D.C. Solution Providers Provide Aid To Feds, Grapple With Shock

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On the day after, an eerie calm pervades this city and its surrounding areas.

In the aftermath of Tuesday's horrifying terrorist attacks here and in New York, local solution providers, many of whom have staffers on site at the Pentagon, expressed shock, anger and grief.

As many as 800 people may have perished at the Pentagon explosion site alone, according to reports. Officials Wednesday said a "stubborn fire" still burns at the Pentagon, located a few miles outside of the District of Columbia.

On a typical work day, it's likely that at least a few GTSI employees would be at the Pentagon, said Dendy Young, chairman and CEO of the Chantilly, Va.-based solution provider. And while some GTSI staffers were planning to make the 30-mile drive to the building that is the hub of U.S. military activity Tuesday, Young said he believes none were there when the hijacked jetliner struck the building.

Yet most everyone in greater Washington knows someone who works at the Pentagon, and GTSI is no exception.

"We have extensive relationships throughout the Pentagon, and we are getting horror stories about people who are injured," Young said Wednesday. But "most of our contacts were on the . . . side of the building" not hit by the jet, he added.

At SAIC, Fairfax, Va., early tallies indicate that most employees, many of whom are also on site at the Pentagon on a regular basis, are accounted for, according to a spokeswoman.

However, an SAIC staffer en route to Europe has not yet checked in with the company crisis center, and another SAIC employee not known to be traveling had also not yet been heard from, she said.

Notably, two SAIC employees injured yesterday at the Pentagon reported to work today, she said.

GTSI said that in partnership with its vendors, it intends to donate products to federal clients to help them "get back on their feet," said a spokeswoman.

Following the attacks, GTSI issued a statement announcing around-the-clock access to its support teams.

"We have a complete line of deployable inventory available, with on-site network and engineering services," read the statement in part. "In addition, we have put our supply of manufacturers and distributors on alert to honor emergency government requirements. . . . Priority fulfillment and delivery will be given to all emergency service orders from [the Department of Defense], [the Department of] Justice, FEMA, National Guard, Intelligence agencies and other government emergency service providers."

At least one federal agency had taken up GTSI on its offer of equipment and services, though Young declined to identify which one.

A spokesman for Cysive, a Reston, Va.-Web integrator, said the company had no government clients and as yet had not been able to ascertain whether its commercial clients were directly impacted by yesterday's events.

He said a morale-boosting event scheduled later this week for employees in Cysive's eight offices had been cancelled.

"We are encouraging employees to use that time to donate blood or [contribute to] other relief efforts," the spokesman said.

SAIC is setting up its own blood drive, the spokeswoman said.

The mood among these local solution providers, much like everywhere else in the nation Wednesday, was grim.

"Our customer base is, for the most part, still in shock," GTSI's Young said.


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