Her first client was UUNet Technologies, before it would become a multi-million-dollar Internet company. Since then, corporations like Gannett, non-profit organizations such as the National Football Players Association and even the Pentagon have hired Olympus to make their banks of data more accessible.
Revenues in 1997 totaled a few million, and Olympus just landed a big part of a five-year, $35-million federal contract. Although every employee holds stock options in Olympus, Holdren is the majority owner.
What accounts for Olympus's success? While Holdren gives much credit to her colleagues, there's no doubt her vision and energy have been one key.
"What we've been through in the past three years is truly roller coaster," says Todd Levitt. "It takes someone who can weather the storm. Julie has been the driving force."
Holdren is nothing if not driven.
"I want to be the first woman to found and run a billion-dollar corporation," she says. Holdren has a lot of work in front of her, a lot of one-arm pushups. But like most successful entrepreneurs, what keeps her going is that next goal.
Jeong Kim: Don't Forget Your Friends
Bob Prettyman first met Jeong Kim in high-school physics. Of the 40 or so students in the class, all but a handful would drop out. It was not, Prettyman says, because the class was tough but because the teacher didn't understand physics and had never taught it before.
"In the second semester, there were seven or eight of us left," Prettyman recalls. He and Kim were two of those remaining. "What happened was, Kim went home and studied the physics book and ended up basically teaching the rest of us."
Prettyman would become fast friends with Kim, now the 37-year-old CEO of Yurie Systems, a Lanham company Kim founded in 1992. Yurie makes equipment that allows more efficient transport of voice, video, and data over phone lines.