Dave McComb

Semantic Arts
President, CEO
Dave McComb is the president of Semantic Arts with over 20 years of experience in the field of semantics and enterprise ontology.
11 Old Town Square Ste. 200
Fort Collins,CO

Dave McComb is the President and founder of Semantic Arts, Inc. His focus is on project management and business applications, as well as bringing an overall enterprise architecture approach to the firm’s engagements.

Mr. McComb has nearly 30 years of experience, 13 with Andersen Consulting/Accenture and over 16 independently and through various joint ventures. Over that period of time he has managed over a dozen multi-million dollar development projects and worked with a number of major clients including: Georgia Pacific, Boise Cascade, Norton Abrasives, Wildish Construction, US Geological Survey, Trus Joist, Far West Federal Savings and Loan, Haw Par Trading (Singapore), Bougainville Copper, US West Materiel Resources, Colorado Department of Transportation, Martin Marietta, Johns Manville, Micro Planning International, BSW Architects, Dean Medical Center, Velocity.com, World Minerals, CommerceOne and Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

The consistent thread in McComb’s career has been the ability to craft novel architected solutions to business problems. He sometimes refers to this as the “applied research” approach to application development. While many see architecture as a nice-to-have overhead item, McComb has been successful at incorporating it into approaches, timeframes and budgets of normal systems development. At Bougainville Copper he incorporated the development of what would later be called “integrated CASE” into the development of materials management applications for the mine. The application and architecture were completed and converted for one-fourth the cost of a comparably sized conventional project running in parallel. The application and architiecture ran flawlessly for nearly a decade until the mine was decommissioned. At Johns Manville he led a team that developed the “Application Software Factory” which combined Artificial Intelligence and code generation to build an integrated Process-ERP system. Of the three million lines of COBOL code, over 97% were generated by the system. The system has been in production for over a decade, survived Y2K untouched and was recently ported to a browser based interface. At Velocity he led a team to develop the first truly model-driven applications. The healthcare applications built by Velocity run directly from the model, and do not require code generation. At Labor & Industries he is involved in a consulting role to help them migrate towards the SOA architecture that Semantic Arts defined for them, within the constraints of their existing budgets.

McComb’s main strength is in taking technology that has been proven to work, but that others have not yet found the most effective way to apply, and applying that to real world problems. His current key interests are in the application of Service Oriented Architectures and expression of the underlying semantics of business applications.

McComb has a Master of Business Administration from Portland State University.

2000-Present: President, Semantic Arts, Inc.

Key projects

2000 World Minerals, Feasibility of ERP Port versus Package Implementation
2001 World Minerals, System Integration Architecture and Long Range Plan
2001 Commerce One, Development of content for eMarketplace training material
2001 Xylem Design, Strategic Business Plan
2002 Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Technology Assessment and Risk Analysis
2003 Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Service Oriented Architecture Design
2003 WSIA/Labor and Industries, Feasibility and Project Plan for Electronic Filing and Web-Based Reporting of Claims for Self Insured Employers
2004 Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Shared Security Design
2005 Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Web Facing Services and Portal Evaluation
2005 Colorado Child Support, SOA Planning
2006 Washington State Department of Transportation, Impact Assessment
2006 Central Intelligence Agency, Consulting on SOA approaches
2006 – 2007 Washington State Department of Transportation, Enterprise Architecture design and migration planning
2007 – 2008 Washington State Office of Financial Management, Architecture design utilizing SOA
2008 Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan, Assessment of their SOA and Logical Data Modeling initiatives
2008 Fiserv, Ontology training, ontology design and consulting on the redevelopment of their core insurance systems
2008 Washington State Employment Security Department, Feasibility study and migration planning
2009 Sallie Mae, Developed Enterprise Ontology and performed some localization
2009 Mississippi Department of Transportation, High level strategic planning
2010 Sallie Mae, Worked on project to convert Enterprise Ontology to Message Model, refined Enterprise Ontology and mentored staff
2011 Procter & Gamble, Built an ontology for their R&D function
2011 LexisNexis, Built and integrated a conceptual legal ontology, and built the tooling to incorporate many logical data models into a combined ontology
2011 Teacher Retirement System of Texas, captured and documented the “as-is” and “to-be” architectures
2011 Sentara Healthcare, Building an Enterprise Ontology

Patents, Certification and Awards

Lead inventor on patents # 6,006,224 (Crucible Query System) and #6,049,673 (OrganicWare Applications), and #6,111,573 (Device independent window and view system). The Crucible Query System patent covers techniques to create database queries from data models, without requiring they be expressed as a declarative language (such as SQL). The OrganicWare Application Patent covers methods to build entire applications without any code. “Device independent window and view” covered techniques to allow automated layout based on information about screen size and resolution.

PMP/PMI – Certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute (PMI) (late 80’s – mid 90’s).

