2019 Government Innovation Awards

Rising Star: Blake M. Scates

Digital Program Manager, Department of Veterans Affairs

Blake M. Scates 

Blake Scates recently earned the Department of Veterans Affairs’ prestigious ICARE (Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellence) award for making the agency’s websites more accessible to veterans.

It was recognition of his success in eliminating more than 2 million Section 508 accessibility issues on the site and the fact that no matter what he does, his focus is on the veteran.

“Ultimately, I want to show how we’ve made a difference in the lives of the veterans we serve,” Scates said. “And I like to look at each of our small wins as a victory for our veterans.”

In his role as digital program manager, he oversees more than 275 public-facing websites, provides leadership to about 1,000 field-based web content editors, and leads analytics and data visualization for the Veterans Health Administration’s digital portfolio.

Colleagues at VA and other agencies describe Scates as an innovative leader who is resilient and eager to help others meet their own work requirements. He is “someone who has excellent collaboration and people skills,” said Reginald Brown, a deputy associate director at the Office of Personnel Management.

Scates said that although his job has its daily challenges, his approach is to use any problem as an opportunity to “refine and improve the overall process.”

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