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September 24, 2008
Jones Lang LaSalle


Big shout-out to great sponsor University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering. Check out its Certificate in Innovation Management program that starts Oct. 9. Early registration discounts through Sept. 24th.  More info!


First order of business: We conclude our latest federal roundtable at McCormick & Schmick's in Reston with panelists:

* Unisys Federal Systems president Greg Baroni
* FranklinMorgan CEO Bob Morgan
* Fairfax County Economic Development CEO Gerry Gordon
* ATS CEO Ed Bersoff
* And our fine sponsor Vic Victorino of Sheppard Mullin.


As CEO of Fairfax County Economic Development, Gerry Gordon, left, is working to fill a 12% vacancy rate in the county. Two big successes recently: Volkswagen and CSC brought their headquarters here. At right, serial entrepreneur Ed Bersoff has seen many a company come and go.

Bisnow: What's going on right now on the M&A front?
Greg: Small businesses used to be an attractive target for the large company seeking to fuel their growth ambitions. With the new laws that came into effect earlier this year, small business contracts don't or can't automatically roll over to the larger companies that buy them, and hence, their valuations have dropped. That makes acquisitions less attractive as an end-game scenario.
Bisnow: What's the argument? Doesn't it seem logical that if a small business is bought by a large business, it's no longer a small business? Why should it get an advantage?
Vic: We are talking about keeping the existing contracts — that's the point.  What happens is a small business gets awarded several small business contracts.  Each one is five years.  In the second year they get bought by a large business; under the new rules they may lose that contracts. Without that revenue stream, the company may not be worth much or a burden on a forwarding looking basis to a large business.
Bob: That's the whole idea, bu it isn't aiding a small business if you get awarded those contracts and they're able to sell their companies.  That isn't small business anymore.

Bob Morgan's 10-year-old company boasts 240 employees, splitting work about 50/50 between commercial and government. He says he's looking to expand through acquisitions both in the D.C. area and the U.K.

Bisnow: Is that something that either the federal IT community should be concerned about?
Vic: Certainly if you're a small business. 
Ed: Being concerned is not enough.  What's the end result? You're going to inhibit entrepreneurism; people are going to be less incentivized to start companies. We created our business and our intent was to build it not as if we were going to sell but to be everlasting.

So it may be a good deal is what you're saying.


If you build it right with a built-to-last blueprint, then the valuation will be there.

Ed: Those that can make the transition.  We did the same at BTG, too.  We started a small business, but didn't pursue very many small business contracts.  So if your objective, like many of the minority or small business owners, is to start a business and then flip it in five years, you're not going to be able to do that.  So there's a chilling effect on people who have that as their objective.

Vic Victorino is a partner in the government contracts group at Sheppard Mullin in its 45-attorney DC office; it's now one of the largest firms in California.

Bisnow: And how does Fairfax County fit into this?
Gerry: We want any businesses, but federal contractors have definitely been our strength along with lawyers.
Bisnow: Is there any fear that you'll be losing workers as employers move closer to their work forces disbursed around the region?
Gerry: Not really. We have 620,000 jobs in Fairfax County on any given day, which is more than exists in Washington DC. We expect to hit around 800,000 jobs in the next 15 years, but we do have 12 million square feet of office space to fill in order to keep up with the county budget that is suffering with lower home evaluations.


Earlier this week we were treated to a special event by Jeff Pulver, center, illustrious founder of Vonage, who took the principles of Facebook and applied them to real live social networking at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington's Tech Affinity event at Patton Boggs on Westpark Dr. in McLean. With Jeff, Amanda Fein and London Ink's Bob London. Amanda tells us that with her appearance in our pages, she will tell her mom that there are now pictures of her to look at on the Internet. Huh? Doesn't she use Facebook? Or does mean "suitable" pictures?


Our friend Greg Schofer showed off his networking tool kit. Each of the 80 attendees got packets that included two "clouds" (those stickers on the left). On one they put their name and a personal statement meant to get attention, like Greg's whose says "I get paid to do this." The bubble is supposed to be a conversation starter. The other bubble is for other people to add their own one or two-word descriptions. Just like Facebook, except you have to have good printing.


**Speaking of Facebook, check out this hilarious video.

David Stegon saw comedienne Kathy Griffin in Richmond last night. He interviews everyone on the D-list and above, so send story ideas to (If you don't get that joke, Wikipedia Kathy Griffin.)

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