APICS – Certified by the American Production and Inventory Control Society (mid to late 80’s)


“Fighting the Last War” Guest View, SD Times, June 1, 2004
Semantics in Business Systems, Morgan Kaufmann September 2003 isbn 1558609172
“Objects Coming Soon to an IT Department Near You” For the Record November 16, 1998
“View Master: Selecting software requires a strategy that looks beyond features and functions” Healthcare Informatics August 1998
“Object Oriented Software: Its Growing Role in Healthcare” For the Record April 20, 1998
“Leveraging Your Database Smarts” Database Programming and Design August 1992
“The Application Software Factory: Applying Total Quality Techniques to Systems Development” MIS Quarterly December 1991
“System Project Failure: The Heuristics of Risk” Journal of Information Systems Management Winter 1991
“Bisecting the Bit” Journal of Irreproducible Results October 1985


“Introduction to Ontologies,” IBM Information Governance Summit Meeting, Beaver Creek, CO, October 2012
Keynote speech: “The Semantic World,” Air Transportation Information Exchange Conference, Silver Spring, MD, August 2012
“gist: A Freely Available Upper Ontology for Business, Introduction and Case Studies,” Semantic Technology Conference, San Francisco, CA, June 2012
“Semantic Technology For Enterprise Architects,” Semantic Technology Conference, co-presented with Simon Robe, New York, NY, October 2012 and San Francisco, CA, June 2012
“Smarter, Better And Richer – What To Look For At SemTechBiz This Year,” co-presented with Tony Shaw, San Francisco, CA, June 2012
“Elegance and Agility,” IPMA, Lacey, WA, May 2012
Panel Discussion: “Practical Steps to get Semantics into your Organization Now,” Semantic Tech & Business Conference, Washington, DC, December 2011
“Introduction to Semantic Technologies,” Semantic Tech & Business Conference, Washington, DC, November 2011
“Semantic Ontologies in Your Enterprise,” Taxonomy Boot Camp 2011, Washington, DC, October 2011
Panel: “How to Bring Semantics into Your Organization,” Semantic Tech & Business Conference, London, England, September 2011
What Semantics Teaches Us About Accounting,” American Accounting Association, Denver, CO, August 2011
“14 Ways to Use an Enterprise Ontology,” IRMAC Conference, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 2011
“Semantic Technology for Data Modelers,” IRMAC Conference, co-presented with Simon Robe, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 2011
Workshop: “How to Get Started with your Semantic Project,” Semantic Technology Conference, San Francisco, CA, June 2011
“3 Case Studies Using Upper Ontologies,” Semantic Technology Conference, San Francisco, CA, June 2011
Tutorial: “Seven Things You Didn’t Know about OWL,” Semantic Technology Conference, co-presented with Simon Robe, San Francisco, CA, June 2011
Workshop: “What is Semantic Technology?” Semantic Technology Conference, San Francisco, CA, June 2011
“A Case Study in Applying Ontologies to SOA,” Ontology Driven Implementation of Semantic Services for the Enterprise Environment (ODISSEE) Workshop, Washington, DC, April 2011
Keynote speech: “How Semantic Technology Will Invert Corporate Information Systems,” EIM Conference, Toronto, ON, September 2010
“Why Can’t We All Just Agree?” Federal Data Architecture Subcommittee (DAS), Washington, DC, August 2010
“gist: The Minimalist Upper Ontology,” Semantic Technology Conference, San Francisco, CA, June 2010
“Ontology-Driven SOA Governance,” Semantic Technology Conference, co-presented with Simon Robe, San Francisco, CA, June 2010
“What Will We Be Saying About Semantics This Year?” Semantic Technology Conference, San Francisco, CA, June 2010
“Project Management Best Practices are Undermining Your Enterprise Architecture,” AASHTO, Helena, MT, May 2010
Keynote speech: ”Semantic Technology in the Post-Relational World” (via webcam, courtesy of the Icelandic volcano explosion), ITARC, Stockholm, Sweden, April 2010
“Introduction to the Semantic Web and Ontologies,” co-presented with Simon Robe, Enterprise Data World, San Francisco, CA, March 2010
“Project Management at the End of Age of Silos,” PMI, Olympia, WA, February 2010
“Metadata Policies,” panel member, IBM Smart Governance Forum, Half Moon Bay, CA, February 2010
“It’s All About the Semantics,” IBM Data Governance Council, Mohonk, NY, October 2009
“Semantic Expression of Financial Concepts,” AIS Educator Association, Colorado Springs, CO, June 2009
“Semantic Technology in Perspective,” Semantic Technology Conference, San Jose, CA, June 2009
“Tutorial: Building an Enterprise Ontology,” Semantic Technology Conference, co-presented with Simon Robe, San Jose, CA, June 2009
“Next Generation Web 2.0: The Social Web,” AASHTO, Seattle, WA May 2009
“Next Generation Web,” SIM-NY, December 2008
“Resolving Systems Integration Problems with Semantic Technology,” Earley & Associates’ Semantic Technologies JumpStart 2008, Webinar, November 2008
“Semantics and Business Rules: Bridging the Gap” Business Rules Forum, Orlando, FL, October 2008
