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August 5, 2008

Navy CIO;


It seems the trendy thing to do in the military these days is reconfigure your entire computer network. Our friends in the Army are creating LandWarNet, while the Navy is replacing NMCI (Navy/Marine Corps Intranet), the world's largest intranet, in September 2010 for the new and improved NGEN (Next Generation Enterprise Network). We met with Navy CIO Rob Carey at his Arlington office, where he told us the Navy's putting out bids this fall to build the network. But unlike NMCI, where EDS maintained the system, that duty will be kept internal. "We want a network we have more control of," he tells us.


Rob is smiling here, but he's in a little pain after bruising his ribs during a July 4th tubing accident (see what you learn here?). Since we know everyone is putting bids together for NGEN, we asked Robert what he looks for when spending his $7 billion IT budget. "It's pretty simple: I want people who can tell me what my problems are and specifically how they will fix them." Rob spent nine months in Iraq as a commander in the Navy reserves, returning last year when he officially took office (he was appointed in November 2006 while on active duty).


Rob grew up in West Chester, Pa., about 30 minutes from Philadelphia. A University of South Carolina grad, he got a masters in engineering management at GW. He came to the CIO office in 2000 and was promoted to deputy in 2002. "Serving in Iraq gave me perspective, because I got a great look at what our personnel overseas need right now, but can balance that with long term goals as well," he says. Most of Rob's downtime has been spent with his new daughter Sloane, born three months ago. We're impressed Rob looks so awake.

Techies Helping Techies


Yesterday, we met NPower prez Julie Chapman for lunch at Cosi downtown (we spare no expense for our readers, you notice). NPower is a non-profit that provides tech support for 35 other non-profits in the DC area and holds one of the hottest fundraisers each year with its Technology Innovation Award. "We start on time, there are no speeches, and we have fun," Julie says, adding that the Howard University Gospel Jazz Choir will provide entertainment at this year's on Oct. 17. NPower is a national organization founded in 1999 as a way for tech companies to give back to the community. The DC branch started in 1999 as well, but joined the national org in 2003, the same year Chapman came on board after previously working as COO of a tech start-up and an exec at Career Builder.

Slackers Beware!


The days of Homer Simpson sleeping on the job would be over if Mr. Burns hired Sterling-based NaturalInsight to oversee his nuclear power plant's daily workflow management via its unique Software-as-a-Service. We met CEO Stefan Midford, who says his two-year-old start-up helped a national staffing service working for Gillette stock 18,000 stores in just five days following the Super Bowl. The staffing company listed each task on a site and let employees pick the ones they wanted, seeing results in real time. "With two clicks the company could see which employees didn't do their job on time and hold them responsible," Stefan says.


That's Stefan with VP Kevin Ryan. NaturalInsight was nominated for Hottest Bootstrap at this summer's NVTC Hot Ticket Awards, but Stefan says the five-person company is discussing funding options. For internal communications, the company started making voice recognition software for employees to call in, but after six months of struggling, ditched the phones and went all online. Stefan worked in sales and marketing for Dean Witter, and was COO of Intersections, an identity theft solutions provider. Stefan's biggest love is hockey (of course...he's from Canada), but we are pleased to report he's changing his affiliation from the Maple Leafs to the Caps.


Last night at CoCo Sala in East End, we ran into Bob Ghafouri, CEO of CadenceQuest, here with his friend Julia Ehrgood, an education lobbyist. They were on hand at a Washington Life party celebrating the debut of the movie Red produced by men-about-town John Cecchi and Norman Dreyfuss, among others. Bob founded his firm in 2001, which now has 60 employees based in Arlington, and makes software applications to optimize business performance.  For example, it helps CVS pharmacies help identify top customers with their "extra care loyalty program," and Westfields real estate investment trust manage space and leases at shopping malls. The two are practicing red wine drinking and staying up late, since they're headed to Madrid and Seville shortly for vacation.

Without story ideas David Stegon has nothing to write (thus not earning a paycheck) and he refuses to go back to loading cars at Home Depot. Email him at David@Bisnow.com.

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