Circuit: Very honorable mentions

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The best and the brightest were out in abundance last week for Federal Computer Week's annual Federal 100 awards banquet. And few attendees left dry-eyed. The emotional evening was capped by a touching and heartfelt speech by Ed Meagher, deputy chief information officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs, who received an Eagle award.

The Federal 100 awards go to people who have made a difference in government technology in the past year. But the Eagle award is given to two Federal 100 recipients — one from government and one from industry — who made extraordinary contributions. Anne Altman, managing director of IBM Federal, received the Eagle award for industry.

An independent panel of judges selected the Eagle award winners. The judges were Joanne Connelly, president of ConnellyWorks; Renny DiPentima, president and chief executive officer of SRA International; Jim Flyzik, a partner at Guerra, Kiviat, Flyzik and Associates; Olga Grkavac, an executive vice president of the Information Technology Association of America; Steve Kelman, a professor of public management at Harvard University; Deidre Lee, director of procurement and acquisition policy at the Defense Department; and Dendy Young, chairman and CEO of GTSI.

The panel chose Meagher, a Vietnam War veteran, because of his extraordinary work helping wounded veterans returning from the Middle East. Meagher said he wanted to ensure that veterans today, unlike Vietnam vets, never have to hide their heads.

Meagher has worked with many vets — including some who have had multiple amputations — and he has helped create Vet IT, a program that lets soldiers volunteer at the VA to gain work experience while they continue their rehabilitation. "I've never been prouder to be a geek," Meagher said.

Meanwhile, Altman was selected for making organizational changes at IBM Federal that benefit government agencies and systems integrators. The company made huge investments in 2004, creating a federal solution center, competency centers and a comprehensive laboratory and test bed. She also appointed a chief technology officer to ensure that IBM research addresses the government's needs.

Altman credited the "IBM-ers," who she said have made the company an important player in the federal market.

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