Montpelier: James Madison University Magazine

Technology Titans
Internet tycoon and info technology expert earn alumni awards
Montpelier Spring 2000

JMU Alumni Association award winners, Greg Dawson ('84) and Clint Heiden ('90), flex their muscles daily in the technological worlds of software development and Internet sales.

Two titans of the technological world were recognized by JMU's Alumni Association for their career achievements and contributions to the community in 1999. Clint F. Heiden ('90) of Sterling, Va., received the Ronald E. Carrier Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for his remarkable career with Internet provider UUNET. And, Gregory S. Dawson ('84) of Herndon, Va., received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award for his outstanding support of JMU's Computer Information Systems/Operations Management Program.

Clint Heiden was recently appointed president of Online Office Supplies Co. in Reston and just prior served as vice president of U.S. sales for UUNET Technologies, the first company to offer commercial Internet services. Established in 1987, UUNET is recognized as the world's largest Internet service provider for business. Heiden joined the UUNET in 1994 and served as vice president for U.S. sales from 1996 to 2000.

John W. Sidgmore, chief operating officer of UUNET, says, "When Clint joined UUNET, we had two salespeople in the company who sold an average of 10 high-speed Internet connections per month. Today, the sales organization consists of over 200 people who sell over 1,000 connections per month. During Clint's four years at UUNET, our company grew from $6 million in revenue per year to an annualized run rate of $2 billion in revenue in 1998. UUNET went public in May 1995 in the third most successful initial public offering in NASDAQ history. Clint was a major contributor to our success."

Heiden began his career and later became vice president of sales at InterCon Systems, a developer of TCP/IP software for the Macintosh. As the first sales representative for InterCon, he created the sales department and was successful in implementing a worldwide distribution strategy.

Distinguished Alumni Service Award winner Gregory Dawson is a managing associate in the Washington Consulting Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Fair Lakes, Va. He has worked for the firm since 1992, and has more than 15 years experience in information technology with particular work in software development. He has also served the GTE Spacenet Corp. and the American Management Systems Inc.

Among Dawson's many clients are such high-profile agencies as the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Central Pension Fund, the United States Marine Corp and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Projects he has supervised for these clients have included everything from determining and analyzing an appropriate accounting software to assessing the feasibility of replacing microfilm and microfiche based systems with imaging and workflow systems.

Robert Brookshire, Ph.D., who directs JMU's CIS/OM program, says, "Dawson is one of the driving forces behind the creation of our information systems consulting course. The course is team-taught by professional consultants, who act as mentors to student teams, and JMU faculty. Dawson hosted the initial organizational meetings, recruited consultants to teach the course, and acted as a team mentor. He has made dozens of visits to campus to guest lecture, share his expertise in information technology and consulting, and to recruit students for his companies."

In October, Dawson joined CIS professor Glenn Smith to present the innovative class to the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business annual meeting. In September, the course was recognized by the International Association for Management Education's 1999 Continuous Improvement Symposium. Dawson was also instrumental in arranging for his employer, Price- waterhouseCoopers, to pledge $225,000 toward the creation of a Pricewaterhouse-Coopers Teaching Professorship at JMU. The professorship will provide additional financial support for a senior CIS faculty member and contributes to the development of the consulting class.

"JMU is fortunate to have many active alumni, who serve the university," says Brookshire. But Dawson's untiring efforts have improved the educational experience of our students, rewarded faculty members and brought fabulous career opportunities to our graduates. No one has had a greater impact on our program."

JMU's distinguished alumni awards are selected annually from alumni nominated to the alumni board's recognition committee. In choosing the achievement award recipient, the committee looks for excellence and accomplishment in professional work and recognition by colleagues. In choosing the service award recipient the committee looks for an alumnus who has given freely of personal time for the enrichment of others and the betterment of the community.

by Michelle Hite ('88)

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