A few weeks ago I posted the transcript from an online chat I did with Washington Technology. When we finished the chat, there were several questions left unanswered that we didn’t have time to get to. I have taken some time to answer these remaining questions. I hope you find them of interest.

Suem, New Jersey
Q: Is it hard to be a sub with SAIC? What’s the best way to sub with SAIC?

A: I’m assuming that you’re a small business, in which case you should be talking with George Otchere, who handles small business relationships at SAIC.

Germantown, Maryland

Q: After looking at how SAIC has changed from when you were in charge, would you change any of your decisions that were made when you decided to step down?

A: I’ve had second thoughts about what happened when I left SAIC, and probably would change some of the decisions I made while there. Some had to do with the board of directors and others with succession planning. There are probably a few others, which don’t come to me right now.

Vienna, Virginia

Q: What are your plans now, given the completion of your book? Additionally, [in your book] you gave three areas of technology to look out for. Do you have any interest at this point in coming back to work in any of those areas?

A:I have no interest at the present time in returning to SAIC. I do have interests in various areas of technology, which I would take the time to invest in if there is a good business case. Other than that, I’m enjoying my boat and time with my family.

Ralph DeKemper

Q: What strategic role did the Human Resources (HR) function play in the outstanding success of SAIC?

A: The HR department played a strong role in the success of SAIC. At SAIC there were two kinds of HR departments: the corporate HR department headed by Bernie Thule, and the group HR departments which focused specifically on filling group, division, and operation roles rather than corporate roles. Recruiting and retaining the highest quality employees was critical to our success, but don’t forget the importance of employee ownership in helping us attain both of these goals.

Vienna, Virginia

Q: Do you have any concerns that employees will be less motivated and have less incentive now that SAIC is a public company?

A: I really don’t know the answer to your question, time will tell. It does appear to me that employees are still working together and winning many contracts against strong competition. I believe that motivation is still strong enough for employees to team and bring in contracts.


Q: In your book you discuss the future of employee ownership. Please summarize where you think this is going for us entrepreneurs who hope to build lasting companies.

A: I’m very optimistic about the future of employee ownership. Those companies owned by ESOPs are certainly doing very well. Those that are owned more directly by employees — such as SAIC — I think will have a harder time conforming to the new regulations introduced by Sarbanes-Oxley. SAIC seems to be coping with change as well as might be expected at this stage.

Cory – Houston, Texas

Q: I have followed SAIC very closely over the last couple of years, but I see some areas of business that SAIC should consider, such as remote medical solutions. This is a step beyond telemedicine. How does SAIC talk with small businesses and what opportunities is SAIC looking at in the future?

A: I retired from SAIC in 2004, but I do manage to keep informed on what’s going on. When I left, SAIC was involved in telemedicine. I’m not sure that they’ve taken the next step to remote medical solutions. You might want to have a look at the SAIC web site — specifically, the section on healthcare solutions, to see if this area is currently being addressed by the company. Thank you for your interest.

2 Responses to “Responses to Unanswered Questions from Washington Technology Forum”

  1. 1 Bill Adkins

    Sir, How can I get a book to you for your signing. I work out of the Tampa, Florida office and next month it will be 10 years that I have been an employee owner…..

    Thank You

    Bill Adkins

  2. 2 Dr. Beyster

    Hello, Bill. Send your copy of the book to Ralph Callaway, Foundation for Enterprise Development, 1241 Cave Street , La Jolla CA 92037 and I’ll be happy to sign and return it to you. Also, tell your friends if you like the book.

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