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September 22, 2008


Big Shout-out to great sponsor InterAct 2008! Don't miss Ted Leonsis at DC's Interactive Event of the Year on Sep 29-30, 2008 in the Ronald Reagan Building. See ad to the right for more details.


We admit that the teen drama Gossip Girl is not exactly programmed on our DVR, but we might make a special exception tonight considering the son of Vienna-based Liquid Machines public sector VP Keith Johnson is making a special appearance as the love interest of show star Blake Lively (who we hear is quite attractive—are we allowed to say that?). Keith, who sells Liquid Machines enterprise rights management software to the likes of the DoD, Interior, and DHS, admits his model/actor son takes after his mother.


That’s Keith with CEO Mike Ruffolo who we met last week for lunch in Arlington. We’d be remiss if we did not mention Liquid Machines is hotter than, well, Blake Lively. This fast-growing enterprise software company protects information for Federal agencies and corporations to keep the wrong people from reading it. “There are information leaks everywhere, whether it’s a former employee being malicious or your fat finger typing the wrong email address on your Blackberry,” says Mike, who notes former SRA CEO Renny DiPentima recently joined the company’s board. “We solve a huge and growing problem for government agencies and integrators who need to securely collaborate with confidential information.”


Keith and Mike met at Akamai Technologies, focusing its content delivery network on the enterprise and government markets. An Ohio-native, Mike’s was CIO at the NCR Corporation; president of the Document Solutions Group at Xerox; EVP of Sales, Services and Marketing at EMC Corporation; and COO of Akamai prior to joining Liquid Machines. When he’s not growing high-tech companies or spending time with his family, Mike would rather be watching the Boston Red Sox or New England Patriots.   Keith grew up in Maryland and held senior sales management positions at Oracle and SAP, before going to Akamai where he launched and grew the company’s federal sales business. He’s a die-hard Redskin fan and an avid golfer and tennis player. We think in the picture above they’re betting on some game.


It took Oberon just five years to go from the ground floor to selling to Stanley for $170 million, so it’s no wonder 100 people joined co-founders David Young and Jodi Johnson (that’s them in the middle flanked by KippsDesanto’s Kevin DeSanto and Pleasant Valley Business Solutions’ Mike Skurpski) at the Tower Club to hear how they did it. “I wish there was some secret, but Jodi and I each have more than 25 years experience in this market that paved the way for Oberon’s incredible growth,” David says.


Diamond Marketing’s Fred Diamond, Microsoft’s Christine Zmuda, CompuSearch’s Peter DiGiammarino (we aficionados prefer to call him “Peter D” so as not to have to Google the spelling), and ESCGov’s Raj Mattu. ESCGov, a McLean-based IT services provider, just won a contract from DISA to provide software-as-a-managed-service for agency-wide patch management. We hear Raj, though, was busy this weekend with the Redskins’ game. Doesn’t anyone work weekends around here besides us?


Dovel’s Elma Levy, The Boden Group CEO Richard Boden and Progeny Systems CFO Alexander Kot. Elma tells us her firm provides IT support for the National Biomedical Computer System that tracks all of the organization’s donated blood, so they can find that pint of O Negative in a jiffy. This is a rare moment this week when Elma is standing still: She’s been practicing for a coming hike in the Grand Canyon.


We were re-reading our Twin Tech II coverage from Friday, and realize we didn’t sufficiently convey the pivotal role of our friends at NVTC. Yes, the event was co-hosted in DC with iStrategyLabs, but NVTC spent the last two months laying preparations. Indeed, the series started with a conference call the day after the Hot Tickets awards in June that came up with the idea of doing parties that would bridge the geographical, industry, and demographic gaps. Above, NVTC Entrepreneur Center director Kristin D'Amore with Andrea Michels of Stella Virginia Consulting Services got their passports stamped and came across Legion Bridge.


You knew the party was official with the presence of FedResults’ Bob Dinkel and The Atlas Agency’s Dolores Ebert, who we believe have attended every party of every kind ever held in Virginia. Their attendance was evidence the reach of NVTC is now spanning both sides of the Potomac.  


R2Integrated’s Cheryl Dickison with Growth Catalyst’s Rich Wolford. Somehow these people found the one corner of The Avenue bar without a zillion people crammed in. Said NVTC Communications director Art Swift, “Twin Tech has become a microcosm of how thriving the tech scene is in the Potomac region. The tech economy is remaining strong despite downturns elsewhere.” If we had one of those cool looking blue Buds, we’d drink to that.

 David Stegon thinks Dexter is the best show on television. Send him story ideas at

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