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January 6, 2009
Jones Lang LaSalle
Inside TeqCorner


When we returned to work from the holiday, we remembered it's a little tough out there. But instead of getting bogged down in bad news we decided to find something fun. So we headed out to Tysons to get entrepreneurial inspiration at TeqCorner from some of the emerging technology center's 87 member companies (don't worry, we don't interview them all below).


TeqCorner czar Myra Fitzwater, right, with colleague Amy Smither. The facility is a former DoD building used by the Bush 43 transition team in 2001. Myra worked with John May of the Active Angel Investors Foundation to create not just office space but events and programs "for small businesses to really grow," she says. For you wannabe government contractors the building has space suited for top secret security clearances. If Myra is smiling extra big here it's because she just won her fantasy football league, thanks to her franchise QB Peyton Manning and "the beast" running back Brandon Jacobs.


Patrick Niehus heads AE Strategies, a six-year-old 35-person company that specializes in management consulting for human capital initiatives. Patrick tells us his people are working with DoD on a new personnel system that switches from traditional tenure-based pay to performance pay (so workers have to do stuff). The company also consults with the government on retaining knowledge as the workforce retires, and on succession planning. Hmm, is that why he has a picture of his 3-year-old on his desk?


Pivotal Point founder Dokmai Webster with EVP Hatice Murphy and Dokmai's daughter Becca (the company's CEO in training). One of TeqCorner's virtual clients, Pivotal Point is a six month old start-up focusing on government IT and telecom conversion and helping emerging technologies sell to the government or large defense contractors. Hatice loves to buy things, but she has four kids, so her days at the mall are limited.


Mitch Martin is principal at Merrill Advisory Group, a four-person M&A consulting firm that specializes in mid-market defense, government services, and homeland security companies with transactions from $1 million. "It's the American dream: starting a business with your best friends," says Mitch, who notes all the partners are service academy grads. (The Navy guys enjoy making fun of the Army guys during football season.) They also help prime contractors find companies to acquire. Mitch says he used to like sports, "before I grew a belly and got bad knees," but he can still be found scuba diving when not working.


We'll call Opus Plus founder Cynthia Gilmer the queen of start-ups because she's on her fifth (three as a founder). Her current company, launched in '01, helps start-ups and established companies in new product development, mostly software. "Washington is so service-oriented that many people don't know how to get a product off the ground," says Cynthia, who's done work for GTSI and ISS. She spends her free time playing golf. "If you're a golfer and an entrepreneur, you pretty much don't have time for anything else."


Small Act Network founder Casey Golden, one of Bisnow's Top 35 Entrepreneurs Under 35, has rung the opening bell at NASDAQ and is expanding to include new and social media consulting for non-profits. "Instead of going to people every few months for a handout, we're showing non-profits how they can grow the passion among their donors using social media." Organizations can use social media to give donors frequent updates on their mission or to solicit ideas. "This is a whole new way for groups to relate to donors to raise capital," Casey says.

Get '09 off to a bang by sending story ideas to David@Bisnow.com.

Nixon Peabody
Cardinal Bank
Pecha Kucha

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