Former Director Marty Larsen Leads Laid-Off VA Professional Services Team to Safety

by Don Marti

Marty Larsen, the recently laid-off director of the Professional Services division at former Linux vendor VA Linux Systems, has found jobs for most of that division at Red Hat. The transition, not an acquisition, will also bring VA Professional Services clients to Red Hat. "We're not losing any current customers", Larsen said.

Tim Lucas, Executive Director of Red Hat Professional Consulting, said many of the former VA Services clients have already signed on with Red Hat, and the company is well-positioned to land the rest. "The consulting business is about relationships, and this is very beneficial", he said.

A total of 22 former VA employees started work at Red Hat on Monday, Larsen said, and are attending an orientation meeting at Red Hat headquarters in North Carolina.

Larsen will be Red Hat's Practice Director for the West Coast region. "We intend to keep the team mostly together", Lucas said.

"The majority of the people on my team will be coming over", Larsen said. "I went to Red Hat and made a proposal, and they said they like what we can do and made us an offer."

Former VA staff members are impressed with Larsen's efforts and happy to continue the same work for a new employer. "We kind of need a few breaks to be able to survive", said one former VA developer who is joining Red Hat. "Marty really worked hard to pull this off", the developer added.

Many of the former VA employees worked from their home offices, and they will continue to do so while at Red Hat. Some California people may work at one of Red Hat's California locations, including one in Sunnyvale, near VA's former headquarters.

"We just had our first day at Red Hat, which was really nice", Larsen said Monday evening, in a phone call from what sounded like a noisy celebration.

Red Hat continues to recruit professional services employees, especially for UNIX-to-Linux migration, Lucas said. "We allow our professionals to generally live where they want to live, as long as they can provide high-level service to their clients."

Red Hat released the following list of former VA employees starting work this week: Lana Akamine, James Antill, Bret Bassemier, Bruce Benson, Keith Burres, Royce Callaway, Rik Faith, Devin Gibson, Dion Gengler, Alan Hourihane, Susan Jameson, Terry Jones, Tim Kramer, Marty Larsen, Kevin Martin, Ian Mcleod, Mark Mueller, Scott Sawyer, Karsten Wade, Ben Woodard and Curtis Zinzilieta.

Among the former VA projects that Larsen's team will be managing at Red Hat is a collection of printing software for Hewlett-Packard. The project is currently hosted on VA's, and Larsen said it will stay there.

Larsen is a former US Army Green Beret who served with the 5th Special Forces Group as a demolitions engineer. "That's how I got started in engineering", he said.

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