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Deputy Chief of the Spectrum Management Resources and Technologies Division
Federal Communications Commission
Judy Kassakatis has always
been ahead of her time in advancing electronic government at the Federal
Communications Commission. But what sets her apart is a continuing focus
on the customer, said Kimberly Hancher, the FCC’s deputy chief information
officer for e-government. Kassakatis transformed the Universal Licensing
System (ULS), which has been processing wireless service applications
since 1998, to make it more efficient, Hancher said.
“She has the ability to take a concept, create a vision, bring that vision
into reality and then continuously improve on it,” Hancher said. “You
don’t just stop once you deploy a system. In the past year, ULS has had
notable enhancements to make it more customer-centric and more constituent-friendly.”
Vice President of Federal Operations
As vice president of federal
operations at Cisco Systems, Bruce Klein was on the front lines when Hurricane
Katrina disabled 3 million telephone lines, along with cellular sites
and radio stations.
Klein foresaw a need to deploy Cisco teams to restore communications
for first responders as the storm ravaged the Gulf Coast, said Robert
Lloyd, senior vice president of U.S. and Canada sales and marketing at
Klein’s strength is his ability to work with various organizations, especially
during crisis situations, Lloyd said. Coordinating nongovernment organizations
and the National Guard, for example, requires rare fluidity in a leader.
“That’s what it takes to be successful,” he said. “You need to be able
to understand the various ways that these groups respond.”
Program Manager for the 2005
DARPA Grand Challenge
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Ron Kurjanowicz oversaw
the successful design and execution of the 2005 Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency Grand Challenge race held in the Mojave Desert. The race
tests the viability of unmanned ground vehicles powered by robotics and
embedded computer hardware and software.
The Army expects the technologies can help it build the Future Combat
Systems and comply with legislation requiring that one-third of all operational
ground combat vehicles be unmanned by 2015.
Five teams successfully negotiated the 131.6- mile desert course without
any drivers. “By all measures, the race was a huge success [because] Ron
really managed the whole race from February, when it was announced, to
October,” when the Grand Challenge was held, said Alfred Toussaint, manager
of federal initiatives at Intel Americas.
Information Technology Manager
To assist Navy cleanup
efforts after the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, Deborah Kutzleb created
a real-time database to catalog the thousands of wrecks and casualties
along the lower Mississippi River and Gulf Coast.
Capt. James Wilkins, director of the Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and
Diving organizations, said the database identified 3,500 casualties and
wrecks, their location coordinates, technical reports and fiscal documentation.
As technical lead on the project, Kutzleb and her team made the database
as flexible and adaptable as Navy officials needed it to be, he said.
“It was her personal work ethic and integrity — just making sure that
everything was always taken care of right way,” Wilkins said. “She put
in hours and hours and hours to make sure that whatever we needed we got
Biometric Identification System Program Manager
Homeland Security Department
J. Neal Latta led an initiative
to expand the sharing of criminal fingerprint data across agency and international
boundaries, a project with political, technical and budgetary challenges.
Von Jennings, Lockheed Martin’s chief biometrics architect, said Latta’s
technical savvy and good humor were major factors that enabled the U.S.
Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program to deliver what
law enforcement and immigration officers needed.
“Neal used his in-depth understanding of operational needs and technical
complexities, combined with his indefatigable persistence and dedication,
to guide and cajole the team to a successful, on-time and on-budget conclusion,”
Department of Health and Human Services
Mike Leavitt used the bully
pulpit of his office to urge the creation of a nationwide electronic health
records system, and he made hurricane battered Louisiana a test bed for
developing such a system.
Scott Wallace, president and chief executive officer of the National
Alliance for Health Information Technology, said the fact that Leavitt
has “taken a personal interest in health information technology helps
define the national agenda.”
Leavitt also spearheaded federal, state and local efforts
to prepare for a possible pandemic flu outbreak. He took his cues from
a doctor in his hometown of Cedar City, Utah, who battled the 1918 influenza
outbreak. A local newspaper described that pandemic as worse than bullets.
Headquarters Program Executive
John Lee used his technical
knowledge and political savvy to develop a policy that will guide federal
agencies’ transition to IPv6 by June 2008.
He also devised a process for applying the policy in ways that will help
create a market for IPv6 products and services and make optimal use of
the protocol’s capabilities.
Glenn Schlarman, information policy branch chief of information and regulatory
affairs at the Office of Management and Budget, said he was impressed
with Lee’s important policy contributions and his methods for accomplishing
“He is just a terrific guy to work with,” Schlarman said. “He knew how
to solve the problem and get people to recognize that there is a problem
that needed solving.”
