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Donald deLaski, Deltek Co-founder and GMU Philanthropist, dies at 80

Donald deLaski was the co-founder of Deltek, located just outside the Town of Herndon.

Donald deLaski was the visionary behind Deltek, Inc., one of the Washington area’s largest and most successful software companies.   In 1983, after spending twenty years building an accounting practice for government contractors, Mr. deLaski co-founded Deltek and provided the starting capital of $100,000 to fund the programming effort to write the first version of the software.  Today, Deltek is a public company with annual revenues of $341 million and employs over 750 people in the Washington, DC region, serving over 15,000 organizations in 80 countries around the world. 

Battling asthma his entire life, he died of lung disease on March 9 at his home in Bethesda.

Deltek started and took root during the microcomputer boom in the 1980’s.  The PC-based software Deltek produced for government contractors replaced and outperformed large mainframe systems for a fraction of the cost.  Riding the wave of technology, Deltek grew rapidly through the 1980’s and 1990’s and continues to grow today as the company expands internationally and develops new markets for its software.

Kevin Parker, Deltek’s CEO for the past 7 years commented, “when it comes to accounting for government contractors, Don deLaski was the guy that changed everything.  In the early 1960’s he figured out how to put very complicated cost accounting information together for his clients in an organized and logical way.  And then finally, when the technology was ready, he seized the opportunity to automate his approach and to make it affordable for firms of all sizes.” 

Mr. deLaski served as CEO of Deltek until 1996 when he turned the reins of the company over to his son, Kenneth.  He stayed active on the company’s board until 2005.  

More recently Mr. deLaski focused his energies on philanthropy through the Donald and Nancy deLaski Foundation granting over $40 million to local charities over the past 10 years.  The largest gifts made by the deLaski Foundation have been to George Mason University to build the Performing Arts Practice facility and also for the founding of GMU’s Center for Consciousness and Transformation.   Through the foundation, Donald and Nancy also funded major gifts for medical care for local asthmatic children through Howard University and also arts education for children through the Sitar Center.  Other major, local gifts have also been provided to the Mount Vernon Library, the new Arena Stage building and the Center for Mind-Body Medicine.

Mr. deLaski attended Coolidge High School in the District, was a graduate of Duke University and received a law degree from George Washington University.  He was married for 54 years to Nancy Lee Panossian, who died in 2009.  He is survived by his three children, Kenneth, Kathleen and David, and six grandchildren. 

• Obituary provided by Racepoint Group/Deltek. 

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