In October, ACG National Capital will be celebrating 25 years of middle market growth at the 25th Anniversary Celebration and Networking Event. We’ll be posting insightful interviews with past ACG presidents leading up to the big event.
This week’s conversation is with former chapter president Jon Korin, who served from 1997 until 1998. Mr. Korin was the executive director of strategic development for Northrop Grumman Information Technology. Prior to that, he served in a similar role for Litton PRC, a provider of information technology and systems-based solutions for the U.S. government and commercial customers that was acquired by Grumman in 2001.
Here is what Mr. Korin had to say about his time with the ACG, as well as how corporate growth activity has changed since he was president:
CGCS: Can you describe a significant occurrence that happened in the deal community during your tenure as ACG National Capital president.
Mr. Korin: Without the burden of actual statistical analysis, I began to notice that good fortune seems to come to the companies whose CEO/founders presented at our monthly breakfast meetings. I started most meetings with “Good things happen to ACG presenting companies.”
Stocks rose, IPO’s completed and deals were made. The meetings “back in the day” were held in the Ritz-Carlton room then-called, “The Grill Room,” now the “Old Dominion Room.” The room had a dignified ambience which provided a great environment for up to 110 at breakfast. The board struggled with growth vs. quality/intimacy and later growth won out and we moved to the larger ballrooms upstairs.
CGCS: Can you describe something significant that happened during your time as chapter president.
Mr. Korin: I don’t think this happened while I was president, but it did while I was on the board; I chaired the very first ACG National Capital M&A Conference. With 50 attendees in a small room at the Ritz-Carlton, it was far smaller scale and lower tech than the current conference, but it did pave the way for what has become a significant regional event.
The quality of the presenters, audience, content, networking and venue were extremely high and that has not changed. Thankfully, the technology has. I still remember loading presenter Mike Cromwell’s 35mm slides backwards in the carousel and quickly reversing all of them after the first slide went up.
We set a chapter financial goal of a $10,000 minimum bank balance at the end of the year and we achieved that! Please don’t remind anyone that we started the year with $13,000 (Editor’s note: Oops!).
CGCS: What changes have you seen in the DC business community in the last 25 years? How has the business climate changed? Any new industries to take note of?
Mr. Korin: The regional business community has tended to maintain an adequately diversified industry base to weather the business cycles fairly well. Within the technology sector, the government contractors have been a solid base that has strengthened with the move of several Tier Ones (GDS, Northrop Grumman, CSC, SAIC) into the area. The Tier Twos have thrived as they acquire smaller firms, grow organically and then often sell to the Tier Ones.
The list of public government contractors has grown and shrunk through the cycles. Our strong technical labor base made the area attractive for the dotcoms and many communications companies, which provided a commercial balance to the government-focused firms. Through it all, the deal community has been vibrant and ACG has always been the go-to forum for growth and deal-making.
CGCS: Can you describe some of the major trends shaping and influencing the business environment in DC today. How has that shaped corporate growth activity?
Mr. Korin: Despite the strong dependence on government, the emergence of an even stronger educational system has made this region attractive to high-tech firms and others that support them. Even with the current federal budget issues, companies and employees find ways to adapt and grow profits even as revenues decline.
The quality of life here is a critical component to a strong workforce and we must be sure to maintain and even strengthen that. That means transportation infrastructure, education, culture, recreation, cost of living, etc. are all vital to sustaining corporate growth in the national capital region.
To hear more from Jon Korin and the rest of the ACG National Capital past presidents, register for the 25th Anniversary Celebration and Networking Event on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at the Waterview Center in Arlington, VA. Additional details and registration are available HERE.