- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2001

J.P. "Jack" London looked into his crystal ball 12 years ago and saw a technology revolution on the horizon. That's when he decided to change his company so it could cash in on the boom.

That risky decision paid off. Today, Arlington-based CACI International Inc. has broadened its core business government contracting with a host of tech services that is expected to push its annual revenue above $500 million this year.

CACI is growing at a time when other tech businesses are laying off workers. The firm is trying to fill between 100 and 150 unfilled jobs, and is also looking for more office space.

The company, now based in a Ballston office tower, is considering moving its headquarters to a bigger space in the D.C. area, Mr. London says.

"We're looking at other opportunities. We're keeping our options open," he says.

In 1991, the company generated $136 million in annual revenue. When its 2001 fiscal year ends June 30, revenue is expected to reach $562 million, according to research by Baltimore securities firm Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc.

Legg Mason predicts CACI's revenue will rise to $656 million next year, a 17-percent increase from this year's numbers.

"They have not grown as fast as other technology companies have, but they are consistent. And right now, in this uncertain environment, that consistency is paying off," says Legg Mason analyst William Loomis.

Mr. London's goal is to make CACI a billion-dollar business by 2009. Mr. Loomis says he believes it will happen.

Ahead of the curve

Mr. London joined CACI in 1972, and quickly rose through the ranks of the small firm. He was named president and chief executive officer in 1984 and chairman in 1990.

The firm began in 1962 as the California Analysis Center Inc. doing work mainly for aerospace firms. Over the years, it landed bigger clients, including the U.S. Department of Justice.

A pivotal moment came in 1989, when the Berlin Wall crumbled and the Iron Curtain began falling down. Mr. London smelled a new spirit of entrepreneurship was brewing.

In 1990 he created CACI's "New Era" strategic plan, which called on the company to begin diversifying its base through computer networking, telecommunications and electronic commerce services for private businesses.

"It rapidly occurred to me that we better go where business is going," Mr. London says.

One member of CACI's board of directors praises Mr. London for predicting the business boom.

"As the industry changes, as technology changes, Jack has been able to move the company to where the next big wave is," says Richard P. Sullivan, president and chief executive of Cargill Detroit Corp., a machine tools manufacturer.

Mr. London says he tries to stay ahead of the curve in all areas of his business. He reads trade magazines, attends business events and trade shows and stays in touch with other executives.

His latest prediction is that "e-government" will hit big in the next few years. CACI has added a range of technology services for local and state governments, including software that helps police departments track the number of false security alarms at homes and businesses.

Forrester Research predicts the e-government industry will grow from a $3.6 billion-a-year business this year to a $243.4 billion business in 2005.

"What I'm basically trying to do is to get a good sense as to where business is going… . E-government isn't big now, but I believe it will be," Mr. London says.

Military man

The CACI world of "network performance enhancement," "intelligent document management" and "process re-engineering" is a long way from Oklahoma, where Mr. London grew up.

In fact, business is his second career. Before joining the private sector in 1971, he spent 12 years of active duty with the U.S. Navy.

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1959, Mr. London became a naval aviator and carrier pilot. He later served as assistant to the vice chief of the Naval Material Command.

After leaving active duty, he joined the U.S. Navy Reserve. He retired as a captain in 1983.

Mr. London served during the Cuban missile crisis, but the the highlight of his career came Feb. 20, 1962, when he helped rescue Col. John H. Glenn Jr. after the astronaut's Freedom 7 capsule crashed into the Caribbean.

Mr. Glenn became Mr. London's hero. Over the years, Mr. London followed Mr. Glenn's career as a Democratic senator from Ohio from 1974 to 1999 and a presidential contender in 1984.

The two men even got together for lunch in 1998, and Mr. London got a chance to talk with the man he admired.

"I think he had such a wonderful career. He represented his country so well. He did a good job," Mr. London says.

New HQ possible

CACI is also scouting for new office space, but Mr. London says he has not decided if it will actually move.

The firm is based at 1100 N. Glebe Road, where it set up shop in November 1991. The lease expires in 2003, and the company is considering its options, Mr. London says.

CACI has about 5,000 workers worldwide. It employs about 300 people in its Ballston building, and it has about 600 workers in a Chantilly office.

"You have to consider all the costs associated with a big move," he says. Not only would CACI have to pay to haul its desks and computers into a new building, it would also have to have new letterhead and promotional brochures printed.

"It can be a little bit tricky," he says.

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