Techpreneur Partners With Navy Veteran To Go After Federal Contracts

Scott Dance - Baltimore Business Journal

Jim Gerretson and Tom Loveland

Photo by: Nicholas Griner

Laurel, Md - September 11, 2008 - Technology entrepreneur Tom Loveland and a business partner are launching a new company they say will address two needs of the federal government - securing sensitive information and helping to fulfill a goal of hiring military veterans.

Jim Gerretson, a veteran of both the U.S. Navy and the information security industry, is forming Gerretson LLC, which is 49 percent owned by Loveland's software consulting firm Mind Over Machines. Together, they will seek to score a piece of at least $3 billion in federal contracts set aside for veterans, possibly creating new business for Mind Over Machines, as well.

Loveland gained local fame earlier this year for heading the charge in the Maryland General Assembly to repeal a 6 percent tax on computer service businesses, all while, running his own business, which would have been subject to the tax. Now with more time to focus on his company, he and Gerretson are rolling out Gerretson LLC this month and say they hope customers think it complements Mind Over Machines.

When designing applications and software systems for clients, information security and protection from lost data should be a top concern, but many software designers don't have the expertise or the resources to include it, Gerretson said.

His company will offer software development, networking and what is known as information assurance to clients in the federal intelligence community.

Gerretson got his start in information security in the Navy, where he was stationed in Florida, Japan and Washington, D.C., as a cryptologic technician - someone who protects sensitive information and network. But after eight years, back problems forced him to leave and he ultimately got a medical discharge, qualifying him as a service-disabled veteran.

Federal contracting dollars have been set aside for veteran-owned small businesses since 1999, said Chris Hale, president of the National Veteran-Owned Business Association based in Coraopolis, PA. The government has a goal of doing 3 percent of its business with veteran-owned small businesses, although it has only reached a threshold of 1 percent of its $3 billion in annual outsourcing.

Mind Over Machines, which does some software development and information technology consulting, already does about 50 percent of its business with government clients, Loveland said. He hopes Gerretson getting his foot in the door with clients will also bring business to Mind Over Machines.

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