Sunday, February 10, 2008

Community of People

If you believe the success of any community is dependent upon smart, experienced people, than the DC technology scene just caught a break.

The press release announcing Gary Voight’s appointment as president/CEO of software vendor CorasWorks ( didn’t create many headlines. Yet, it was perhaps the most important news of the day for a region in need of proven leaders to shepherd its cadre of emerging growth companies.

Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) worked for Gary when he ran Software AG USA, the North American business line of one of Europe’s largest enterprise vendors. A sales executive by training, Gary has also proved himself an accomplished strategist, technologist and motivator.

He jumped to Boston several years ago to run storage vendor start-up Archivas, taking the company through several rounds of venture capital, a product launch and eventual acquisition by Hitachi Data Systems.

Gary had a myriad of CEO choices from private equity investors across the country. Yet, he chose to return to the Washington, DC area and take the helm of a Novak Biddle and Edison Venture-backed start-up. And I’m real thankful for it.

Strategic may get an opportunity to work for Gary again. That would be great. More important, his return to the area gives another local company a better opportunity for success. It also means his team will gain exceptional experience and mentoring. Perhaps there is one or two future CEOs on CorasWorks’ senior staff.

Most recognize the Washington, DC regional technology community as one of the best in the country. That’s primarily driven by the presence of the federal government and the contractors that support it. However, we are not Silicon Valley. Or Boston. Or even Austin. And cities like Seattle are catching up fast. (See article below.)

I’ve always believed executives have a responsibility to invest in the community and to provide opportunities to the people around them -- employees, vendors, shareholders, etc. I suspect Gary feels the same. It may be the reason why his office is now in Reston.

Seattle Taps Its Inner Silicon Valley
Many communities dream of becoming the next Silicon Valley.
But Seattle is actually doing it.

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