NEW AT THE TOP

Larry Prior

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Position: President and chief operating officer of ManTech International, a provider of technologies and services for national security programs.

Career highlights: Chief operating officer, SAIC; president, Intelligence, Security and Technology Group, SAIC; chief executive and chief financial officer, LightPointe Communications; staff member, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, U.S. House of Representatives; intelligence officer, U.S. Marine Corps.

Age: 53.

Education: BS, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles; MA, securities studies, Walsh School, Georgetown University.

Personal: Lives in Old Town Alexandria with his wife, Mary Kay, and dog, Toby. Has two daughters.

How did you get where you are?

While in college, I wanted adventure. The Marines offered a great adventure. There's no better training ground for fundamental leadership skills.

My first assignment was as an intel officer in North America and the Middle East, and as a young lieutenant, I had to carefully learn from the senior, more experienced NCOs who reported to me. We depended on each other. That's not unlike the work I do today where I'm in a large enterprise, depending on a team of really bright and experienced people.

After serving as an intel officer for the Marines, I worked as an analyst for naval intelligence and helped prepare national intel estimates while temporarily assigned to the National Intelligence Council. I spent two years there, and they were some of the best years of my life. It really improved my professional skills and my ability to research and analyze. I also became a professional staff member for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and did budgeting for defense intel.

During that period, we saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, the invasion of Panama and the capture of Manuel Noriega (Operation Just Cause), and the Persian Gulf War -- Desert Shield and Desert Storm. If you're going to pick a time to be on the Hill, that was it. Both Democrats and Republicans worked well as a team, and it was really important to the country.

Another pivotal moment in my career was my tour in San Diego County. I managed a large number of personnel as the chief administrative officer and we had a multibillion-dollar budget. One of our key programs was called Critical Hours, where we focused on creating initiatives for kids during the critical hours of 2 to 6 p.m., the period of time when kids get in the most trouble. The program helped to get the kids active and involved.

When I met George Pederson, the co-founder, chief executive and chairman of ManTech, I knew I could learn from him. I knew he would be a great coach. If you're interested in national security, we have hundreds of opportunities. We focus on technological and mission, and one of our key competencies is cyber security.

The industry is becoming much more dynamic; the world is not getting any safer. There will be a generational change and consolidations in our industry. It's a turning point for national security.

-- Charity Brown

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