One is a technological strategist and corporate executive, and the other is a business development and project manager. The father-daughter duo domination continues in the federal IT industry with Dan and Tamar Mintz.
Dan Mintz runs his own consulting company, ESEM Consulting LLC, which supports business in the Federal IT space and was named after Dan’s wife, Ellen, whom he met almost 35 years ago at a leadership group. He is also President and Executive Director of the Advanced Mobility Academic Research Center, with Tom Suder as a partner.
Daughter Tamar serves as an Account Manager for Highlight Technologies, a woman-owned 8(a) business providing program support, software development, and security services. She is also involved with Young AFCEA Bethesda, where she was the recipient of the Distinguished Young AFCEAN award. She is the organization’s President-Elect, and will begin her term as President in spring of 2013.
Though the Mintzs seem like seasoned professionals in their field, if you asked them if their career paths and working together was foreseen, they’d say “No way!”
“I wish I could say getting into the industry was based on a new-found love of contracts and acquisition strategy, but it would be a lie,” Tamar said. “I grew to like the industry because of the individuals involved and began to grow passionate when finding out what each company was capable of doing.”
Tamar’s dad can attest to her initial disregard for the industry.
“Tamar was completely uninterested in my work growing up,” dad Dan confessed. “In college, I do not believe she took a single IT course.”
In fact, Tamar said that in college, she was more interested in history and political science, and never registered for an “Intro to Computer Sciences” course.
Yet how things change.
It was the federal marketplace that eventually consumed Tamar and her passions. Out of college, Tamar’s first full-time job was at Carahsoft Technology Corporation, a federal IT contractor, as a Renewal and Support Account Representative. From there, she moved on to market research firm INPUT as a member adviser supporting small and medium sized companies, staying there when INPUT was bought by Deltek.
Dad Dan’s affinity for the IT industry was more obvious. The man who served as the CIO for the US Department of Transportation after receiving an offer from former President George W. Bush began his IT career as a junior in high school writing a program to simulate a bridge player.
“Following fifteen years writing programs in almost every computer language ever invented, I moved on to Project and Program Management for a variety of companies around the Beltway,” Dan said. “After a slight detour running a computer store, I went to work for Sun Microsystems during Sun’s big growth years, selling workstations to both federal and commercial customers.”
During his time as CIO, Dan was a Federal 100 winner, was presented with the first Federal CIO Council Government 2.0 award, and was active in ACT-IAC and AFCEA. For the last three years, Dan has served as the chief operating officer (COO) of a small woman-owned services company, contributing to the company’s 8 (a) graduation.
“I finally decided it was time to work with companies needing help to grow across the industry,” Dan said. “And in theory, consulting would give me greater flexibility for non-work activities with my wife, Ellen. Thus far, I seem to be busier on my own than at someone else’s company.”
And though daughter Tamar didn’t envision herself in this field, her dad pointed out her perseverance from a young age. He recounted a story of his daughter as a little girl when she had difficulty with spelling. When Dad offered to help, Tamar had a response ready for him.
“Tamar made a counter-offer,” Dan said. “If she missed any more spelling words, then she would accept help, but if not she would be left alone to study the way she wanted. She did not misspell a word from that point on.”
Upon reflection, Tamar said she would have laughed if someone had told her years ago she’d one day be working in the same field as her dad. But today, she cannot imagine working without him.
“If you know both of us as individuals, we seem like opposites, but we are truly a lot alike,” Tamar explained. “While his mentorship is not always requested, his advice and expertise have helped me develop myself to be the person I am today.”
And aside from mom and dad, Tamar has her inseparable sister, Miriam, to lean on. Dan said that Miriam has really influenced Tamar over the years.
“Both girls have no memory of being without the other,” Dan recounted. “Tamar used to follow Miriam around all the time and idolized her. The fact that they get along so well is a real joy to both of us.”
Today, a daughter has gone from never seeing herself in federal contracting to being actively involved in the industry. A father has gone from having people label Tamar as “Dan’s daughter” to asking him if he is Tamar’s dad.
Though the times have changed, the love between this father and daughter remains constant. In the end, Tamar is daddy’s little girl, and he couldn’t be happier to share in the moment with her.
“I cannot tell you how proud I am of her, and how well she has done so quickly,” Dan said. “I wish I was as focused as Tamar when I was her age. In fact, her mother and I are both pleased that she now has staff reporting to her for the first time. It means she gets to boss someone else around other than us!”
WashingtonExec has profiled other families in government contracting, like the Curling clan, Dale Luddeke & Lindsey Littman, the Alderson family, and the Downer family. Check back with WashingtonExec for future featured families in the industry.