IPIC 2007: Climbing the mountain; Giving away the money; In memoriam: Cynthia S. Upson; In memoriam: Tim Sheehan

IPIC 2007: Climbing the mountain
ORLANDO, Fla. — The Government Information Technology Executive Council’s Information Processing Interagency Conference (IPIC) opened last week with a networking session in a room decorated with outdoor gear and wildlife. A big bear loomed in one corner, and a campfire scene complete with a tent and makeshift fire occupied another.

It was all part of the conference theme: Climbing the mountain.

Credit goes to Scott Cragg, GITEC’s vice president and chairman of IPIC 2007. Cragg is chief architect at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

He said the idea for climbing the mountain came from a photo that ran in an issue of Sports Illustrated years ago. It showed an ice climber working his way up a frozen waterfall.

That photograph is a metaphor for government IT leaders today, Cragg said. Leaders face difficult challenges and are often frustrated at the pace of their progress, and yet they’re also exhilarated by the tasks ahead of them.
That metaphor worked for Robert Howard, the VA’s chief information officer.

Referring to the photo of “the ice guy,” Howard announced, “That’s me, only I’m not climbing.”

However, Howard went on to say he has his ax lodged firmly each step of the way as the VA makes progress toward its goals.

Giving away the money
GITEC gave conference speakers coins containing the image of the ice guy. But it also sold the coins to donate the proceeds to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), a nonprofit group in Washington, D.C., that serves paralyzed vets.

IPIC has held a number of fundraising events to benefit that organization. IPIC 2006 raised $45,000 for PVA. GITEC officials didn’t have the 2007 tally last week, but folks at the conference were buying the IPIC coins for $50 or more.
We’ll post a link to the PVA Web site on’s Download at

In memoriam: Cynthia S. Upson
Cynthia Upson, the wife of Don Upson, died Feb. 17 after a battle with lung cancer.

Don Upson is one of the power players in the government IT community, having been the staff director of the former House Government Operations Committee and then Virginia’s first technology secretary. Upson is now president of ICG Government.

Cynthia Upson was a longtime employee, consultant and friend to the Consumer Electronics Association. She joined CEA’s communications department in 1985 and was promoted to vice president in 1991. In 1998, when Don Upson moved to Richmond to serve as the technology secretary, she became a consultant to CEA.

In memory of Cynthia Upson, contributions can be made to the Lung Cancer Alliance. Find a link to the alliance on’s Download at

In memoriam: Tim Sheehan

Tim Sheehan, who most recently was vice president and general manager of Hewlett-Packard’s federal business, passed away in February.

Sheehan served in the Army and was awarded both the Army Commendation and Meritorious Service medals. He was stationed at numerous places in the United States; Okinawa, Japan; and Korea. He served two tours in Korea.

After his military service, Sheehan held several positions at Computer Sciences Corp.

Most recently, he was named vice president and general manager of HP’s Federal Technology Solutions Group.

In his memory, the family suggests donations to the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research or a favorite charity. Find a link to the Jimmy V Foundation, named for college basketball coach Jim Valvano, who led North Carolina State to a national championship in 1983 and died of cancer in 1993. Go to’s Download at
Who you will hear at FOSEAt the annual FOSE trade show March 20-22 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., you can hear these government and industry officials. Find more information at

Tues., March 20
9 a.m.
Mike Lazaridis
President and co-chief
executive officer

Research In Motion

1 p.m.
Gregory Brown
President, networks
and enterprise


Wed., March 21
9 a.m.
Lt. Gen. Robert Elder Jr.
8th Air Force and JFCC-Global Strike and Integration

1 p.m.
Paul Brinkley
Deputy undersecretary of
Defense for business

Defense Department

Thurs., March 22
9 a.m.
Hector Ruiz
Chairman and CEO
Advanced Micro Devices

1 p.m.
Michael Wynne
Air Force

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