Bruce Leinster’s business
cards identify him as a consultant for IBM. But he often speaks on behalf
of the information technology industry as a whole.
In 2005, he focused on getting policy-makers to understand the value
of time-and-materials contracting for the federal government.
“When it comes to understanding how the government can move its way into
a commercial marketplace and acquire products and solutions in a commercial
way, he’s about as articulate and knowledgeable as anyone out there,”
said Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council.
Time-and-materials contracting is a complex topic. “It requires somebody
with a detailed understanding of the regulations and also who can translate
them into layman’s terms,” said Trey Hodgkins, director of defense programs
at the IT Association of America.
Senior Information Assurance Manager
Ray Letteer has been instrumental
in moving the Marine Corps and Navy closer to implementing new information
assurance training standards outlined by the Defense Department.
Letteer organized the purchase of a Web-based tool that will revolutionize
the preparation, submission and maintenance of security certification
documents throughout the Marine Corps.
He also validated the enterprise configuration and security status of
applications and systems in the Marine Corps infrastructure.
“Ray has been a dynamic leader in the information assurance workforce
transformation, guiding the Navy and Marine Corps to set high training
standards,” said Sandra Smith, the Navy’s information management/information
technology workforce manager.
David P. Lewis
Senior Policy Adviser for Information Sharing
When Attorney General Alberto
Gonzales heard the idea to create a National Sex Offender Public Registry,
which would be a federal system to link states’ public registries of sex
offenders, he asked David Lewis for a working prototype in five days.
Lewis delivered it in four.
Next, Gonzales wanted a publicly accessible online registry connecting
20 states to be delivered in 60 days. Sixty days later, he got 21 states,
plus the District of Columbia, all for less than $1 million.
By the end of 2005, the sex offender registry had received more than
200 million hits, said Paul Wormeli, executive director of the Integrate
Justice Information Systems Institute. “The system was clearly important
to the people of America,” he said.
G. “Jerry” Lohfink
Director of the National Finance Center
More than 500,000 federal
workers can thank Jerry Lohfink for not letting Hurricane Katrina wipe
out their paychecks.
When Katrina was barreling toward New Orleans Aug. 26, Lohfink moved
the National Finance Center’s operations to Philadelphia. He worked nonstop
for two days overseeing an emergency relocation plan and safely moved
all his employees.
Lohfink’s quick thinking saved the center’s data and kept the government
operating after the storm. Not a single paycheck was delayed. While rebuilding
the center after the storm, Lohfink never forgot that his employees had
lost homes and relatives, said Gil Hawk, its chief information officer.
Enterprise Information Technology
Vicki Lord upgraded the
Transportation Department’s information technology security, taking something
that was an embarrassment and making it a point of pride for the department.
After that upgrade, DOT’s Federal Information Security anagement Act compliance
grade went from a D-plus in 2004 to an A-minus in 2005.
Lord coordinated system testing, employee coaching and network vulnerability
assessments throughout the department. Darren Ash, her supervisor before
she retired last June, said Lord put together a full briefing package
for other interested federal agencies.
“What was neat about it was that when we got the A-minus, we ended up
getting a lot of inquiries from other agencies,” said Ash, DOT’s associate
chief information officer for IT investment management.
Sam Maccherola led Tenix
Datagate to the highest government security rating possible for the company’s
Interactive Link technology. That achievement is doubly impressive because
Tenix Datagate’s parent company is Australian, said Art Money, a former
assistant secretary at the Defense Department.
Maccherola created a ripple effect in earning an Evaluation Assurance
Level 7 under the Common Criteria for its data link technology. Combat
troops in Afghanistan and Iraq can use it to disseminate critical battlefield
The technology lets civilian agencies gain secure access to data on
classified and unclassified networks from a single workstation.
Program Manager for Agency Partnerships
Partnership for Public Service
Katie Malague can add Ms.
Fix It to her résumé.
Last year, she managed the Extreme Hiring Makeover for the Partnership
for Public Service, a nonprofit organization that promotes public service
employment through partnerships with government agencies.
Malague successfully coordinated the 10-month hiring experiment that
proved it is possible to hire a qualified federal employee in 22 days.
For the makeover, three federal agencies used commercial software to streamline
bureaucratic hiring procedures.
The project required coordinating the hiring activities of the agencies
and a large number of human resources companies. “Katie is a Power- Point
and spreadsheet guru, and she used these technical skills to great advantage
to track, organize and communicate effectively through the entire process,”
said John Palguta, the organization’s vice president of policy.
