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Applied Solutions, Inc. CEO Larry Wallace recently got a laugh from a YouTube parody of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey…only featuring the voice of Alexa in place of the menacing robot HAL. “Whoever saw Alexa coming? Or an internet-wired stove?  Or the Cloud?” he asks.

If Larry has adapted to these innovations, it’s because has a great instinct for timing. Larry arrived in Washington, DC in a period that offered professional and cultural growth.  He earned a degree in information science on the cusp of the digital revolution.  And he seized the right moment to take the reins of ASI with President Mark Anderson.  The outcome? “My money’s where my mouth is.  I’m managing development of technology we never dreamed of, and I have more control over my own life.”

The son of an Army Air Corps veteran and a teacher’s aide, Larry grew up in Jacksonville, FL.  He was the first person in his family to graduate from college, with a degree in Political Science from the University of Florida.  A plan to earn a master’s degree in urban and regional planning in Washington, DC, lost traction, but Larry took advantage of the city’s cultural landscape to appreciate theater and dance, enjoy the now-legendary DC 1980s music scene, and work at the Smithsonian Institution.

The constellation of associations and agencies around the DC area provided Larry with opportunities to sharpen his organizational and research skills.  He followed a progressively information-focused path with positions at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, at a consulting firm that provided legal research, and within a legislative branch of the Department of Transportation.  Seeing his career take direction, Larry committed to the research field and got his master’s degree in library and information science in 1993. 

His timing could not have been better.  Archives were digitizing en masse.  Security was shifting to computer management   At the software library of the then-Immigration and Naturalization Service, Larry quickly learned the complex skill of software configuration management, a key asset that helped him make the switch to a position with a contractor for the Department of Homeland Security and then ASI with the Department of Defense.   

Obtaining a top secret clearance put Larry in demand, and he might have easily opted to job-hop.  But he and ASI President Mark Anderson jumped instead for the chance to buy and manage ASI when its owners retired.  “After a period of major growth after 9/11 and then a cutback and layoffs, we had seen what happens when a company expands too fast.  We’re interested in managed growth at the right pace.  We’re a small company, but more formalized than a startup, and the Department of Defense and our clients have a lot of criteria and specifications we fulfill.

“There are so many threats from every which way, some of which we haven’t even imagined yet.” Larry and Mark aim to stay on top of this exploding field while also looking at other areas to master.  “With any luck, we’ll find the exact right time.”