorp CEO, who himself was inducted Thursday night. Lombardi’s honor was expected. But it was fitting for Lombardi to induct Soloway as the 14th member of the hall of fame. After all, Lombardi recruited Soloway 15 years ago to take over PSC.

It was fun seeing Soloway speechless for a moment, though he said he started suspecting something was up when he arrived at the awards dinner and his wife was in attendance.

But while I think the award is well deserved, it might be too soon. Soloway after all is only resigning from PSC. He’s not retiring. His next chapter will be written in the contractor/acquisition space, so he’s not done yet. He’s made it clear, he’s not going anywhere.

“I’m not dying,” I’ve heard him say on more than one occasion.

But it is a real testament to what Soloway has done for the government contracting industry over the last decade and a half, and I think people have jumped at the opportunity to say thank you.

He hasn’t said yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the next chapter builds on what he’s done at PSC, so we might have to find another honor to give him when he really does retire in another 15 years or so.

Soloway’s surprise honor may have been the highlight for many at the GovCon Awards, which are presented annually by PSC and the Fairfax County, Va., Chamber of Commerce. But the best laughs of the night belonged to Anne Rung, the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. She was recognized as the public sector partner of the year.

“This is like the Academy Awards, so I want to thank my make-up artist and my designer for making me look like a government employee,” she said.

“To be recognized is incredibly meaningful,” she continued. “It’s probably all down hill from here.”

The loudest cheers of the night probably came from table 18, where the folks from Cognosante LLC erupted when their CEO, Michele Kang, won the executive of the year award in the $75 million to $300 million revenue category.

She spoke about being passionate and “crazy” enough to do things differently.

I love the enthusiasm and passion of the small and mid-tier companies. It’s different with the big companies. It’s not meant as a criticism, but the large companies are usually just more serious and reserved.

It was also a big night for PAE. Company CEO John Heller was named executive of the year in the more than $300 million revenue group. Then, at the end of the night, PAE’s work in Liberia supporting efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak was named the best project of the year.

When the Ebola epidemic struck, the company was called on by USAID to set up treatment centers around the world and the company had 1,400 people in place in just a matter of weeks.

Heller said he struggled with asking someone to go to Liberia and lead the effort because of the dangers of the disease, but he didn’t have to ask. A senior executive and his deputy volunteered. “Of course, we have to go,” they said.

The company is rightly proud of its work in Liberia, which built on its nearly 20 years of providing various support services in that region of Africa.

PAE produced a video about the work, which I’ve embedded below.

Click here for a complete list of the finalists and winners from the annual gala.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Nov 06, 2015 at 9:36 AM


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