Wong is chairman and chief executive office of Lore Systems Inc., a Silver Spring-based IT professional services company. He's a three-time "Smart100" CEO and was recently recognized by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship as one of D.C.'s Locally Grown Honorees for founding and growing his first company, CyberRep, to 2,400 employees. He'll be recognized at NFTE's Dare to Dream Gala in May.

Talk about starting your own company. What it's like?

From my experience I think it's easy to start a company. It's really difficult to build it though.


Because it requires a lot of persistence and energy to win customers and to make them happy, to find great teammates and employees and to make them happy, and it just takes a lot of work. It just requires a sustained, consistent effort. That's why it's really difficult.

How'd you end up working in D.C.?

Well when I was your age I got an internship on Capitol Hill with Sen. Bill Bradley from New Jersey, and I really enjoyed my experience in Washington. So after I graduated from college -- I went to Dartmouth -- I had my own business for one year then decided to move down to Washington. and do a career in commercial real estate finance.

Is this a good place for entrepreneurs?

This is a great town for startups. You have a lot of excitement and energy, a very strong technology community, a strong government community, you have a highly educated work force, you have a local network of phenomenal, world-class education institutions. I think what's even more important is access: access to customers, access to information and resources. Washington is one of the top places for that.

What's one piece of advice you'd give to someone who wants to form their own startup?

Work hard and never give up.

-- Courtney Zott