Meet the 2014 Rising Stars

Rising Star 2013

When high-profile executives leave government or retire from key firms, that gets plenty of press. And similarly, there is a steady drumbeat of warning about the coming tsunami of federal retirements that could drain agencies of critical expertise. 

What does not get enough attention, however, is the next generation of leaders coming up through the ranks. There are great people at all levels in the federal IT community, and much of the good work that's being done can be traced directly to their commitment and creativity.

FCW's Rising Star awards are an opportunity to address that oversight -- to recognize some of those individuals who are early in their careers and who bring amazing energy and ideas to the table. We will profile each of this year's winners in the November/December issue of FCW magazine -- and will thank them in person at the Oct. 14 GCN Gala -- but for now, it is my pleasure to announce the 2014 Rising Stars:

-- Murtaza Ahmed

Senior Program Manager

Lockheed Martin

-- Rebecca S. Ayers

Performance Management Solutions Manager

Office of Personnel Management

-- Kelli Bell

Information Technology Specialist

NAVSEA, NSW, Department of the Navy

-- Brent Bensten

Chief Technology Officer


-- Matthew Berninger

Senior Cyber Incident Response Lead

US-CERT, Department of Homeland Security

-- Damon Bragg

Service Operations Manager, Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN)

Department of Homeland Security

-- Cristen Cole

IT Project Manager and COR, Continuous Diagnostic & Mitigation (CDM) BPA

Federal Systems Integration and Management Center, General Services Administration

-- Shawn Garrow

Division Head, Enterprise Architecture

Department of the Navy

-- Michael Gross

Auditor, Information Technology

Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Service

-- Isaiah Joo

Program Analyst

Office of eDiplomacy, Department of State

-- Emily "Millie" Maksymiuk

Proposal Manager

GovSmart Inc.

-- Nina Malakouti

Supervisory Contract Specialist

General Services Administration

-- Christina Manol

Budget Officer

PEO EIS, Department of the Army

-- Tanusree McCabe

Senior Manager

Blackstone Technology Group

-- Farrell O'Neill

Vice President

RIVA Solutions, Inc.

-- Jon Quandt

Program Planner

Government Printing Office

-- Kent Reynolds



-- Benjamin Rhodeside

Senior Policy Adviser, Oversight and Government Reform

Office of Congressman Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11)

-- Larissa Riviezzo

Assistant Product Manager, Biometrics Handheld Devices

PEO EIS, Department of the Army

-- Megan Schmith

Manager of Platform Strategy and Innovative Solutions

Office of the Chief Information Officer, General Services Administration

-- Zach Scott

Program Analyst

Environmental Protection Agency

-- Ngoc Vu

Assistant Director (Office of Information Technology)

Securities and Exchange Commission

-- Shawn Wells

Director, Innovation Programs, U.S. Public Sector

Red Hat

-- Peter Wilson

Technical Director

ICF International

And for those of you who know more-senior superstars in federal IT, start making your lists! Nominations for the 2015 Federal 100 awards open in October, and I look forward to seeing the submissions. If they're anything like this year's Rising Star nominations, 2015 could be a very good year.

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is the Editor-in-Chief of both FCW and GCN, two of the oldest and most influential publications in public-sector IT. Both publications (originally known as Federal Computer Week and Government Computer News, respectively) are owned by GovExec. Mr. Schneider also serves GovExec's General Manager for Government Technology Brands.

Mr. Schneider previously served as New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company, where he oversaw the online operations of The Atlantic Monthly, National Journal, The Hotline and The Almanac of American Politics, among other publications. The founding editor of, Mr. Schneider also helped launch the political site in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times,, Slate, Politico, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Mr. Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.


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