Chief Executive Officer
eHealth Initiative and Foundation
Janet Marchibroda helped
to create KatrinaHealth.org,
an online service that provides prescription information for people displaced
by Hurricane Katrina.
Marchibroda had Louisiana on her mind before Hurricane Katrina made
it the focus of national attention. Marchibroda had been talking to Louisiana
officials, encouraging them to use health information technology. She
regularly advocates health IT as chief executive officer of the nonprofit
eHealth Initiative and Foundation.
“She has a remarkable ability to come into a room and get everyone engaged
and involved,” said John Tooker, president of the foundation’s board.
But Marchibroda’s exhortations took on new significance following the
Katrina disaster in which evacuees, dispersed to various parts of the
country, needed to gain access to their medical records.
Earl D. Matthews
Director of Communications and Information
Air Mobility Command
When Earl Matthews became
director of communications and chief information officer at the Air Mobility
Command in 2004, the Global Decision Support System II was six months
He took control of the program, and by early 2005, the Air Force was
ready to introduce the system.
The military now has a reliable decisionsupport system for coordinating
transport aircraft, which help move 600,000 tons of cargo and 1.4 million
“His personal drive and leadership led to the implementation of the most
complex command and control effort in a decade,” said Lt. Gen. Christopher
Kelly, vice commander of the Air Mobility Command.
Deputy Project Manager
Program Executive Office
for Enterprise Information Systems
Department of the Army
Peter McCabe viewed revamping
the Pentagon’s information technology infrastructure as not only an IT
challenge but also a cultural one.
His success at modernizing that infrastructure significantly improved
the decision-making of the Defense Department’s senior leaders, the Joint
Staff and the military services.
The project’s results are a testament to his organizational and people
skills and his technical expertise.
“Pete has been the glue in all of this,” said Sajeel Ahmed, director
of IT for the Pentagon Renovation Program.
Chief Technology Officer
David McQueeney helped
employees working on the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System
program get online in less than a week after hurricanes Katrina and Rita
hit the Gulf Coast. That feat included moving 280 people, their files
and their PCs, plus more than $3 million in equipment.
McQueeny also helped design and establish service-oriented and open architecture
initiatives for the Air Force and the Navy.
McQueeney understands that technology is a means to an end. “He is committed
and willing to take risks to deliver on the vision of technology improving
our lives and government delivery,” said Joi Grieg, strategy manager for
the Software Group at IBM.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Peter Mell created a National
Vulnerability Database of all known cyber vulnerabilities.
Compiled for publicly available sources, the Web-accessible database
integrated four separate cyber vulnerability databases and added new services
and additional cybersecurity information. In 2005, he analyzed about 5,000
vulnerabilities. Then he designed and coded the database and released
it two months ahead of schedule.
“Peter is a man of action determined to get the job done regardless of
even daunting obstacles,” said Tim Grance, manager of the systems and
network security group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
“This project would normally take several years and involve a team of
at least six personnel,” Grance said. “Peter did it in eight months.”
Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center–New Orleans
Capt. Fred Mingo kept paychecks
coming for Navy employees servicewide, despite the devastation that Hurricane
Katrina left behind in the Gulf region.
Two days before the hurricane hit, Mingo activated the center’s continuity
of operations plan, transferring activities to a secondary data center
in Fort Worth, Texas. Support employees at the temporary site handled
14,000 service requests, fielded 4,500 phone calls and sent more than
2,500 faxes. Navy employees continued to receive their pay and benefits
on time, and the service didn’t lose any of its data.
“Capt. Mingo has shown exemplary leadership and commitment to people
and mission in the preparation [for] and superb response to Hurricane
Katrina,” said David Wennergren, the Navy’s chief information officer.
Deputy Director of US-VISIT
Homeland Security Department
Robert Mocny rolled out
multiple phases of the Homeland Security Department’s U.S. Visitor and
Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US VISIT) program on time and on
He created a new interoperability plan for the Homeland Security, State
and Justice departments’ fingerprint systems. He also led the development
of a 21st-century immigration and border management plan. His leadership
inspired Great Britain, the European Union and Japan to create systems
similar to US-VISIT.
Mocny knew what he wanted out of the program from the start and was the
first to understand that international cooperation would be crucial to
its success, said Frank Paul, director of large-scale information technology
systems for the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Justice,
Freedom and Security.
Chief Financial Officer
Samuel Mok spent last year
lecturing the federal government on how interoperable information technology
systems are the foundation of effective financial management.
His statements have credibility because the Labor Department, where he
is the chief financial officer, consistently attains green scores for
financial management, one of five measures of good management highlighted
in the President’s Management Agenda.
