2016 President's Award

Renato 'Renny' DiPentima

Renato "Renny" DiPentima has won most of the awards the federal IT marketplace offers -- including five Federal 100 awards, FCW's Eagle award in 2003, ACT-IAC's Janice Mendenhall Spirit of Leadership Award and two Presidential Rank Awards. But this year's President's Award recognizes another accomplishment that is arguably even more significant: his career-long commitment to mentoring young and midcareer government executives and those who are transitioning to industry.

DiPentima spent his entire government career of more than 30 years at the Social Security Administration, where he rose from a GS-5 claims examiner to become the deputy commissioner for systems and the agency's first CIO. He managed the transition from a paper-based approach to handling claims to an online system that processes millions of transactions each day. Along the way, he learned some important lessons about managing expectations in Congress and getting buy-in from his SSA team.

The lessons of inclusion and buy-in that shaped the revamping of SSA systems also governed DiPentima's time at SRA International (now part of CSRA). Like most companies in the systems integrator community, SRA hired smart executives from government -- but rarely for a specific job. Instead, new recruits spent time in the finance department to learn how the company made its money and then, not unlike a medical internship, rotated to other departments to learn about the different parts of the company's business. At that point, each executive would devise a role in which he or she could create new value for the company.

During his 13 years at SRA, DiPentima mentored a wave of executives who still play an important role in the community today. And he continues to serve as counselor through his involvement with multiple companies' boards.

Mary Ellen Condon, who joined SRA from the Justice Department in 1999, said DiPentima was special because he listened. "He didn't think he had all the answers," she said. "He let people play to their own strengths."

She wanted to create a security practice, but at the time, DiPentima said there was no future in security -- a declaration about which all involved still chuckle. He did change his mind, however, and Condon built a security practice.

Ed Meagher, another government recruit, said, "Renny has such a deft touch to mentoring.... He has given an untold number of transitioning executives a safe harbor to ask the dumb questions and to explore the available possibilities. His advice comes in the form of subtle questions, gentle suggestions and constant encouragement. I owe Renny more than I can ever repay, so I just try to emulate him and pay it forward."

Kay Kapoor, president of AT&T Global Business Public Sector Solutions, never worked for DiPentima but took a class he taught at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. "Renny has always been generous with his wisdom, insights and ideas -- not only to me but to so many people in the government/contracting industry," she said. "I owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his guidance and friendship, which I treasure."

About the Author

Anne Armstrong is President & Chief Content Officer of 1105 Public Sector Media Group.

 

 


Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.