Eric’s resignation from the company. (He would eventually acquire Baldwin Richardson Foods Co., which is currently No. 55 on the be Industrial/Service 100 list.)
In 1993, the family decided to sell the company. Despite the public outcry, the family still stands by its decision. “We have no regrets,” says Joan M. recently. “Their hard work was not diminished at all by selling the business. All of the accolades still come to both of them.”
Remarried for almost five years, Joan B. and George Johnson are today enjoying their golden years. “The two people who started [JPC] have come together again and are enjoying the fruits of their labor,” Joan M. says. “They are in their 70s now and have really turned in toward their family and their grandchildren, and each other.”
As for the younger Joan, she married in 1995. The Gallis, with their three children in tow, recently returned to the United States from hubby’s native land, Argentina, where they lived for the past three years. Their next big project: real estate development. “We’re again involved in a family business. It’s land we’ve owned for 27 years that was a [working] cattle farm, and now we’re changing gears with it,” says Joan M. “We’re in the process of zoning and annexing the land into single and multifamily homes.”
The elder Johnsons will serve as advisors on this project, while Joan M. and her husband will serve as the principals and managers of the real estate business.
Known for: Being CEO of one of the nation’s leading black-owned high-tech firms B.E. milestone: His company, Network Solutions, was ranked among the BE Industrial/Service 100 What happened: Sold Network Solutions to majority-owned corporation Current project: Positioning his new company, Netcom Solutions International, to go public
Emmit McHenry discovered a concept before its time. In 1979, he founded Network Solutions, the Herndon, Virginia-based systems integration firm that would eventually be responsible for the assignment of Internet domain names. By 1989, Network Solutions had grown to No. 11 on the be Industrial/Service 100 list, generating gross revenues of $48.8 million. During that same period, it became one of the few firms to successfully graduate from the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program, which sets aside federal contracts for minority businesses.
In 1995, however, Network Solutions dropped off the be 100s when McHenry and his partners sold the company to Science Application International Corp., a San Diego-based high-tech firm. Within four years, it would have a net worth of $220.8 million. Observers say that McHenry missed out on hundreds of millions — possibly, billions — of dollars since Network Solutions became the company that registered Internet domain names for millions of companies, organizations, and individuals.
“I expected it [Network Solutions] to grow, but no one expected it to be worth what it is today. I had three partners who wanted to sell it, and for a host of reasons, it was just time to move on,” he says.
But McHenry has few regrets. Five years ago, the technology pioneer launched NetCom Solutions International Inc., a