ilicon Valley and Washington have long been attracted to each other, and venture capitalist Floyd Kvamme has played a key role in their courtship. In 1997, he helped create the Silicon Valley-based TechNet, a bipartisan network of CEOs in information technology, law, biotechnology, venture capital, and investment banking. TechNet's goal was to build a strong relationship between Washington and the technology industry. Three years later, with much of the government's focus on homeland security, it's difficult to imagine a more mutually beneficial partnership in the policy world.
"Technology will be a principal tool in virtually every undertaking of the Homeland Security Department's mission," says the 66-year-old. The San Francisco native was a major Bush fund-raiser during the 2000 presidential campaign. In March 2001, Bush appointed Kvamme co-chair of his council of science and technology advisers. The council's September 2002 report outlined a strategy for organizing the Homeland Security Department's research and development directorate, including a recommendation-eventually adopted-to appoint an undersecretary for science and technology. Frank Cilluffo, associate vice president for homeland security at George Washington University, says Kvamme's background as an entrepreneur helped the administration craft a new department from 22 disparate agencies. "We leaned on him heavily," says Cilluffo. And Kvamme's ties to industry proved invaluable as well. "Floyd really did play a role in marshaling and mobilizing some of the best and the brightest to the cause," Cilluffo says.
Kvamme, a partner at a high-tech venture capital firm, has degrees in electrical engineering from the University of California (Berkeley) and Syracuse University. Having helped build National Semiconductor into a billion-dollar company, he is happy to have a hand in bringing the worlds of government and technology closer together.