Curt Kolcun, a vice president of Microsoft’s federal division, became the go-to guy in 2007 for United Services Organizations of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., a nonprofit troop morale-boosting group.
“I’ll say we have a need for something, and [he says,] ‘I’m on that,’ ” said Elaine Rogers, USOMetro president.
Some of Kolcun’s efforts were distributing portable music players to troops and upgrading the software and hardware in a USO-run computer room at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. “That USO location is extremely important to us,” Rogers said.
Kolcun also spearheaded “Salute to Our Troops,” a private performance of the New York City Rockettes staged for U.S. troops. Microsoft purchased an entire Rockettes performance Nov.
12 on behalf of the USO.
“This whole event spiraled, and this was Curt personally doing it. It was his idea, totally,” Rogers said.
Peter Korn understands how information technology can affect everyday lives.
As accessibility architect for Sun Microsystems, Korn led efforts to bridge the digital divide for employees with disabilities.
Rex Lint, accessibility consultant and IT accessibility spokesman for the Information Technology Association of America, said Korn worked to create interoperability standards for assistive technology. Korn proposed standardized application programming interfaces (APIs) so that whenever new versions of the Windows or Linux operating systems come out, assistive technology would continue working. Korn also created incentives for companies to use those APIs.
When it comes to vaccine distribution, Kimberly Lane, senior public health adviser at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases, appreciates the importance of good logistics.
As executive sponsor of the Vaccine Management Business Improvement Project (VMBIP), Lane helped CDC re-engineer how it manages and distributes supplies so it can respond to a public health emergency.
“Through Kim Lane’s vision and leadership, the VMBIP project has engaged over 70 staff from federal and state immunization programs to work on various components of the initiative,” said Rear Adm. Dr. Mitchell Cohen, director of the Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases.
James Leto, chief executive officer at GTSI, gave the federal information technology market a good lesson last year in how to turn a business around.
When GTSI appointed Leto as chief executive officer in 2006, it was not the best of times for the venerable reseller. Layoffs had sapped morale, creditors were losing patience, and the company faced the prospect of losing its NASDAQ listing.
By the third quarter of 2007, the company once again was profitable, based in part on a significant shift in business from product pitches to professional services. GTSI officials also point to a happier and more stable workforce.
The company’s recovery “was very difficult, if not impossible to do,” said Olga Grkavac, executive vice president at the Information Technology Association of America. “It will be a business case study, for sure.”
Nancy Leveson, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has used her research and training to help NASA and the Defense Department learn new ways to mitigate design flaws when building and deploying systems that put property or lives at risk.
Leveson developed a hazard-analysis technique that helps engineers sort through numerous potential risks that include software, hardware, human operators, and organization or cultural factors.
“She’s probably the foremost researcher into systems-safety techniques for systems that contain software, which is about everything we build today,” said Grady Lee, president of Safeware Engineering.
The company uses safety analysis applications derived from Leveson’s research.
Peter Levine, general counsel for the Senate Armed Services Committee, was the architect of procurement reforms in the fiscal 2009 Defense Authorization bill, which the president signed into law.
“He is one of the most knowledgeable staff members on procurement issues,” said Olga Grkavac, executive vice president of the Information Technology Association of America. Lawmakers and staff in the House and Senate defer to his expertise when dealing with acquisition-related proposals.
Levine has a profound effect on contractors and government every year, and last year, he was responsible for most of the far-reaching provisions that Congress enacted.
Ryan Loving, operations manager of the Army’s Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) organization at Fort Detrick, Md., led an all-out effort to ensure that military units in Iraq and elsewhere in Southwest Asia had the latest technology for managing medical care.
Loving completed the mission of equipping key medical treatment facilities in Southwest Asia with MC4 systems, including the Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad, Iraq. Loving outfitted that hospital with 200 laptop PCs, handheld devices, servers and printers. He also spent time showing many physicians and commanders how to take full advantage of MC4 technology.
“Ryan is an outstanding leader,” said Army Lt. Col. Edward Clayson, MC4 commander. “He led the charge with his project management skills and great attitude.”
Diann McCoy, a component acquisition executive at the Defense Information Systems Agency, had to roll up her sleeves and get to work last year.
She oversaw and managed the agency’s $3 billion information technology acquisition program to support the Defense Department’s network-centric vision. And she set up the organizational structure and procedures for overseeing more than 256 major IT programs.
McCoy provided essential leadership for two mission-critical programs: a net-enabled command- and-control system that supports all services and agencies and a net-centric enterprise services program that will serve as a foundation for other business and support systems.
“Ms. McCoy’s strong leadership and her ability to team and partner allowed us to move our large acquisitions programs faster,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Croom.
McGrath, principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for business transformation, has been a quiet but effective champion of the use of the process improvement method Lean Six Sigma.