“Semantic Based SOA,” ArchitectureGOV 2008, Hershey, PA, June 2008
“Bringing SemTech Back to the Business” Keynote speech, Semantic Technology Conference, San Jose, CA May 2008
“Enterprise Ontology as a Basis for SOA Messages” Semantic Technology Conference, San Jose, CA May 2008
“Semantic SOA,” Semantic Technologies Conference, San Jose CA, May 2008
“Semantic Technology: Introduction” Semantic Technology Conference, San Jose, CA May 2008
“Next Generation Web” IPMA Keynote speech, Lacey, WA, May 2008
“Semantic Technology Introduction for Enterprise Computing” Webcast, March 2008
“Changing the Cost of Change” PMI, Olympia, WA, March 2008
“Semantics and SOA” The Open Group 17th Annual Practitioners Conference, San Francisco, January 2008
“Designing and Building Business Ontologies” An Intensive four-day seminar with workshops and demonstrations, on semantically enabling the enterprise; co-presented with Simon Robe: Houston, TX August 2010; San Diego, CA January 2009; Indianapolis, IN November 2008; Fort Collins, CO October 2008, October 2009, May 2010, October 2010, March 2011; Denver, CO February 2008; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, January 2008; San Francisco, CA October 2007; Orlando, FL March 2007; Seattle, WA; December 2006; Chicago, IL May 2006; Norfolk, VA April 2006; San Diego, February 2006
“Semantic Technology and Business Rules: Twins Separated at Birth?” Business Rules Forum, Orlando, FL October 2007
“The Next Generation of the Web” IPMA Executive Seminar, Lacey, WA October 2007
“Gist: A Minimalist Upper Ontology” Semantic Technology Conference, San Jose, CA May 2007 and March 2006
“Semantics for Service Oriented Architectures” Semantic Technology Conference, San Jose, CA May 2007
“Enterprise Message Modeling: How Data Modelers Can Get Involved (and Control) SOA Projects” DAMA International Symposium & WILSHIRE Meta-Data Conference, Boston, MA March 2007
“Enterprise Ontology: Designing Your Core Model Using Semantic Web Technology” (co-presented with Simon Robe) DAMA International Symposium & WILSHIRE Meta-Data Conference, Boston, MA March 2007
“The Enterprise Ontology: Firm Foundation for EA” Enterprise Architecture Roundtable, Chicago, IL November 2006
“Inference: Semantic Web vs. Rules Engines” 9th International Business Rules Forum, Washington, DC November 2006
“SOA and Semantics” Service-Oriented Architectures for E-Government Conference, Washington, DC October 2006
“Making Large Projects Small” Project Management Institute, Olympia, WA October 2006
“Service Oriented Architecture” DAMA Portland Metro Chapter, Portland, OR October 2006
“Semantics in Perspective” Semantic Technology Conference, San Jose, CA March 2006
“Semantics and Business Rules” Business Rules Forum, Orlando, November 2005
“The Semantic Web: What Is It and Why Should You Care?” IRMAC (the Information Resource Management Association of Canada), Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 2005; DAMA Toronto, September 2005; DAMA International Symposium, Orlando, May 2005.
“Semantics: The New Era for Information Management” DAMA International Symposium, Orlando, May 2005
“Semantics 101” Semantic Technology Conference, San Francisco, March 2005
“Using Semantic Technologies in Governmental Info Systems” (co-presenter with Simon Hoare), CIMA (Colorado Information Management Association), Colorado Springs, CO November 2004
“EAEye for the Database Guy (Data Integration through Message Modeling)” DAMA International, Los Angeles, CA October 2004
“Semantic Modeling” DAMA Chicago, Chicago, IL June 2004
“Data Integration through Message Modeling” and “Semantics in Business Systems” DAMA LA, May 2004
“Semantic Interoperability” SDForum on Semantic Technologies, Palo Alto, CA April 2004
“How Categories Inform Us” DAMA Denver, January 2004
“Semantics in Business Systems” DAMA International Symposium & WILSHIRE Meta-Data Conference, Los Angeles, CA October 2004 and Cherry Hill, NJ November 2003
“Assessing Information Security in Complex Environments”, IPMA, May 2003
“Web Services in Context” DAMA International, Orlando April 2003
“XML Based Data Integration” IRM Conference, Stockholm, Sweden March 2003
“Message Based Data Integration” Wilshire Conference, Pittsburgh October 2002 and Cherry Hill, NJ November 2003
“Escaping the Legacy Jungle: XML and Web Services in Digital Government” IPMA October 2002
“Dependency Analysis and Visualization as Tools to Prolong System Life” COMPSAC 2002, Oxford, England
“Objects are closer than they appear” Front Range CASE User Group October 1992
“MRP: Handling New Requirements for Aerospace and Defense” for Colorado APICS February 1989
“Cost Control for Risk Management” Institute for International Research Seminar: Managing Construction Projects Singapore, June 9 & 10, 1982
“Systems Analysis and the Accountant” Malaysian Association of CPAs December 15, 1982
“Cost Controls and Project Monitoring” Institute for International Research Seminar: How to Minimize Costs in Construction Projects, Manila March 18 & 19, 1982