Croom, Lee, Morea win top honors at Federal 100 awards banquet

Deidre Lee received the first-ever President’s Award for her long career in government, which has affected many facets and missions of federal agencies. In addition, Lt. Gen. Charles Croom and Donna Morea received Eagle Awards at the 2008 Federal 100 Awards banquet held March 24.

The new President’s Award recognizes a person who has made a significant mark on the information technology community throughout a career. Anne Armstrong, 1105 Government Information Group president, said some people’s achievements can’t be summed up in a single year. Although the Federal 100 awards focus on accomplishments in the previous year, 1105 Government Information Group created the President’s Award to honor workers whose contributions go beyond a single year.

Lee has had a 30-year career in government and has worked in numerous departments and agencies, from the Department of Defense to NASA to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“True leaders are beacons no matter what title you hold,” said Steve Perkins, vice president for government affairs at Northrop Grumman.

Accepting the award, Lee first thanked taxpayers, “who have given me a great career.” She has traveled to war zones such as Iraq and faced tough circumstances, such as with FEMA in the after the Hurricane Katrina troubles.

“I hope I have delivered back to you,” she said.

Lee, who is retiring this month, said she’s unsure what she will be doing, but she will continue to work with the federal IT and acquisition communities.

Croom, the Eagle winner from government, is director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and has helped transform the agency in such a way that agencies beyond the Defense Department recognize it. For example, his changes brought DISA a new acquisition philosophy to known as ABC or “adopt, build, create.”

Croom was intent on speeding up the department's acquisition process so it could meet soldiers’ needs as quickly as possible. He called that his No. 1 issue as director.

Introducing Croom as the winner, Dave Wennergren, DOD’s deputy chief information officer, described Croom as “a renaissance kind of guy” for his leadership, business acumen and good heart — “even because we share a passion for good beers.”

The Federal 100 and the Eagle awards focus on individuals’ accomplishments and efforts that go beyond what’s expected, but Croom said he had to accept the Eagle award “on behalf of Team DISA.”

It’s DISA’s staff that is passionate and dedicated, which makes him look good, Croom said after the ceremony.

Eagle winner from industry Donna Morea is president of U.S. operations and India at CGI. Her work at CGI is significant to the IT community, but she does more than that, said Jim Duffey, vice president and general manager at Dell's Public Business Group, who introduced her as a winner.

Morea serves as vice president of the Northern Virginia Technology Council and recently completed her work as chairwoman of the 2007 Kidney Ball, a National Kidney Foundation benefit that raised a record $1.3 million. Morea also serves on the board of directors of Crossway Community, which delivers educational and supportive services to low-income, at-risk families.

“I’m almost speechless,” Morea said accepting the award. “But as many of you know, I’m hardly ever speechless.”

She said she enjoyed working with the IT community, even though her nearly 30 years in the community haven’t been easy or glamorous.

“One thing that has been a constant is the people of this community,” and their professionalism and commitment to government and industry’s collaboration, Morea said.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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