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Homeland Security Seminar targets small-firm senior execs

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – (July 14, 2005) – Since 9-11, the threat of terrorism reaching the United States has focused a legion of small- and mid-size companies on supplying products, process and systems for homeland defense. But how well do these firms - many of them newborns - know what it takes to succeed in the defense industry?

With that in mind, Tidewater Community College - as part of a consortium with industry and the economic development department for the city of Virginia Beach - has created the Defense and Homeland Security Industry seminar.

“I don’t believe there has ever been such a powerful executive-level overview of every aspect of this industry, with presenters that have had remarkably successful backgrounds in the business,” says Carl M. Albero, president, Naval Engineering and Technical Solutions Group, Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), and founder and chairman of the board, AMSEC LLC.

Providing an insider’s look into the homeland security business in Hampton Roads,
the Defense and Homeland Security Industry seminar offers high-level executives from small companies the chance to learn from senior executives with proven track records. “If a seminar like this had been available when I was initially starting PROSOFT, I would have been the first in line to be part of it,” says Paul Wong, president of PROSOFT. “I believe it’s a unique opportunity to draw on the experiences of many very successful companies.”

The seminar, launched in May and running through the summer, addresses topics such as strategic planning, developing a marketing plan, proposal development, how to subcontract with prime subcontractors, program management, contract administration, profitability and corporate administration, and pulling it all together. In its initial offering, the seminar drew 20 registrants from 16 companies and the U.S. Navy.

“Smaller companies just getting started in homeland security may not have the big picture of how it all ties together,” says retired Navy Cmdr. Jack Greenhalgh, special assistant to the group president of SAIC, and one of the visionaries behind the seminar. “By offering this broad-brush view of the business from the perspective of those who have already been hugely successful, we hope to give participants the street-smarts to make it.”

SAIC developed the basic content of the seminar and recruited homeland-security senior executives to lead each two-hour session. “We found ‘super presenters’ for each topic, and asked them to share their wealth of knowledge to help accelerate the growth of the small businesses in the industry,” Greenhalgh explains.

Newcomer to the industry and seminar participant Amy Briller, director of business development, Craig Technical Consulting, notes, “It’s intimidating to even think about calling on this level of executive, but in this setting they’re there sharing trade secrets and giving us the benefit of their vast experiences.”

Notably, a high percentage of contractors in the new homeland security industry hail from military backgrounds. “Having made the transition from government service to private contractor, I discovered very quickly that there is a broad cross section of knowledge related to this industry that we do not assimilate over a long career in government service,” says Henry “Hank” Giffin, retired vice admiral, U.S. Navy. “The transition can be smooth or bumpy, depending on how much exposure a person has had to the many different functional areas of any company’s activities.”

With the explosion of the homeland security industry in the area, some believe Hampton Roads is destined to become “Pentagon South.” That trend prompted the city of Virginia Beach to develop the Defense and Homeland Security Consortium that includes representatives from the industry, the city and area colleges. The consortium inspired the seminar and long-range plans for other business education for homeland-security firms.

This initial seminar, offered at the Advanced Technology Center, is the first step in the consortium’s plan to dramatically improve educational opportunities for those in the field, notes Lyle Bagley, TCC’s associate vice president for Workforce Solutions and consortium member. “TCC, as a mainstay in support of all types of learning in the community, was a natural to become the conduit for the seminar.

“It’s absolutely great to be involved with an effort like this. We’re proud to be helping to meet real-world needs in a growing industry charged with protecting our nation.”



Laurie White
Media Relations

Tidewater Community College is the second largest of the 23 community colleges in the Commonwealth of Virginia, enrolling more than 36,000 students annually. The 37th largest in the nation’s 1,600 community-college network, TCC ranks among the 50 fastest-growing large community colleges. Founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System, the college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in the theater district in downtown Norfolk, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth and a regional Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-four percent of the region’s residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information, visit