Federal 100 Awards
Know someone who deserves a Fed 100? Nominate them today!
Nominations for the 2015 Federal 100 awards are now being accepted, and below you will find both details on deadlines and some advice on what tends to make for a winning nomination. Please make sure we have the best possible pool of nominees, and get started on your submissions today!
The ground rules
First of all, anyone who is part of the federal IT community is eligible for a Federal 100 award. Generally, that means agency employees and members of the federal contracting sector, academics, members of Congress, independent watchdogs and others who've had a real impact in 2014.
Second, anyone can submit a nomination. Floating oneself is a bad idea, and nominations that are clearly and overwhelmingly driven by commercial interests are rarely effective, but a broad pool allows the judges to make the best possible picks.
Third, an individual can win multiple Federal 100 awards over the years, so long as he or she has a new accomplishment that merits the recognition. Eagle award winners, however -- the one government and one private-sector winner selected from each year's Federal 100 as the best of the best -- have their number retired and are not eligible for future Federal 100s.
Nominations must be submitted via the online form on FCW.com. There is no "save this for later" option, so be sure to have the nomination drafted and ready before starting to submit.
Basic contact information for both the nominee and nominators is required, but three short "essay questions" form the heart of the nomination. (This has been streamlined from the five questions we've asked in years past.) Winning nominations tell a compelling story about:
- The person's job, and the work for which he or she is being nominated.
- The impact this work has had, and how the nominee went above and beyond to make a difference.
- If appropriate, any additional background information to support this nomination -- broader work in the community, particular obstacles overcome, etc.
Note that these are not long essay questions -- character-count limits allow roughly 250-300 words for each.
In short, the community nominates, FCW picks the judges, and the judges decide. The timeline, give or take a few days, looks like this:
- Oct. 21: The nomination form is published, and 2015 nominations are accepted.
- Dec. 23: Final deadline for nominations; the form is taken off-line.
- Early January: Judges gather for a daylong selection meeting; 100 winners and a handful of alternates are chosen.
- Late January: Winners are verified, and any questions raised during judging are addressed.
- Jan. 31: Federal 100 winners are announced.
- February/March: Profiles of Federal 100 winners are written; Eagle award judges vote on industry and government winners.
- Mid-March: Federal 100 awards gala.
The Federal 100 judging is a subjective process, one that draws heavily on the expertise of the IT leaders who volunteer their time to read and assess the hundreds of nominations. There are, however, some basic do’s and don'ts:
- Focus on an individual’s accomplishment. This is an All-Star Team, not the Hall of Fame award, so don’t dwell on long and faithful service. Be specific about what the project encompassed and what the person did that was extraordinary.
- It is the accomplishment and not the job title that counts, so describe the person’s contribution and show why the project is important to the community at large.
- We know teams are important, but this is an individual award. Save your team nominations for next year's GCN Awards.
- The Federal 100 award is for work done this year. If the nominee is a previous Federal 100 winner, the accomplishment behind this nomination should be substantially different from the work that was recognized in an earlier year.
- This is not a popularity contest. Nominate people who have had a significant impact, even if they are not universally liked.
- Ask before you add someone’s name as a supporting nominator. Every year we have at least one judge who is stunned to find his or her name on a nomination he or she knew nothing about. It almost never has a positive effect on the discussion.
- If you are nominating an industry person for work done at a government agency, it helps to have government corroboration. If ethical considerations make it difficult to enlist an agency employee as a supporting nominator, try to get third-party substantiation.
Many have asked if FCW could share a "good nomination." Unfortunately for those seeking a case study or recipe, the submitted nominations -- like the judging discussions and even the identities of the nominators -- are treated as confidential.
That does not, however, prevent nominators from sharing their own submissions. And Christopher Dorobek -- former FCW editor-in-chief and a Federal 100 winner himself -- did just that a few years ago. As someone who has covered the community closely and been in the room for multiple Federal 100 judging sessions, Dorobek knows that it takes, so the 2008 nominations he shared (see here, here and here) and his general advice on the Federal 100 are all worth reading.
So there you have it. Now add your own nominations to the mix!
Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN.
Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com 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, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.
Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.
Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.