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August 15, 2008



It makes sense we took a picture of PLP Digital Systems CEO John Cronin on the street outside his office yesterday, because his company makes business intelligence software that tracks changes to technical documents, such as blueprints of buildings. And being into pictures, as you may have noticed, we like to illustrate our narratives.


"Architects constantly change designs during construction, so our software lets construction companies easily see what has been altered from document to document," says John, whose company has sold its product to more than 1,100 companies in 30 countries, including those working on Freedom Tower in New York and a number of Vegas casinos.


John bought the 18-year-old company in 2002 and moved it to Arlington from Phoenix. Founded as Precision Laser Plotting, PLP pioneered large format digital reprographics (English translation: they printed large technical documents at high speed). An upstate New York-native, John had founded Digital Paper Corp. in '95, which grew to be a market leader in document distribution, but sold in 2001 and used the money to purchase the 20-person PLP. "The founders were looking to get out, and I liked the company and thought I could take it forward, plus I was looking for my next venture, so it was a perfect fit," John says. We're impressed John looks so cool in these pictures, because he bikes 16 miles each way to work, even during the winter (when, come to think of it, maybe he would be cool).


We met visiting IBM Academic Initiative director Kevin Faughnan above on the streets of DC, but his New York-based department is bringing IBM technology and expertise to more than 5,000 college and high school campuses worldwide (including 3,000 here in the states) to promote technology education. "As a country, we are not producing enough technology workers, so this program is to teach students about cool technology they can bring to the workforce," Kevin says. IBM allows students at member schools to access IBM software, hardware, training materials and receive discounts on other IBM products as well as learn about jobs in the tech field. Kevin started as an engineer at IBM after graduating from Iona. The Yonkers, N.Y. native and father of five just returned from Scotland where his wife, who evidently still loves him a lot, let him have a golfing vacation for their 30th anniversary.

Bridezillas Be Happy

Aaron Hall's one main job was to help plan the honeymoon for his own October wedding to Kristen Carter, a Cumberland-native he met through a friend, but he quickly saw his bride-to-be's frustration with the planning process and online sites that listed little more than vendor phone numbers. Being tech savvy (and a little bit nuts) the duo started Weddzilla (a combination of wedding and Bride-zilla), a wedding planning site with a twist: Vendors come to the brides. "A bride puts out an ad saying what she is looking for, when she wants it and how much she will spend and vendors bid on it, taking away a lot of the legwork of planning a wedding."


Aaron and Kristen started the business in January and will officially launch the site with a party on August 27, less than six weeks before their actual wedding. "Everyone talks about how frustrating the wedding planning process is, so we see this site as a way to make things easier and quicker for both brides and vendors," Aaron says from the company office at McLean's TeqCorner. Aaron is originally from Fresno, but came to D.C. to run the Virginia offices of FosterThomas — a human resource and employee benefits consulting firm that he still works as a day job. "I'm marrying a Maryland girl who loves her family, so I think I'll be staying here awhile," Aaron says.

David Stegon's boss is having him undertake a super secret project, so Tech Bisnow will return Monday, August 25th. David  still wants to hear your story ideas at David@Bisnow.com or 703-674-7718.

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