Editorial: Seeking the bright lights

This issue of Federal Computer Week honors the 2008 Federal 100 award winners — 100 people who have defined our community in the past year. At the same time, we are announcing a call for nominations for the 2008 Rising Star awards, which recognize the incredible work done by younger people in government and industry helping agencies carry out their missions — the Federal 100 award winners of the future, perhaps.

This program started three years ago when a group of young people — the Young AFCEANs of AFCEA International’s Bethesda, Md., chapter — came to us saying there was a need for this kind of recognition.

We immediately agreed. And in the first two years of the awards program, we have been able to recognize 77 remarkable people doing remarkable work.

Beyond simply honoring individual accomplishments, the goal of the Rising Star awards program is to offer young people some insight into the value and rewards of a career in public service. Too often, government employees are the butt of jokes during political campaigns, an attitude captured perfectly by the horrible but common punch line, “Good enough for government work.” The Rising Star awards show young feds — and people everywhere — the amazing work that is good enough for the government.

The Rising Star program is modeled on FCW’s Federal 100 awards. Much like the Fed 100, the criteria for the Rising Stars are simple. Nominees must be people in the government information technology community who have made a difference in the past 12 months — give or take. We have not put age requirements on the program precisely because we understand and appreciate that the terms “young” and “rising” are defined not by a specific number but rather by an attitude. However, in general, the Fed 100 awards are for those who have risen, while Rising Star awards are for those who are rising — and who typically do not receive recognition elsewhere.

This year, we are expanding the program to two other 1105 Government Information Group publications: Government Computer News and Washington Technology. We refer to this as 360-degree coverage because each publication will highlight the Rising Stars in its coverage area: FCW for policy/management; GCN for technology; and Washington Technology for industry.

If you have a question about someone’s eligibility, go ahead and nominate him or her. Use the nomination form to make the case for why the nominee deserves recognition.

Let the nominations begin. The deadline is Friday, May 2.You can find the form online at www.fcw.com/risingstar
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