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June 19, 2008

Pragmatics; SBNation;


Dan Chenok came to government IT services provider Pragmatics from SRA this year with 20 years of federal IT experience and-get this-a freakin' Grammy award. (That was Dan singing bass on the Washington Choral Arts Society's best classical album in 1996.) "Sorry, but I didn't get a trophy, the award was for the chorus as a whole." Dan tells us from his McLean office, but he does have separate pictures of himself with President Bush and President Clinton. Dan worked in the OMB under three administrations before becoming a VP at SRA. Since February, he's run Pragmatics' Civilian Agency Services Division.


Established in 1985, Pragmatics now has nearly 400 employees and saw 30 percent organic growth each of the past two years. Pragmatics recently won a number of government clients, including piece of a DISA network security contract, worth up to $12.2 billion, that's being awarded to 12 companies, and a separate $13.8 million contract (pocket change!) with the State Department Bureau of Information Resources Management. Dan hinted at more announcements coming.


Here with marketing manager Linda Alkire, Dan keeps busy outside the office as Chair of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, which advises congressional committees on IT security and privacy issues. When not winning Grammy awards, he likes spending time with his three daughters, who undoubtedly make excellent sopranos (and we don't mean the gangsters).


Yesterday at BLT Steak in DC, we met with a member of our advisory board (we're a very fancy company), Jim Bankoff, right, a former President of Web Properties at AOL, where he was responsible for Netscape, CompuServe, Moviefone, MapQuest and AOL Instant Messenger, and, most impressively, developed TMZ. Here he's with BLT GM Adam Williamowsky, center, and Bisnow COO Doug Anderson. Jim's now with Providence Equity Partners ($21 BILLION under management) and on the boards of budding Internet companies like SBNation.com, a network of sports blogs. He assures us we remind him of AOL and that we're going to become billionaires, though we might have misheard that.


This guy does. He's Danny Allen, head of Admixture.com, a D.C.-based online advertising network that helps companies reach minority markets. "Verizon comes to us trying to reach Hispanic customers, so we'll create an ad in Spanish and post it on heavily-trafficked Spanish-speaking sites." The U.S. Army is another big customer for Danny, who says you've got to keep a close eye on translations. "One airline's slogan was 'Fly on Leather,' but when it got translated into Spanish it came across as 'Fly Naked.'" Speaking of naked, Danny proposed to his girlfriend on a beach in San Diego that just happened to be nude. She said yes and the two are getting married in Austin on Saturday.

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