Fed Portal Lures IT Execs

SAN FRANCISCO (04/24/2000) - A federal information technology company plans to launch a World Wide Web portal next month that will provide information to government employees. Plans for planetgov.com may also include e-commerce applications.

Executives with Fairfax, Virginia-based ITC (formerly IntelliSys Technology Corp.) have begun to lure high-tech company officials and Washington, D.C.-area IT journalists to work on planetgov.com. The site will provide news and other content for local, state and federal workers. ITC officials declined to comment.

Two top executives from Federal Sources Inc. (FSI), a federal market consulting firm in McLean, Virginia, joined the portal this month. Thomas Sanders, who was named president of FSI late last year, and Piper Gioia, director of Internet-related sales at the firm, have left to join the portal.

A third FSI executive - Mary Ann Hirsch, director of consulting services - resigned from the company. Hirsch, who could not be reached for comment, did not join planetgov.com.

Sanders declined to give specifics about his responsibilities at the new company. Executives with New York-based publishing giant Primedia Inc., which bought FSI in 1998, have asked Thomas Hewitt, the former chief executive officer and founder of FSI, to work in an advisory role until FSI can fill the positions.

"We are going to find a CEO," said David Ferm, CEO of Primedia Business to Business. "It's going to be a matter of weeks, not months."

Planetgov.com also has hired Nancy Ferris, technology editor at Government Executive magazine, according to sources. Ferris could not be reached for comment.

Government portal Web sites that provide e-commerce solutions and news content are a promising growth area in the government IT market, said Patty Pickett, vice president of civil programs with Netigy Corp., a provider of electronic business solutions for the commercial and government sectors.

Pickett envisions agencies taking the lead in creating and operating simple yet industrial-strength sets of Web site services, which they would then provide to lower-level bureaus and offices.

Colleen O'Hara contributed to this article.

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