Partners program offers perspective

IAC Partners Program

The Industry Advisory Council will convene two classes of its government/industry executive development program for the first time next month.

The 6-year-old IAC Partners Program gives federal and industry information technology executives a chance to learn the ins and outs of how their counterparts do business. It is open to senior-level executives who are nominated by their supervisors to take part in the program.

This year, the program will include two "teams" of 16 people each, instead of the usual single group because of the large number of applications received. Each team will consist of eight federal and eight industry participants who will be paired up for the duration of the program, which lasts from Feb. 12 to Oct. 15.

As part of the agenda, the participants organize monthly breakfasts that feature speakers from government, industry, academia and Congress. This exposure is important, but so is the exchange of ideas that one-on-one contact provides, said Michael Sade, co-chairman of the IAC program and procurement executive at the Commerce Department.

"It is a really safe environment for industry and government to communicate about significant issues facing our environment, particularly the [IT] environment," Sade said. Some of the issues discussed could include industry marketing strategies and how the government budget and planning pro.cess works.

Cooperation is more important than ever, said Alan Balutis, executive director of the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils and IAC. "The need to work to understand one another and work positively with one another probably never has been more important and pressing," he said, given the numerous e-government initiatives that require involvement and buy-in from government and industry.

Word of mouth has increased the number of applications this year to more than 50, said Leslie Barry, co-chairwoman of the IAC program and a director of business development at Computer Sciences Corp. "Our strongest advocates are past partners," she said, adding that IAC is considering expanding the program outside the Washington, D.C., area.

The cost for the program is $2,195 for government participants and $2,495 for industry participants.

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