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Last Update: Saturday September 25, 2021

Key Idea: Build with People You Know

Jodi Johnson and her former boss,  Dave Young, worked together for decades before they launched their own company. They have complementary strengths which make for a strong leadership team.
In another video, visit with Dave to study this company's first principles.   And even more...

Key Question:


Partner with people you know.  One founder at the top who is bull-headed and driven can create a company from scratch if he has plenty of money or personal charisma.  With money and charm one can win people over and get them to work hard even if you hire them off the street.

However, a better formula for growing a business fast is to recruit people who have a proven track record which you have experienced personally.  They could be customers, colleagues, family members, high school friends, college chums or even your children.  The point is you know the person through and through.  You have seen them succeed, you know their strengths and weaknesses, you know they will deliver for you in good times and in bad times.

This is the case with Dave and Jodi.  Dave was Jodi's boss at their old company and even though they started Oberon as equal partners, Jodi obviously has no problem deferring to Dave and visa versa.  They are a well-oiled machine.  They have defined areas of responsibility, great respect for each other and a warm collegiality between them that sets a comfortable, cooperative tone for the entire firm.

Leadership is always difficult yet the load is lightened when at the top, with the founders,  you can share the heavy burdens.  More...

Think about it

If you are trying to start a business now, can you think of a person or two whom you would love to have on your dream team?  What would keep you from recruiting them?  If you are stuck and need to find new talent to move your business ahead, can you think of a person or two you should try to go after?  Who are the people you most admire in your life?  Do they work for you now?  If not, why not?

Clip from: Veterans Think Big

Let us celebrate and honor the contributions of our veterans. 

Washington, DC and the nation:  Defenders of freedom. Patriots.  Veterans.   These people come from every part of society and from every corner of the nation.  They get special training and they serve their country.  Some enter combat and some get injured. In one way or another, they all come home,  and are discharged or retire from the military.  Many join the workforce and begin re-creating their life with the special honors and experiences of being in the US military.

Meet four veterans who came home and started a business and each of them has become enormously successful.  They have all been creating jobs for many years now and are all highly respected within their industry.

In this episode of the show they each tell how they started companies to provide services to the military.   They explain that doing business with the federal government is different than selling goods and services to the private sector. 

All three have fast-growing businesses that range from $26 million to $70 million in annual sales.

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Titania Solutions (founders of Oberon Associates as well)

Jodi Johnson & David Young, Co-founders

9700 Capital Court, Suite 301
Manassas, VA 20110

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:
defense/government contracts

Year Founded: 2002

Build with People You Know

VOICEOVER:    Jody and Dave had success out of the blocks with Oberon and Associates because they had worked together for years at another firm.

JODI JOHNSON     We knew that we would be in the defense services industry and we both had a background in intelligence.   When I got out of the military I worked briefly for an aerospace company and then I joined a very small company called Mystech Associates which was largely tactical intelligence and Army command and control work.  And I really found a home there. 

I stayed there about 15 years working for Dave Young who is Oberon’s president.  And then we went through a series of acquisitions and through those acquisitions I learned a lot, actually. 

We went from a privately-held company to a publicly-traded company to a much larger company and it was during that time that while I was learning a lot about how different businesses operate and how the differences between privately  held and publicly traded companies, I realized that I wasn’t spending a lot of time with employees or customers, and that’s my strong suit.  And during those acquisitions it was when I realized probably returning to a small business was right for me and Dave and I decided together we would leave the company we were in and start Oberon in January of 2002. 

HATTIE:     What do you do when the two of you disagree?

DAVE YOUNG:  Well we don’t disagree.  We have truly, not only in Oberon but probably going back into some of those previous companies that we had.  I truthfully cannot think of a material disagreement we’ve had.  I think we’ve worked so long together and we have such identical philosophies on what is important in services business particularly a federal services business that it’s just uncanny.  I mean, we’ll, sometimes reply in emails to a question without seeing each other’s reply and the wording is almost the same.  Not only is the answer the same but the way we answer it is the same. 

HATTIE:  So you truly think alike.

DAVE:  We do and it’s very natural.

VOICEOVER:    At the time of this taping Oberon had already reached 46 million in annual revenues with 500 employees.  Our soldiers use its Biometric Automated Toolset to gather data on terrorists so the systems are at work globally.

JODI:  I trust him and respect him and when you have that, you can do almost anything.  He also has probably the best business head in this business of anyone I know and we have complimenting strengths.  He’s especially strong in the contracts and F&A side. I’m especially strong in the HR and the business development.   We both do business development; I mean I still manage a program for our very first customer at Oberon I am still the program man

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