McGrath accelerated the use of Lean Six Sigma across the Defense Department and is now spearheading its use in overhauling the government’s clearance/background investigation process.
“She’s adept at navigating large organizations, but she’s able to turn them with very subtle techniques,” said David Wennergren, DOD’s deputy chief information officer. “She does it without being a dominant personality and without antagonizing people, and they find themselves happy to agree with her.”
David Medeck, business modernization executive for the Internal Revenue Service’s Wage and Investment Business Division, renewed confidence that the agency could reverse setbacks that have plagued its modernization efforts.
In 2007, Medeck oversaw the delivery of critical releases of a new taxpayer database, the Customer Account Data Engine. CADE will replace an antiquated Master File system developed in the Kennedy administration.
CADE suffered major setbacks in the past because of a lack of qualified business leadership for information technology initiatives, said Richard Spires, IRS deputy commissioner for operations support.
“Dave’s outstanding leadership and personal commitment as the business executive in charge of the CADE and [Account Management Services] projects was essential to their successful deployment in 2007,” Spires said. “Dave has served as the ideal business partner with the IT organization to help ensure the success of IRS’ large-scale IT initiatives.”
Darlene Meskell, the General Services Administration’s director of Intergovernmental Solutions, has a knack for keeping chief information officers on task and working together.
Since becoming director in January 2007, Meskell has focused on creating new ways for CIOs across federal, state and local government to collaborate. She also has an international flair.
As managing director of the 5-Nations CIO Council, Meskell started a quarterly forum where CIOs from five prominent English-speaking nations can share ideas and find the best approaches to solving common problems.
Ken Cochrane, CIO of the Government of Canada, said Meskell is interested in the council and its members. “She has great knowledge and a great personality, and these are the common threads that make our 5-Nations CIO Council work year after year,” Cochrane said.
Daniel Mintz, the Transportation Department’s chief information officer, championed the governmentwide eRulemaking Initiative — and persuaded senior DOT managers to get onboard.
Mintz overcome resistance to the initiative by involving business managers in the decision-making process and transition, said Thomas Barrett, DOT’s deputy secretary. “My experience is that when key stakeholders are treated with respect and kept informed, they are much more likely to support the resulting decisions,” Barrett said.
In October, DOT began transitioning its workload to the Federal Docket Management System. Until then, the department’s agencies maintained their own Web-based dockets for rulemaking.
Steven Monteith, executive director of human capital enterprise at the U.S. Postal Service, clearly is not afraid to tackle big projects. In overseeing the upgrade of USPS’ human resources system, he managed what is believed to be one of the largest implementations of SAP software in government.
The project required migrating more than 750,000 employees to the electronic systems in less than a year. In the process, Monteith had to overcome skepticism about the viability of the project and resistance from various business organizations within USPS.
“He integrated the disparate business functions into a cohesive unit that we could then apply technology to,” said George Wright, vice president of information technology operations at USPS.
Doug Montgomery, manager of the Internetworking Technologies Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, helped write the standard for the next-generation Internet protocol — IPv6.
The transition to IPv6 is a global project that requires organizations to change their network architecture and information technology hardware. When the federal government sought to become an early adopter, Montgomery became its point man.
“He helped provide the structure necessary to move the IPv6 initiative forward, making him an invaluable asset to the larger global effort,” said Carol Bales, senior policy analyst at the Office of Management and Budget.
As a member of the CIO Council’s IPv6 Working Group, Montgomery also used his leadership skills to convey the value of IPv6 to government, industry and higher education.
Donna Morea, president of U.S. and India at CGI, could easily have been recognized for the work she’s done in her day job — helping agencies modernize their financial management systems.
But it’s Morea’s efforts outside the job that distinguish her among members of the government information technology community, said Olga Grkavac, executive vice president at the Information Technology Association of America.
Among other activities, Morea, chairwoman-elect of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, recently wrapped up duties as chairwoman of the 2007 Kidney Ball, a National Kidney Foundation benefit that raised a record $1.3 million.
She also serves on the board of directors for Crossway Community, an organization that delivers educational and supportive services to low-income, at-risk families.
“Senior executives like this — their jobs are unbelievably stressful, so whenever they take the time to get involved in other activities, it means a lot,” Grkavac said.
Kenneth Mortensen, acting chief privacy and civil liberties officer at the Justice Department, provides governmentwide leadership on some of today’s most sensitive issues.
He joined Justice in June 2007, having previously been deputy chief privacy officer at the Homeland Security Department. Mortensen is cochairman of the CIO Council’s privacy committee.
“Ken is a very thoughtful voice in the government privacy community,” said Ari Schwartz, vice president at the Center for Democracy and Technology.
“He showed his ability to understand complex and emerging privacy issues at DHS and has taken that to a new level since” being at Justice.
John Moses, eRulemaking program manager, led a governmentwide initiative to bring the public into the rulemaking process.
