PEROT BIG WHEEL
READY TO ROLL AGAIN
July 4 was Independence Day for Greg Bedner—not just national, but personal. The former Perot Systems Government Services President, at the Homestead with his family for the fireworks, was also marking the end of a non-compete with Perot, plus full vesting in stock options, freeing him to sally forth to new ventures, which he’s just now beginning to consider.
He got the non-compete back in 2002, when the 600-employee federal IT company he ran, ADI, was acquired by Perot for $54 million. Nice thing was, Perot kept him on all this time, first until January 1, 2006 as founding president of the Government Services division of which ADI was the cornerstone, and then as a strategic corporate adviser after he was succeeded by his hand-picked ADI COO, Jim Ballard.
Yes, he’s a classy top exec now; this is Greg practicing a putt when we visited him the other day. But what a rags-to-riches story he’s had. He grew up in a “Spartan 40” trailer in Roselle Park, NJ, where his father worked making solderless cables at a Thomas & Betts factory. Without money for college, Greg enlisted in 1966 as an E-1 in the Navy for six years, then under the GI bill came back for college at George Mason (“digital geo-ballistic computer stuff,” he says), then a law degree there. In 2003, George Mason named him Alumnus of the Year.
At ADI, he‘d been talking with bankers about an IPO, but they advised it would need to double its $70 million in revenue to interest them. But in the process, Legg Mason approached him on behalf of Perot, which wanted to get into the government marketplace. He joined up and grew the division aggressively, making acquisitions like Soza and PrSM; Ballard added QSS this last year. Now the division is $600 million in revenue and 3400 employees, and boasts customers like DHS agencies CIS, Customs and Border Protection, and Coast Guard, and all the military services (acquisition support for the nuclear Navy, financial management for the Army, the IT practice at Air Force bases.)
This is Greg with his longtime lawyer Bill Walsh of Venable. You guessed it, they met on the links. In the early 90s’s, they attended a golfing event—-um, a highly intellectual conference on the Aegis program—sponsored by a competitor, Techmatics, which Bill represented. They’ve been fast friends ever since, and Bill still represents Perot among many other blue chip integrators.
What’s Greg looking for now? He’d like to help accelerate the growth of a startup financed by private equity. He points out that regulations now allow the feds to cancel set-asides if bigger companies acquire 8(a)s and their contracts no longer meet minority or small business criteria. Therefore, he thinks there will be a growing imperative for small companies to get bigger, and that’s where he has experience. In the meantime, he’s got three small grandkids to play with at a house the family built in the Outer Banks with several porches overlooking Currituck Sound, the next best thing to a golf course.
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