About

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Andrew T. Gillies is Director of Communications at the Center for Audit Quality, an affiliate of the American Institute of CPAs, in Washington, DC. Based in Washington since 2002, he has also worked in editorial and communications roles at the Investment Company Institute, the World Bank, Forbes, and Vault.com. His policy-themed writing has focused on aerospace and defense, energy and environment, transportation, and financial services.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Parrotheads Working For The Spooks

WASHINGTON, D.C. - If you like a touch of irreverence in a chief executive, you'll appreciate Essex Chief Executive Leonard Moodispaw. The company's stock symbol, KEYW, pays tribute to his fondness for Key West and the music of singer Jimmy Buffett. According to his official bio, Moodispaw also "enjoys chocolate" and "is growing older but not up."

Jimmy Buffett? Chocolate? Not exactly the sort of stuff you'd expect to hear about an executive in Essex's line of work. Essex uses optical processing and proprietary digital algorithms to analyze signals, images and other big chunks of data for federal defense and intelligence outfits. The Columbia, Md., company can't even reveal the identity of many of its customers, because the contracts are classified.

Speak with Essex brass about strategy, however, and Moodispaw's line about not growing up starts to make more sense. Indeed, company execs see that youthful spirit as one of its most important assets in a tough intelligence-tech services market.

Full story at Forbes.com