Moses was instrumental in developing the backbone of Regulations.gov, the Federal Docket Management System. Last year, he revamped the Web site’s interface and added expanded search and usability features.
He also supervised the addition of 10 new agencies to the site, which now handles 90 percent of federal rulemaking.
“Under John’s leadership, the federal government’s eRulemaking program experienced enormous growth,” said Molly O’Neill, EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Environmental Information and chief information officer.
Thomas Neff, deputy product manager for Joint Automatic Identification Technology, provided critical supply-support for ground commanders.
Working with a wide array of partners, he established a network of 3,300 radio frequency identification sites so that military commanders could track materiel shipments.
“All of this took quite a bit of coordination across the joint community,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Burden, the JAIT program manager. “The program office was engaged in this effort with the U.S.
Transportation Command, the [Office of the Secretary of Defense] and every military service, right down to combatant commanders on the ground.”
Neff oversees contracts worth $662 million, installations in 39 countries, and the integration of data and processes for 24 systems and applications.
Steven Newburg-Rinn, director of information assurance strategic initiatives at SRA International, was instrumental in creating a security management tool that eliminates hours of manual checks and gives agencies a view of their information security status.
The Automated Security Self-Evaluation and Remediation Tracking tool became the basis of the Office of Management and Budget’s Information Systems Security Line of Business, an initiative that helps agencies comply with the Federal Information Security Management Act.
“As SRA’s director of information assurance strategic initiatives, Steven has been a leader in the field and a valuable resource to the association, our members and federal agencies on a wide range of government policies and company compliance obligations,” said Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel at the Professional Services Council.
Arthur O’Connor, the Federal Highway Administration’s senior transportation management engineer in New York City, proved adept at overcoming the political and technical challenges that stood in the way of developing real-time incident management capabilities.
The Joint Transportation Management Center’s central video system now provides those collaboration and management capabilities for the New York metropolitan area.
O’Connor “was successful at knocking down the political as well as the technical challenges and using the regional architecture and standards as the baseline for collaboration and cooperation,” said James Chong, chief technology officer at VidSys, which provides support for the center.
Diane O’Connor, deputy project manager of the Logistics Modernization Program, impressed some people in high places in 2007.
She played a major role in getting the program back on track, fixing problems identified by the Government Accountability Office and bringing it into compliance with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act.
The secrets to O’Connor’s success are collegiality and communications, her colleagues say.
Her communications skills were so highly regarded that she was brought in to brief Defense Department Deputy Secretary Gordon England on the program’s progress.
“Diane O’Connor’s contributions in turning around the transformational Logistics Modernization Program have been truly exceptional,” said Gary Winkler, program executive officer for enterprise information systems.
Thomas O’Reilly, senior policy adviser at the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, played a central role in developing a national system for reporting suspicious activity and disseminating information to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
A key component of the system is a network of fusion centers that serve as hubs for sharing data. O’Reilly persuaded officials at various levels of government to accept functional and training standards for the centers.
“His strength is his collaborative leadership style,” said Domingo Herraiz, director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance. “He listens very well and doesn’t waste a lot of words. He doesn’t try to overwhelm or impress. He’s a real teamwork-oriented person.”
While deputy chief information officer at the Housing and Urban Development Department, Bajinder Paul created a Web portal to provide nationwide access from one location to all types of housing disaster assistance.
Paul also provided leadership for the National Housing Locator initiative, a major component of the federal government’s housing disaster response efforts. With each of those projects, Paul met 100 percent of the cost and schedule milestones, said Lisa Schlosser, HUD’s CIO and Paul’s former supervisor.
“Bajinder is an extraordinary and inspired leader,” Schlosser said. “He takes the time to truly understand the needs of the business customers and always meets the mission requirements.”
Paul is now CIO at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Colleagues describe George Pedersen, chairman and chief executive officer of ManTech International, as an adroit manager who is deeply engaged in running the company. His dedication to ManTech and its success is unquestioned.
In 2003, the company acquired MSM Security Services with the idea of bringing ManTech’s technology expertise to the labor-intensive world of security clearance investigations. MSM struggled, even becoming a drag on ManTech’s overall performance and a source of worry for its shareholders.
Unable to come to terms with any other buyers, Pedersen formed an independent company and acquired MSM for $3 million in early 2007 rather than see it continue to be a drag on ManTech.
Meanwhile, his leadership has kept ManTech at the top among the pure-play information technology providers in the government information technology market.
William Pelgrin serves as director of New York state’s Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination, but his influence is felt nationally.
Pelgrin championed and is now chairman of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which gathers information on cybersecurity threats and promotes communications among government agencies. The group has participants from 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Theresa Pardo, deputy director at the Center for Technology in Government, said Pelgrin has demonstrated a talent for creating trust among people and organizations. “He creates an environment...
that gets people questioning their first reaction, which is not to share,” Pardo said.
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