Party Time for Tech Community

Bobbie Kilberg hosted the Northern Virginia Technology Council's Hot Ticket Awards party.
Bobbie Kilberg hosted the Northern Virginia Technology Council's Hot Ticket Awards party. (The Washington Post)

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By Ellen McCarthy
Thursday, July 21, 2005

Rain fell in sheets outside Bobbie Kilberg's McLean home last Thursday as the very important people of the local tech community filled her expansive halls. No letup was in sight, but at the stroke of 6:30, when the house couldn't hold another body, the sun broke through and the margarita machine was fired up.

Kilberg, president of the Northern Virginia Technology Council , was not about to let Mother Nature interfere with her big bash.

The NVTC's Hot Ticket Awards party at the Kilberg residence has become one of the most spirited events of the year. September through May, tech professionals who are regulars on the circuit sometimes run out of small talk because they see so much of each other. But during the summer hiatus, this party is a welcome reunion.

Sure, there is talk of fundings and mergers and customer wins, but most of the conversation is focused on vacation plans and Kilberg's pool. The fashion gauntlet was thrown down last year by Robert Dinkel , a senior vice president of Computer Associates , whose flashy Hawaiian shirt was captured on the pages of this newspaper.

He'll be the first to tell you he started a trend.

"This is Bob-inspired," said Gary G. Pan , president of Arlington-based Panacea Consulting Inc. , after he was marched over by Dinkel to display the floral shirt and safari hat he described as "cruise chic."

A final ripple of thunder sounded just as Kilberg took the microphone for the announcement of the Hot Ticket award winners. Yes, the party does have a raison d'etre , though the rowdy few clinging to the bar at the back of the patio might not have noticed.

The Hot Ticket titles go to companies whose profiles have risen over the past year as they completed interesting deals or raised impressive amounts of funding. One simply goes to the company with the "hottest buzz." Columbia-based SourceFire Inc. , which sells network-security technology and became a darling of the industry's trade publications this year, took that prize.

There were so many guests, Kilberg had to arrange to have people park in a remote lot and be shuttled through the neighborhood to her home. Shuttle driver Pete Sugg described the crowd as jovial, but "shy about tipping."

Hmmm . . .

Landing a Legend

Mobile 365 Inc. , the Chantilly start-up that carries text messages between wireless companies, just scored a big win.

The company plans to announce today that technology legend Michael A. Daniels will become chairman of its board of directors.

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© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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