Meg Whitman, Former CEO and President of eBay Addresses Crowd of Approximately 800 at NVTC's TechCelebration Annual Banquet
Tom Davis Honored with 2008 NVTC Chairman's Award for Service to Northern Virginia; Surprise Appearance from Senator John Warner Electrifies Crowd
HERNDON, VA, October 30, 2008 - The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC), the largest technology council in the nation, announced that its annual TechCelebration banquet attracted approximately 800 attendees to honor Congressman Tom Davis for his decades of service to Northern Virginia, while former eBay President and CEO Meg Whitman delivered the keynote address. Davis and Whitman were among the 45 special guests recognized at TechCelebration, a group that ranged from university presidents to trade association leaders. In addition, five-term U.S. Senator John Warner made a surprise appearance and was also honored for his service to this area and the country.
"NVTC continues to attract the brightest and most successful business leaders, like Meg Whitman and previously Bill Gates of Microsoft, to speak at its events because of how important Northern Virginia has become to this Nation and internationally," said Bobbie Kilberg, President and CEO of NVTC. "In Meg Whitman's remarks, she noted that Northern Virginia is one of the best places in the country to set up and succeed in building a business. We thank her for sharing her insights with us on a range of business and policy issues."
In a rare public appearance on the East Coast, Whitman traveled from her home state of California for the event. She mentioned since her retirement from eBay earlier this year that she has been fundraising for Sen. John McCain's campaign for president. In her remarks, Whitman quipped that she didn't retire, but just found another job in fundraising. Whitman recounted her early days at eBay and how she moved her family from Massachusetts to Silicon Valley and temporarily lived in a two-bedroom apartment across from Stanford. She stressed how innovation and allowing her staff to make mistakes as eBay grew were essential components of the company's unprecedented success.
After sharing her eBay memories and prescriptions for success in the business arena, Whitman shifted to public policy, praising the state of Florida for its public education efforts. She declared education to be a "national security priority" and stressed that the United States will not continue to be the world's leading power unless education is reformed immediately.
Earlier in the evening, several titans of Virginia politics gathered on stage in a unique appearance. NVTC Chair and CGI President Donna Morea presented Rep. Davis with the 2008 NVTC Chairman's Award, a baseball sculpture with the inscription: "Congressman Tom Davis - A Homerun for Virginia." Davis was given the award for having a lifelong love of baseball. Davis used anecdotes in his remarks to convey his appreciation of the award and how he will miss working for Virginia in the public sector.
The evening's emotional high point was the surprise guest appearance of five-term U.S. Senator John Warner, who is also retiring from public life. Warner, honored Monday with an extended standing ovation, received the NVTC Chairman's Award in 2007, but could not attend due to health reasons. Monday night proved to be a valedictory for both seasoned politicians, as Warner spoke about how he will miss the Senate and working with Rep. Davis. Warner and Davis were joined on stage by Congressmen Frank Wolf and Jim Moran, a display of bipartisanship that has been a constant facet of the Virginia Congressional delegation.