Editor’s note: Charles Davidson writes about the Atlanta tech scene on Mondays.Chris Coleman is unusual.

How many people revel in telling you they’ve come across a new word, like “myrmidon?” (The American Heritage Dictionary: ‘A faithful follower who carries out orders without question.’)

How many women run technology marketing companies that last 15 years? How many marketing people come across as genuine, smart and funny, with little hint of the empty, buzzword-riddled puffery that plagues the tech industry? How many people do you meet in the tech business who’ve written a book on tech marketing that’s currently Amazon’s fifth best-seller in Atlanta? And she’s writing a novel about an advertising agency even as she takes a new job as marketing chief at a network security firm.

That’s Coleman.

“She’s much more engaging than the typical marketing type, and never feels like she’s ‘staying on message,’ ” says Jason Kelly, an Atlanta writer who’s followed the local technology community for several years. “You get the sense from her – and it seems very genuine – that she’s telling you what’s really going on. She also knows her stuff cold; she can talk in-depth, or not, on technical stuff. And that’s rare.”

Waitress work

With one book, “Green Banana Papers,” done and the novel, “Waitress Work,” underway, Coleman surprised the Atlanta tech community recently by accepting the top marketing post at Secureworks Inc., a seller of network security software and services. Coleman had been happily working on her book, speaking and doing consulting work.

A head hunter, Ricky Steele of Korn/Ferry International, a local tech industry veteran, asked Coleman to meet with Secureworks’ new CEO, Mike Cote (rhymes with roadie). Steele and Coleman figured she’d give Cote, who joined the company in February, a little direction and that’d be that.

But Coleman was sold on Cote. That’s in part because he helped turn around another local software house, Talus Solutions Inc., and sell it to Manugistics Group Inc. for stock worth $340 million at the time of the deal, December 2000.

Coleman likes the fact that because Secureworks has had management turnover in the past months, Cote has been able to hand pick his own team. The company also has money in the bank, having raised $30 million the past couple of years, and a legitimate installed base of customers. Plus, she believes the product is good.

“You take one of those away, and it gets tough,” Coleman says of Secureworks. “You take two of them away, and its impossible.”

Another year, another CEO

In addition to cleaning out managers loyal to an ex-boss, high-level turnover also can raise questions about what’s going on at a company. Some sources say the previous CEO, Robert Minkhorst, who had run Philips Consumer Electronics North America, was simply a “big company guy.” Other sources hint at internal power struggles involving the founder, Joan Wilbanks.

Exactly a year minus a day before Secureworks announced Cote’s hiring, the company with considerable fanfare announced that it had signed up Minkhorst.

Whatever the reasons, that experiment obviously didn’t work. Nevertheless, Coleman figures Cote and Secureworks are the real deal.

Tech in Atlanta no longer outsider’s game

One can assume she had an easy time with due diligence. She’s been around technology in Atlanta for a couple of decades, so she knows virtually everybody. She’s served as head of the biggest local trade group, the former Business & Technology Alliance. In fact, she pushed years ago for that group to join with the Southeastern Software Association and Women In Technology. BETA, as it was known, and the SSA in particular pretty much duplicated each other.

But egos and turf jealousies prevented any such merger until 1999, when the groups united to form the Technology Association of Georgia.

That sort of experience makes Coleman a front-row observer of the evolution of Atlanta’s tech industry. In the 1980s, technology was an afterthought in a town dominated by real estate and services. But Coleman relates that the magnitude of the tech business’ growth here was brought home in a meeting last week.

She was talking with Secureworks resellers, which included a woman in her mid 20s who, Coleman says, truly grasped the technology and how to sell it. “I’m sitting in the meeting thinking this would never have happened 15 years ago in Atlanta,” she says. “It shows that this isn’t an outsider’s game any more.”