Purse Strings – August

Lani Hay, CEO, Lanmark Technology

By Teryl Warren
In just a few years, 35 year-old Lani Hay has built Lanmark Technology, Inc. — a government information and technology contracting firm – into a $30 million business.  We recently caught up with her when she hosted the “Captain America Military Salute to the Navy SEAL Foundation,” featuring Captain America himself, Chris Evans, to kick off this year’s Comic-Con.  Here’s what she had to say about working with the Feds and the real-life superheroes in the U.S. military.


On July 21, Lani Hay, founder and CEO of Lanmark Technology, addressed a packed room of active duty military representatives, entertainment industry leaders and comic enthusiasts at this year’s Comic-Con to show her support for the Navy SEALs.

“When it comes to our Special Forces community, the Navy SEALs are the ultimate warriors,” said Hay. “Over the years, the character of Captain America, was created by iconic graphic novelist Stan Lee, has been used to represent the ultimate military warrior and leader. Just as Captain America stood for the unwavering commitment, incredible skill, and courage of our nation’s military during the Second World War, so does he now take his place in modern history as a symbol of our nation’s strength and resolve.”

As a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Lani Hay knows a few things about resolve. When she entered the military at age seventeen, she found that only about ten percent of her fellow classmates were female.  She knew she’d have to learn to survive in that environment very quickly.   Shortly after completing her curriculum, Lani was recruited as naval intelligence officer, where she performed global reconnaissance missions by day, and worked toward earning her MBA by night.

While in the Navy, she helped develop a sophisticated technology that enables military aircraft to quickly and efficiently transmit vital imagery and data to the ground station.  Lani leveraged this platform and some key contacts to start her own business; and, with her MBA in-hand, she, at age twenty-seven, set out to break down some of the barriers in Capitol Hill’s notoriously white male-dominated defense community.

“From the beginning, I was fortunate to be able to work with people who really recognized diversity as an asset.  My first clients were in special ops.  They didn’t care about me being young, or being a woman. The only thing they cared about was getting the job done.”

Today, Vienna, VA-based Lanmark Technology is a $30 million, highly respected, award-winning technology firm that provides services, products, and systems that strengthen the U.S. federal government.  Lanmark’s impressive client roster includes the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor, to name a few.

Lani and her team of experts pride themselves on their commitment to ensuring that each of their projects is managed to the highest degree of excellence.

“This isn’t just a job for us.   I see the work we do as being hand-in-hand partners with the government.”

The Captain America superhero was created by Marvel Comics during World War II as a symbol of patriotism and a virtuous combatant of Nazi propaganda.  Dubbed the “Sentinel of Liberty,” Captain America was fashioned as a super soldier commissioned to keep the world safe from atrocities perpetrated by dictators and diabolical villains.  In real life, the U.S. military boasts a team of elite, special operations super soldiers, much like Captain America:  the Navy SEALs.

The mission of the Navy SEAL Foundation is to care for the families of fallen Navy SEALs. In 2005, one of Lani Hay’s former Naval Academy classmates, a Navy SEAL, was killed; and the response of the Navy SEAL Foundation in aiding his family left an indelible impression on her.   She has been an active supporter of the foundation ever since; and, as a longtime supporter, Lani knew that a historical event celebrating their invaluable work was long overdue.  In typical Lani Hay fashion, she pushed up her sleeves and made it happen.  The result was the “Captain America Military Salute” which she hosted in partnership with the Navy SEAL Foundation to kick off this year’s Comic-Con.

In this photograph taken by AP Images for PEI Entertainment, from left in background, Chris Evans, Jim Smith, Billy Helmers, Lani Hay and USO girls holding a Captain America shield are seen at the LMT Music Lodge during Comic-Con 2011 on Thursday, July 21, 2011 in San Diego, California (Katy Winn/AP Images for PEI Entertainment)

At the historic event, the Santa Barbara Order award was presented to Stan Lee, the creator of iconic Marvel super-heroes, such as Spiderman, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four, X-Men and Thor among others, by COL Timothy R. Coffin, US Army. The program also included the presentation of a Navy SEAL challenge coin by Jim Smith, Executive Director of the Navy SEAL Foundation, to Chris Evans, star of Captain America: The First Avenger by Marvel Entertainment and Paramount Pictures, which opened in theatres nationwide on July 22, 2011.

The ceremony also included an appearance by the Color Guard, American bald eagle Mr. Lincoln, and an airing of the following PSA starring Chris Evans filmed in support of the Navy SEAL Foundation:

If her current success is any indication, we can sure expect even bigger and bolder things to come from Lani Hay.  In addition to her continued support of the Navy SEAL Foundation, Lani says she’s looking forward to continuing to build Lanmark Technology’s success.

“Lanmark is currently a $30 million business and I want to build it to $100 million within the next 5 years,” she said. “It’s a lofty goal, so we’re going to have to really dig in to get it done.”

For more information about Lani Hay and Lanmark Technology, Inc., please visit: lmt-inc.com

To learn more about the Navy SEAL Foundation, please go to: nswfoundation.org


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