2015 Rising Star Awards
Project manager, TCG
- By Aleida Fernandez
- Nov 23, 2015
When TCG Vice President David Cassidy met Alex Lin five years ago, he knew he wanted to make the hire.
"Alex has a certain set of skills and characteristics that are not always easy to find," Cassidy said. "Sometimes you don't know what you're looking for until you have it, and meeting Alex was like that."
Unfortunately, the company "didn't have the ideal position for Alex, but we knew his skills would be helpful on a project we had ongoing," Cassidy said. "So we hired him for that role, in which he excelled, and when a perfect position arose, we transitioned him to that."
Lin had planned to get a Ph.D. in English literature, but he abandoned that academic track after the master's degree stage to pursue technology consulting. The type of big-picture thinking he had learned in his studies, however, stuck with him and has helped him succeed with tough projects.
That broad perspective was especially helpful in 2013 when Lin was assigned to the Office of Government Ethics' Integrity.gov project. The website was part of an effort to fulfill requirements of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, which addresses insider trading by members of Congress and federal employees. The website was a high-risk initiative with difficult demands and strict deadlines, but as project manager, Lin could visualize the outcome of the project without stressing over the ambiguities that popped up throughout the process.
He took a particularly big risk when he convinced officials to build the site using the government-developed MAX.gov platform as a service, instead of going with a popular commercial solution.
Lin's leadership and risk-taking paid off. He and his team generated exponential savings while managing the expectations and requirements of senior executives -- and embracing the principles in the government's Digital Services Playbook.
According to Cassidy, such innovative thinking is the norm for Lin.
"Alex thinks differently, [and] customers get far more from his teams than they would were someone else in charge," Cassidy said.
Aleida Fernandez is an FCW editorial fellow.