Mok is one of Deloitte’s most challenging clients because he raises the
bar, said Ira Goldstein, federal marketplace director at Deloitte.
Mok doesn’t worry that he is a challenging customer. “He seems to view
that as part of his public service responsibility,” Goldstein said.
Internet Web Services Project Officer
West Virginia Operations System Center
Lt. Joe Morgan used case
management software to help save many victims in the aftermath of Hurricane
In 24 hours, he set up a missing persons database within an existing
Coast Guard Web portal. Anyone who wanted to check on stranded hurricane
evacuees could submit an online missing/stranded persons report. The Coast
Guard eventually rescued 33,545 people.
“They monitored the system as people were entering it to make sure it
could keep up with demands, [and then] they exported the information to
the Red Cross’ database,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ron Riedinger, assistant division
chief of Operations IV at the center.
Deputy Director of Business Transformation
Lora Muchmore made the
Defense Department’s new Business Enterprise Architecture 3.0 simple and
BEA 3.0 explains how DOD will now modernize its business processes and
systems so that they produce clean audits and better support for warfighters.
As the deputy director of business transformation at the Office of the
Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Installations and Environment, Muchmore
created DOD’s first enterprise architecture that focuses on specific business
“She gave the team confidence that the project could in fact be accomplished,
which in many cases reversed their beliefs,” said Dana Smith, the office’s
Director of the National Intelligence Open
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
When his position was established
last November, Doug Naquin declared that all media will soon be digital,
so “let’s digitize everything.”
That approach sharply cut the cost of operating a primary and historic
source of open information, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service,
established in 1941.
Naquin established a global wide-area network to collect foreign radio
and TV broadcasts and shipped them to translators who required only an
Internet connection to do their jobs. The network eliminated the cost
of posting translators and analysts abroad.
The center’s internal Web site offers access to blogs worldwide. Naquin
views those as valuable resources, particularly because blog buzz can
be days or weeks ahead of traditional media.
Scott Air Force Base
Department of the Air Force
James Neighbors established
the Air Force’s lead office for Coalition and Secure Networking Integration,
which was necessary to focus on developing policies and solutions for
sharing data among U.S. and international forces.
It was not an easy assignment, but Neighbors had the office ready in
just three months. He also led the development of the Air Force NetOps
domain architecture, a critical enabler of the service’s enterprise network.
“It’s a very complex task, and we didn’t even have the notion of trying
to put this together until he came along,” said Col. Robert Steele, commander
of the Air Force Communications Agency. “He was the catalyst.”
Kimberly P. Nelson
Senior Policy Analyst
Office of Management and Budget
Kimberly Nelson went on
an archeological dig to draft the Office of Management and Budget’s new
search policy, “Improving Public Access to and Dissemination of Government
Information.” It outlines how agencies can use search technologies to
improve information dissemination and interagency data sharing. It was
implemented in December 2005.
Nelson had to do much searching to write the policy. “Some people think
OMB has all the answers,” said Glenn Schlarman, her supervisor and chief
of OMB’s Information Policy and Technology Branch. Answers are not lying
on the table, he said. “You have to dig for them and base them upon sound,
enduring principles,” as Nelson did.
Federal Sales Manager
When the General Services
Administration needed a new search engine for its FirstGov Web portal,
it selected Vivísimo and Microsoft’s MSN Search.
“Jim [Orris] was persistent in showing GSA how Vivísimo’s vision for
government search portals would fit within GSA’s unique circumstances,
vision and budget constraints,” said Raul Valdes-Perez, the company’s
chief executive officer and co-founder.
FirstGov now clusters search results into groups of related hits rather
than displaying a list of random links. “The first launch of FirstGov
was just that — phase one,” Valdes-Perez said. “Check out FirstGov in
a month and a half.”
Director of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team’s Strategic Operations
Robert Pate has worked
tirelessly behind the scenes to help federal agencies wage war against
He led efforts to develop metrics that allow agencies to compare their
incident response capabilities with the best response teams. He also created
the GFirst program to help first responders share best practices.
Pate initiated a secure configuration project to enable agencies to find
and fix security holes in commercial software. Now he leads a governmentwide
deployment of a patented National Security Agency technology, which is
designed to discover rogue computers the moment they connect to agency
“Rob is emblematic of federal executives who make important advances
in information security management without seeking the limelight,” said
Alan Paller, research director at the SANS Institute.
Deputy Director for Information Management and Chief Information Officer
Defense Intelligence Agency
Michael Pflueger’s foresight
has put the Defense Intelligence Agency ahead of most other government
agencies in its ability to share information.
