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October 29, 2008
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Sad news yesterday as Tech Council of Maryland CEO Julie Coons announced she’s leaving her post at the end of November. We ran out to TCM’s Rockville offices to share a cry congratulate Julie on her new gig as CEO of the Arlington-based Electronic Retailing Association (she starts a few days after Black Friday) and see who will replace her. Read on.


Actually, no one knows: The TCM board has just begun a search for her replacement. Julie came to the Council four years ago. She oversaw its merger with MdBio in 2006 and earlier this year rounded up techies from throughout the state to fight the dreaded computer services sales tax. “It’s bittersweet to leave, but this was a chance I could not pass up,” says Julie, noting the ERA (no, not the baseball stat) extends globally into 40 countries.


We snapped this of Julie with the TCM crew during lunch yesterday. It’s not all bad news from Julie, though: She just finished remodeling her house in Northwest D.C. and will be heading to Palm Springs to visit family for the holidays, where we’re assuming there will be lots of cool consumer electronics under the palm tree.


We were out at the Tysons’ Ritz (again) last night as the Georgetown DC Alumni Association hosted Nextel co-founder (and class of ’66 alum) Morgan O’Brien at a networking event. Morgan now runs Cyren Call, a McLean-based advisor to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust Corporation in creating a nationwide wireless broadband network that gives priority to public safety workers. “We’re doing the same thing here we did at Nextel, which I recommend to all entrepreneurs: take risks, look for market anomalies and realize that the rules now are not going to be the rules forever.”

Cool Holiday Shopping (Gasp!)

Halloween is Friday, but it’s never too early to be thinking about – yep – holiday shopping. We met up with Nancy Lamberton (in white), co-founder of Sterling-based Excitations, a site that lets consumers purchase experiences as gifts: everything from a romantic picnic at a winery to flying a jet. Companies, like Fairfax-based Winchester Homes (that’s Marketing Director Cynthia Herberg in black) are giving Excitations gift packages as a thank you to clients and as employee incentives.


Here’s a shot of the Winchester Homes folks recently enjoying a yacht cruise in the Chesapeake. Nancy grew up in Kansas and was working as a VP at SAP when she met fellow co-founders Ian Landy and Kim AuBuchon, who were thinking of starting the company. “I told them to count me in when they got serious,” says Nancy, who was previously president of Avaya’s Government Solutions. The three-year-old company has experiences in and around 17 major cities with plans to expand. As for Nancy, she gets to be the guinea pig for a lot of experiences. “I love trying new things, so this is perfect for me,” Nancy says.


The one and only Fight Night rolls around again next Thursday November 6; above is founder Joe Robert and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Peter Pace at last year’s. Despite a rocky economy, the Washington Hilton will again be flooded with more than 2000 fanatical business leaders having a good time for a great cause; they’ve already raised $2 million and sponsor income is up 10%. Last week, our friend Michela English, head of parent organization Fight for Children, announced $1.1 million in education and healthcare grants for low-income children in DC, all of which comes from Fight Night proceeds. www.fightforchildren.org.

David Stegon’s girlfriend uses the same plastic bowls David takes his lunch to work in to give the cat his dinner. Something about that seems wrong. Send story ideas to David@Bisnow.com.

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