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ELC -- Day 1

I'm here in historic Williamsburg, Va., for the Industry Advisory Council's Executive Leadership Conference, one of the big government IT events of the year.

The theme for this year's program is "ELC 2007: Leveraging the perfect storm for government success," and the tracks are focusing on emerging forces, security, human capital and acquisition. From their Web site:


The phrase “perfect storm” refers to a concurrence of events which, if taken individually, would be less disruptive than the result of their chance combination. Though this term is most often used to describe a meteorological event, those involved in the government IT community find ourselves at the vortex of our own perfect storm. Unprecedented change in acquisition, security, the government workforce and breakthrough technologies presents us with mission critical challenges – and extraordinary opportunities.


Through active discussion and interaction, ELC 2007 will examine the components of our perfect storm with a view to finding actionable solutions for constituencies in government and industry. Help us navigate the waters. Participate in the compelling, and controversial, discussions at this year’s ELC.


As you know, I'm fascinated by many of these technologies -- Web 2.0 and the like -- and I think this is an age of disruption. In general, I think people do view that as a positive, understanding that many of government's systems need some disruption. The agenda, however, has a hurricane, perhaps not the best image for a government conference given that the Katrina is still largely viewed as a failure of government. That being said, the conference is going quite well so far.

Some bullet points:


  • The opening speaker was Marcus Peacock, deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. This was a big change for ELC, which has traditionally featured a big name get speaker on the first night. Last year, it was James Carville and Mary Matalin, the political pundit odd couple. Matalin and Carville were interesting, but we hear they were very expensive and, in the end, they didn't really address issues that were core to the ELC audience. Peacock, by contrast, really did a good job of addressing the mostly industry with some government audience.



  • Peacock the blogger...Interestingly enough, Peacock said that he is the government's longest running blog hosted by a political apointee. You can read his blog here .

    Peacock noted that his blog, which is available to the public, is a place where he can speak out on issues to...well, everybody. He speaks to EPA employees, the environmental community -- anybody. Peacock's comments were similar to Jonathan Schwartz, the president and CEO of Sun Microsystems. Schwartz hosts his own blog (read FCW's story about herehere) and during a speech earlier this year, he noted that by blogging, he speaks to Sun employees, Sun shareholders, Sun customers, and even Sun competitors. But they have found it empowering.

    Currently, Peacock's blog does not have a way for people to comment. He said that they are adding that next month. Currently he addresses each question. He doubts that he'll be able to do that once the blog is fully commentable.


  • A Wi-what... One of the questions Peacock was asked was, "Do you have a Wiki?" Peacock responded, honestly, that he isn't even sure what a wiki is. The questioner was Chris Rasmussen, who is here at ELC speaking about the power of Web 2.0 -- and specifically wikis. Rasmussen is part of the team that has created Intelipedia, which is an intell wiki and, by most accounts, has been particularly successful (check out the write-up in wikipedia).

    You can hear Rasmussen for yourself from FCW's Spring CIO Summit here.

    More on this later, but if I know Rasmussen, Peacock knows what a wiki is now!


  • Embracing the storm... Back to Peacock... Peacock really embraced the conference's theme, having moments in his speech where the room was filled with faux thunder and lightening and an assistant came out with increasingly bigger water pistols, literally soaking the EPA deputy. One person noted that it probably wasn't the first time a political appointee was all wet. (Ah, ELC humor!)



  • Karen the baker... Peacock used to work at the Office of Management and Budget on the PART tool -- that's the Program Assessment Rating Tool.


    Peacock joked that Karen Evans, OMB's IT leader, called him and asked him to attend the conference. He joked -- I can only assume he was joking -- that Evans would come into OMB with donuts and that he wanted to stay on Evans good side to keep the donuts coming. We thought he was joking, but we did hear that Evans has brought cookies into the office on certain special occasions. Where does she possibly find the time?

  • Posted on Oct 23, 2007 at 12:17 PM


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