The data-sharing problem captured everyone’s attention after the 2001
terrorist attacks, said Edward Hammersla, chief operating officer at Trusted
Computer Solutions. Pflueger had solved the problem well before that event
with the DOD Intelligence Information System Trusted Workstation program.
“He first discovered the technology and applied it for the Defense Department’s
Pacific Command,” Hammersla said. Pflueger has the ability to separate
the possible from the merely theoretical, then he marries executive and
leadership skills to get things done, he added.
Vice President of Operations
Science Applications International Corp.
William Piatt took charge
of restructuring the Industry Advisory Council’s Shared Interest Groups
in 2005. After meeting with key stakeholders, he formed an executive advisory
panel to address concerns about some of the groups’ relevance.
In 2005, Piatt was vice chairman of the SIGs. He has since become IAC’s
executive vice chairman. Piatt created three new SIGs and restructured
three others, devoting time and effort beyond that expected by most volunteer
organizations, said Ellen Glover, IAC’s chairwoman.
Piatt has balanced views, which makes him an effective IAC leader, said
Marty Wagner, acting commissioner of the General Services Administration’s
Federal Acquisition Service.
“Bill’s got an advantage in that he’s worked for the federal government
in several capacities.”
Chief of the Practitioner Data Banks Branch
Department of Health and Human Services
Mark Pincus needed to figure
out how to sell adverse information about health practitioners to the
health care industry. When Pincus took over as leader of the fee-for-query
Practitioner Data Banks Branch at the Department of Health and Human Services,
he did not continue business as usual.
He created a new business model in which subscribers automatically receive
updated information each time the branch learns about bad doctors, rather
than making subscribers wait for infrequent updates.
Pincus turned the fee-for-service business around in less than a year
because of his intelligence and persistence, said Frank Shartle, a project
manager at SRA International. “The fact that he’s only been in a management
position for a year makes this all the more remarkable,” Shartle said.
Deputy Director of Human Resources
Line of Business
Office of Personnel Management
Jeff Pon helped lead five
e-government initiatives and the Human Resources Line of Business at the
Office of Personnel Management. One of the five, e-training, can help
federal agencies lower training costs.
Pon is credited with motivating change governmentwide in support of the
e-training initiative. Among his accomplishments, he created the Learning
and Development Advisory Council in which representatives from the largest
federal agencies share best practices and lessons learned about e-learning.
Catherine Poole led an
effort to analyze and report on rapidly changing emergency contracting
authorities created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
She wrote an advisory for contractors, issued updates to it and developed
content for an emergency contracting Web site hosted by Acquisition Solutions,
where Poole is a principal.
Poole rose above narrow commercial interests and provided a broadly needed
service, said Steve Kelman, a Federal Computer Week columnist and a professor
of public management at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
“She didn’t have to do it so fast, and she didn’t have to do it so well,”
Kelman said. “I don’t think any of it benefited her firm directly, except
insofar as it displays Acquisition Solutions as a firm with a lot of knowledge
Chief Technology Officer
Jim Preissner oversaw the
restoration of the Agriculture Department’s National Finance Center in
New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit.
The USDA quickly moved the center’s operations from New Orleans to a
backup site in Philadelphia, but a contract with SunGard allowed only
42 days of backup operations immediately after a disaster.
Preissner and Vion, a small, veteran-owned systems integrator, had earlier
submitted a proposal for a dual data center. USDA officials called on
Vion to quickly establish a new site in Philadelphia to which the agency
could move its operations.
James Obendorfer, an IBM consultant, said Preissner’s around-the-clock
work and willingness to start ordering equipment even though no contract
had been signed helped make the emergency effort successful.
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In this issue: Tony Scott's busy year ahead, Rising Star profiles and more.
See the latest issue
The Obama administration's proposed Cybersecurity National Action Plan for FY2017 includes $3.1B for IT modernization and a new federal chief information security officer.
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Steve Kelman applauds ASI Government for sharing valuable knowledge -- and notes that there are still plenty of other questions to answer.
In an op-ed for Business Insider, the GOP presidential candidate called for "the federal government must put its own house in order, prioritizing to reflect the urgency and importance of protecting key databases and communications."
"Convenience and accessibility has been prioritized over critical security practices," at OPM, according to a Dec. 23 alert distributed to cleared contractors by the Defense Security Service on behalf of DHS and the FBI.
The federal IT community truly is just that. Steve Kelman, Bill Arzt and Chris Dorobek remind us how much that can matter.
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