2018 Government Innovation Awards

Rising Star: Ryan Hillard

IT Specialist/Systems Developer, Business Technology Solutions, Office of the CIO,</p>

Ryan Hillard 

The Small Business Administration has a total annual budget of less than $1 billion, which means there usually is not a lot of funding to pursue big, ambitious ideas. And that makes what IT Specialist Ryan Hillard has been able to accomplish all the more impressive.

“Ryan gets the long game and the money piece of it, that we’re not made of money,” SBA CIO Maria Roat said. “You know, $10,000 is a lot for us, so we’re very careful [about what we approve].”

Colleagues describe Hillard’s impact on SBA’s modernization initiatives as transformational. For instance, he played a central role in revamping the SBA.gov website, instituting innovation sprints and spearheading a series of new initiatives, including pilot programs to incorporate small-business loan guidance and SBA resources into popular commercial digital assistants such as Alexa and Cortana.

Hillard also helped develop Lender Match, a free online referral tool that connects small businesses with participating SBA-approved lenders, and he helped curate and grow the Idea Lab, a co-working environment that promotes better collaboration among employees and better cross pollination of ideas.

In addition, he moved SBA’s website into the cloud, which has improved response times and positioned the agency to quickly recover from denial-of-service attacks by publishing replacement versions of the site within 90 seconds.

“That’s the stuff that [outside] people don’t see, but the IT folks in the background go, ‘Oh, that’s sexy!’” Roat said.

About the Author

Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.

Featured

  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

  • Cybersecurity
    Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff)

    Mayorkas announces cyber 'sprints' on ransomware, ICS, workforce

    The Homeland Security secretary announced a series of focused efforts to address issues around ransomware, critical infrastructure and the agency's workforce that will all be launched in the coming weeks.

Stay Connected