2007 Rising Star award winners, Hi-Pr

Kevin Hightower

Employer: Lockheed Martin

Job title: System architect

Job description: Hightower is the system architect for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Advanced Technologies and Operational Procedures program.

Career in brief: He has been at this job for two years and has been in the government IT community for six years. He is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Why Hightower is a Rising Star: Supervisors said Hightower’s dedication and focus on customers enabled FAA to meet critical operational milestones on schedule and with high confidence.

During a critical program cutover in New York, Hightower was the only non-FAA employee permitted to walk the floor, directly behind the controllers, to dispense advice on problems as they arose. A letter from FAA officials commending Hightower’s work states, “He has developed a clear understanding of the operational environment we work in, which was invaluable in development, testing [and] implementation, and continues to be very helpful in system enhancements and problem investigation.”

Carrie Holland

Employer: Internal Revenue Service

Job title: Deputy director of account management services

Job description: Holland is responsible for developing and deploying a major IRS business systems project. Account management services will transform how IRS employees access taxpayer data in a modernized environment.

Career in brief: She has been in her current job for two months and in the government IT community for four years. Holland was previously a senior manager at the Transition Management Office.

Why Holland is a Rising Star: Her supervisors say she performed groundbreaking work in establishing and managing the Transition Management Office. She helped the organization devise a standardized method of preparing for IT system deployment, including improving its readiness to meet staffing, training and security needs. Holland’s work minimized the risks involved in major projects in the IRS’ IT Modernization Vision and Strategy. IRS leaders cited her spirit, determination and dedication to excellence in selecting her for the IRS Executive Readiness Program, which will enable her to advance to the Senior Executive Service in the next two years.

Shaun Khalfan

Employer: Army

Job title: Information assurance specialist

Job description: Khalfan assisted the Army Human Resources Command by coordinating and managing its information assurance program. He administered the vulnerability management, risk management, certification and accreditation, and information assurance training programs.

Career in brief: He has been in his current job for six months and in the government IT community for five years.

Why Khalfan is a Rising Star: His superviso rs said he worked far above his grade and routinely received high-level assignments. Among his accomplishments, he overhauled the command’s info rmation assurance training program and developed a user-training system for handling classified information. Senior officials said Khalfan’s integrity and commitment led to his promotion to the Army’s Office of the Inspector General, where he is helping to create an information assurance division that will conduct assessments for the Army.

Allen Magtibay

Employer: Homeland Security Department

Job title: Information technology program manager

Job description: Magtibay is responsible for the overall management and daily operations of IT services for Immigration Health Services, a division in the Homeland Security Department. The division provides or arranges for health care services for undocumented migrant s detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Magtibay provides recommendations to senior leaders for developing future IT resources.

In addition, Magtibay is the project officer for the division’s five-year, $14.4 million IT enterprise services contract.

Career in brief: He has been in his current job two years and one month and in the government IT community for the same length of time.

Why Magtibay is a Rising Star: He was instrumental in opening eight new facilities and in scheduling two more to open in the near future.

In addition, he was responsible for updating the division’s enterprise network, replacing a decentralized structure with a centralized infrastructure and generating considerable savings. Senior officials said that without the levels of coordination and planning that Magtibay brought to his work, the facilities expansion projects would have failed.

Russell O’Neill

Employer: General Services Administration

Job title: Information technology specialist and senior application developer

Job description: O’Neill is responsible for enhancing the functionality of the government Web portals, USA.gov, and the Spanish language version, GobiernoUSA.gov, and for being the lead person responsible for the portals’ content management system.

Career in brief: He has been in this job and the government IT community for five years. In that time, he has advanced from being a college intern to leading multimillion-dollar technical projects.

Why O’Neill is a Rising Star: Because of his superior abilities, his supervisors regularly ask him to lead complex, high-profile technical projects.

He assists content managers in their use of Web 2.0 and other new technologies that improve service to the public. O’Neill’s supervisors have promoted him as fast as the civil service system allows and paid his graduate school tuition so he could earn a master’s degree in software systems engineering while working full time.

Christopher Presby

Employer: NetCentrics

Job title: Senior systems administrator

Job Description: As an employee of Net-Centrics, Presby worked for the Army Headquarters Information Management Support Center, where he was responsible for maintaining the Army’s virtual private network for headquarters users.

Career in brief: He was in his position at Net-Centrics for three years and in the government IT community for five years.

Why Presby is a Rising Star: He was an integral part of the Army’s Common Access Card Cryptographic Logon implementation. Senior leaders credited his dedication to the Army and his superior technical skills for the successful implementation of CCL. He provided direct technical support to the secretary of the Army, chief of staff of the Army, vice chief of staff of the Army and chief information officer. Presby was available at all times, and when those senior officials needed support, they said he was the first person they called. Officials also said his work has set the standard for headquarters and the Army as the service strives to meet Joint Task Force/Global Network Operations mandates.

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