Play ball!

Rodney Hunt started an 8(a) company that became a success and graduated to a full-blown, well-situated company in the technology world that has plenty of government business. What could possibly be next? The World Series?

Hunt, president and founder of RS Information Systems, is part of an investor group trying to buy the Washington Nationals in an effort to make his baseball dream come true.

For folks who don't follow the company, its revenue in fiscal 2004 was $320 million, and it is the 36th largest federal IT contractor in the United States. No strikes there.

Say cheese, fromage, queso...

Travelers from 27 countries participating in the State Department's Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must now have digital photos printed on a page in their passports to enter the United States, the Homeland Security Department said.

The requirement kicked in Oct. 26, but valid passports issued before then are still acceptable as long as they are machine-readable. Travelers with new passports lacking a digital photo must get a visa.

The photos improve security because they are harder to counterfeit, DHS officials said. They are a biometric identifier, something required by the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002.

Most VWP countries already use digital photos, but DHS expects Austria, France and Italy to miss the deadline because they lack sufficient digital photo production facilities. DHS advised those countries' residents to get visas before traveling to the United States.

Chocolate kisses

This year's Executive Leadership Conference, taking place this week, plans to mix fun and work in one fell swoop in Hershey, Pa., home of Hershey's Kisses and chocolate bars.

The speakers this year include Scott Adams, creator of the cartoon "Dilbert," and Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Others slated to speak include Comptroller General David Walker, Transportation Department Secretary Norman Mineta and Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget.

The conference will have several top-notch speakers discussing subjects such as "Integrated Cyber and Physical Security: A Lesson from the Super Bowl."

Get that chocolate bar when you check in because next year's conference is moving to Williamsburg, Va., and we can't figure out what the hotel will give guests -- a copy of the Virginia Bill of Rights, perhaps?

A win for Joe

Joe Leo, former chief information officer at the Agriculture Department and now a vice president at Science Applications International Corp., has won the Electronic Funds Transfer Association's 2005 EBT Pioneer Award for his innovative work with electronic benefits transfer (EBT) systems. The award recognizes Leo's "distinguished service over a long and successful career and the leadership [he] provided in making EBT a nationwide reality."

Leo was one of the founders of EBT systems in the federal government. Participants of federal programs such as food stamps use the debit cards to receive benefits.

In remembrance: James Hood

James Hood, director of the central zone of the Federal Information Systems Support Program, once part of General Services Administration, died Oct. 20. He was 69.

"I worked for him for 20 years, and he was one of the finest, loyal people with integrity," said Ginny McCormack, a close friend and co-worker at the GSA facility in Atlanta. "Never did you hear people say anything about the program in Atlanta. We were the epitome of the way it should be done."

After Hood retired, he fulfilled a lifetime dream of playing golf at the St. Andrews Links in Scotland, she said.

Nominate your best

The Industry Advisory Council's eGovernment Shared Interest Group is seeking nominations for its annual Excellence.Gov Awards.

This year's theme is information sharing. Nominees must be federal government or agency-led programs that work in partnership with state and local governments. Judges from government and industry will assess initiatives based on the degree of collaboration across organizations, their success in helping agencies achieve their missions, and the incorporation of security and privacy safeguards.

Got a tip? Send it to [email protected].


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