Junior Achievement | Washington Business Hall of Fame | History | Past Laureates | 2001 | Mario Morino
Junior Achievement of Greater Washington
Washington Business Hall of Fame > History > Past Laureates > 2001 > Mario Morino
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Mario Morino knows only one way to live - at double time.
As a poor kid in Cleveland, he
would have to work his
way through college.
But part-time jobs paid peanuts when he
graduated from high school in 1962.
decided to attend college full-time and also get a full-time job.
timing couldn't have been better.
recalls, had just decided to "hire a kid from the street and teach him the new computer technology.
became that kid.
Years later, he
was about to start his
Ph.D. when all graduate-student draft deferments were canceled because of the war in Vietnam.
was recruited by the Navy to be part of its new technology program.
Morino became an instant noncommissioned officer and joined a team of topflight young technologists.
It didn't take long for him to convince some of his
colleagues to start a software company in their spare time.
worked all day at naval headquarters, then spent 5 PM to midnight working at the company.
Soon after, Morino met Bill Witzel, a dynamo who, according to techie folklore, was the first software salesman in America.
In 1973 Morino and Witzel started Morino Associates to create software for big mainframe computers that were then the state of the art.
soon learned that his
small company had to grow to survive and that it wasn't enough to develop good software if the client didn't know how to use it.
Teaching customers to mange technology became a company hallmark.
went public in 1986, then merged with another software company to become the Legent Corporation
Between 1989 and 1992, Legent
acquired other tech firms and went from $125 million in sales to about $500 million.
"I had to keep working harder because I knew people out there were brighter," Morino
In 1992 he retired from Legent, which Computer Associates acquired in 1995.
He is now a special partner in General Atlantic Partners, a private equity-investment firm.
didn't want to rest on his
doesn't rest, period.
In the 1990s he
became the godfather of area Internet entrepreneurs, coaching young start-ups.
In 1994 he created the Morino Institute.
Its Reston headquarters, nicknamed "Planet Mario," serves as a kind of Internet incubator for tech start-ups.
It also provides resources and tools to get community groups plugged into the Internet.
The next year he launched the Potomac KnowledgeWay, a nonprofit organization created to boost the region's role as a high-tech center.
Morino chairs Venture Philanthropy Partners and serves on the boards of the Community Foundation, the Brookings institution, and other non-profits.
Equally important, he
has encouraged other Northern Virginia entrepreneurs to follow his
philanthropic lead and get involved in the Washington Community.
"We have a remarkable opportunity to effect change," he