Ronen's next act

Joiwind Ronen confirmed last week that she has resigned as executive director of the American Council on Technology (ACT) and the Industry Advisory Council (IAC). Ronen, who has served in that post since May 2003, will step down next year following a transition period.

Sources said she informed board members of the two organizations in a conference call Dec. 1. Her formal announcement came the following day.

During the call, Ronen said she wanted to leave to spend time on other causes. Prior to her career in government information technology, she worked on advocacy issues in the areas of international development, American Indians' rights, and youth and social issues. Ronen said she would return to the social rights advocacy field after taking time to focus on her family.

Board members are expected to start searching for her replacement immediately.

"It has been an honor to serve the membership and to have led ACT and IAC through a transformational period. ... ACT and IAC have become recognized as the premier organization in leading the IT community to improve government," Ronen said in a statement.

"Under her leadership our membership has been more active, and we have come together to create a strategic vision for the future," said Barry West, president of ACT. "We wish her much success in her next endeavors."

"Joiwind has brought creativity, enthusiasm and solid nonprofit experience to IAC. ... She has helped us build the right team, the right systems and the right approach to member services, which has enabled us to grow and achieve considerable success during her tenure," said Bob Woods, IAC's chairman.

Ronen sought to expand ACT programs and reposition the groups during her tenure.

ACT drew membership primarily from government, academia and nonprofit groups. In 1989, ACT officials created IAC, whose members come from industry, to improve communications between the public and private sectors.

An uneasy truce has existed between the organizations since the mid-1990s, when the two groups battled for prominence. Ronen's agenda was to put ACT in the lead position. But industry participants emphasized that the majority of membership dues came from the industry side.

Cooper is in

The ongoing rumors that Homeland Security Department chief information officer Steve Cooper is looking for a new job are just that — rumors, he said.

"At the moment, my plans are to get my job done to the best of my ability," he said in an interview with Federal Computer Week.

Meanwhile, Cooper said he spoke with DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, who announced last week that he is leaving his post. "We were reminiscing a bit because he brought me into the White House when I served as special assistant to the president ... We were kind of reminiscing a bit about the good old days," Cooper said.

Vancouver procurement meeting a success

A gathering of procurement officials from North and South America and the Caribbean was a success and will lead to similar meetings, said David Drabkin, deputy chief acquisition officer at the General Services Administration.

Officials from the governments of Canada, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Paraguay and Mexico joined GSA officials in Vancouver, British Columbia, to discuss procurement issues that they have in common and share best practices and experiences, Drabkin said.

Officials from Chile "made a presentation of their e-procurement system, and it was marvelous," he said. "A number of the Latin American countries are ahead of us, [although] I don't know if their e-procurement system is scalable to what we do. Our needs are 100 times what theirs are."

Another meeting will take place in May 2005, probably in coordination with the GSA Expo event in San Diego, he said. Until then, officials from the countries involved plan to develop a common Web site where they can post and access one another's information.

"Everybody was going back to check with their respective government authorities to see how far they could go," he said. "Even though this is unofficial, the realities are that we all have to check with our bosses."

What's old that's new?

Officials at the National Archives and Records Administration building in Washington, D.C., want to make sure people remember the past using today's technology.

A Public Vaults exhibit at the National Archives includes more than 1,000 items, including the photo here of Elvis visiting President Nixon in the Oval Office. The exhibit also includes 25 computer workstations and 47 interactive screens. Visitors can navigate through historical stories using plasma screens, sound recordings and video stations.

The new arrangement livens up previous exhibits. In the past, "you would've walked in, seen the Declaration of Independence and had little more than a religious experience," U.S. Archivist John Carlin said. But that's hardly the case today.

More than half of the documents have never been on display. Project designer Patrick Gallagher said technology has brought interaction to the agency, thus increasing scholarship.

"Technology gives us the next layering that everyone is looking for in museums today," he said. "You had very traditional tools, very static tools, articles, graphics. ... This allows for a much more fluid interaction."

The best and brightest

Members of IAC's eGovernment Special Interest Group are calling for nominations for the fifth annual Excellence.Gov awards. Building on the theme of results-oriented e-government, this year's awards recognize best practices in outreach initiatives and adoption of federal e-government projects.

Successful adoption denotes programs that demonstrate high customer satisfaction, strong market segment penetration, broad stakeholder acceptance and improved program utilization over time. Judges will focus on projects that made a clear difference for their intended audience.

Nominations will be accepted through Dec. 17. Find a link to the nominations form on the Download's Data Call at

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