Government Innovation Awards

Congratulations to the 2018 Rising Stars

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Each year, the Rising Star Awards recognize individuals who are early in their federal IT careers yet already are having an outsized impact. The women and men listed below have been selected both for their accomplishments over the past year and for their leadership potential in this community.

FCW has identified and celebrated honor up-and-coming IT talent for more than decade, but this year the Rising Stars are part of our larger Government Innovation Awards program. A joint effort of FCW, GCN, Washington Technology and Defense Systems, these awards also recognize the companies supporting the government’s transformation and the most innovative technology initiatives across the public sector. Those winners were announced today as well -- you can find more information at the links above, or on the Government Innovation Awards website.

We'll be running full profiles of the 2018 Rising Stars this fall, and the winners will be honored in person at the Nov. 8 Government Innovation Awards dinner. Until then, here's a quick salute this year's winners — 20 individuals we're confident you'll be hearing about for years to come:

Combiz Richard Abdolrahimi
Global Emerging Technology & Innovation Strategist, Senior Advisor Manager, Government & Public Services, Deloitte

Qituwra Anderson
Content Designer, 18F, Technology Transformation Services, Federal Acquisition Service, General Services Administration

Jeremiah Burch
Scrum Master, TCG

Capt. Keely J. Carrigan
Operations Flight Commander, 707th Communications Squadron, U.S. Air Force

Michael B. Cox
Data Scientist and Team Lead for Internet of Things, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Senior Airman Christopher R. Deforge
Geospatial Analyst/Full-Motion Video Screener, 45th Intelligence Squadron, U.S. Air Force

Anjelica B. Dortch
Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Federal CIO, Office of Management and Budget

Akoua Enow
Management and Program Analyst, Office of Information Technology, Transportation Security Administration

Benjamin Franich
Business Development Manager, Edgewater Federal Solutions

Ryan Hillard
IT Specialist/Systems Developer, Business Technology Solutions, Office of the CIO, Small Business Administration

Nicholas Holtz
Digital Services Expert, U.S. Digital Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Daisy O. James
Project Manager, Enterprise Services, Office of Information and Technology , Passenger Systems Program Directorate, Customs and Border Protection

Danielle Lauhoff
Project Manager, Telos Corporation

Katherine M. Katina
Business Development Associate, SAIC

Oki Mek
Emerging Technology Strategist, Department of Health and Human Services

Taylor C. Roberts
Cybersecurity Advisor, Office of Management and Budget

Capt. Anthony N. Rodriguez
Aide-de-Camp to the Commander, 24th Air Force, U.S. Air Force

Sunil Sadasivan
Senior Engineering Lead, Nava Public Benefit Corporation

Henry Sowell
Chief Information Officer at Hortonworks Federal and Technical Director, Hortonworks

Drew Zachary
Program Director, Opportunity Project, and Co-Managing Director, Census Open Innovation Labs, Census Bureau, Department of Commerce

About the Author

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.


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