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IPIC... Climbing the mountain

Dateline: Orlando for the Government Information Technology Executive Council's Information Processing Interagency Conference (IPIC).

The conference started Sunday with a networking session with a room featuring different kinds of outdoor gear – a big bear in one corner and a campfire complete with a tent and makeshift fire in another.

Of course, there was a message. It was part of the conference's theme -- "climbing the mountain."

The conference materials all featured a man climbing a mountain.

Credit for the theme goes to Scott Cragg, who is the vice president of GITEC and chairman of IPIC 2007 and is chief architect of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Craig said the idea came from a photograph that ran in an issue of Sports Illustrated years ago, which showed an ice climber making his way up a frozen waterfall. The person looks like a mere spot on this huge waterfall.

That photograph served as a metaphor for government IT leaders face today, Cragg said. Leaders face a difficult task and they can feel like they are never making progress, yet they also are exhilarated by the tasks ahead of them.

The metaphor worked for Robert Howard, the VA's assistant secretary for OI&T and CIO. He referred to the photo as "the ice guy… That's me, only I'm not climbing."

Howard went on to say, however, that he has his ax lodged firmly and VA is going to make progress.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Mar 07, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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