Honorees show their mettle
- By Richard W. Walker, Matt McLaughlin
- Nov 08, 2004
Dawn Meyerriecks, former DISA CTO, accepts the Defense Executive of the Year Award.
Civilian Executive of the Year Kim Nelson and her daughters, Kelsy and Mackenzie, meet Mark Spitz, whose Olympic accomplishments inspired Nelson.
GSA administrator Steve Perry, left, and his wife Sondra get together with David Combs of the Agriculture Department, Linda Combs of the Transportation Department and CIO Steve Cooper of the Homeland Security Department.
It was a night for winners at GCN 2004 Awards Gala last month'from agency and individual honorees, to an Olympic champion and a certain baseball team whose last title was hailed by President Woodrow Wilson.
Swimmer Mark Spitz, who won a record seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympics, was the guest speaker at the gala, held last month in Washington. At a reception before the main event, Spitz compared success on the Olympic stage to success in the government IT arena.
'Most of the people who are getting these awards have taken some similar pathway,' he said. 'Many people have no clue of what it takes to win an Olympic gold medal. It's no different than what somebody who be- comes a CIO goes through.'
Spitz's appearance was an apt one for Environmental Protection Agency CIO Kim Nelson, the GCN Civilian Executive of the Year'his Olympic feat had been a big inspiration when she went off to Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania on a swimming scholarship in 1974.
'I went to college after his spectacular Olympic record,' she said. 'I just found out [the day before the gala] he was going to be here. I was so excited.'
A supportive family seems to be a hidden key to IT success, according to the honorees.
Nelson credited her family'whose members filled an entire table'with being crucial to her success. Even her teenage daughters support her career in their own way'Nelson quipped that they would often tell her, 'Mom, don't rush home.'
Dawn Meyerriecks, former chief technology officer of the Defense Information Systems Agency, thanked her family for 'putting up with the hours' she put in as one of the officials in charge of the military's effort to establish a Global Information Grid. Honored as the Defense Executive of the Year, Meyerriecks also mentioned her younger brother 'flying gun- ships' in the service.
All of the individual award winners also noted contributions of their co-workers.
John Thompson, chairman of the board and CEO of Symantec Corp., said his In- dustry Executive of the Year Award was 'really for the 6,000 colleagues I have around the world.'
And national archivist John Carlin, inducted into the GCN Hall of Fame, credited not only his co-workers at the National Archives and Records Administration but other agencies and outside experts who had worked on technology efforts.
While the awards held center stage in the Hilton Washington's packed ballroom, other events weren't far from people's minds.
When GCN editor in chief Thomas R. Temin went off the script to report an early 1-0 Red Sox lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth game of the World Series, a buzz rippled through the crowd. Indeed, many stuck around after the awards presentations and jammed the Hilton's sports bar to watch the Sox win the game, 3-0, and sweep the series.
And the presidential election'then still six days away'was a natural topic of conversation. Many feds and vendors said they were optimistic that vital IT programs would continue, and major priorities such as e-government would remain firmly intact, regardless of the outcome.
'I don't see a big change,' said Mike Sade, the Commerce Department's procurement executive. 'The e-government initiatives may change names, perhaps. There could even be some changes if President Bush wins. But a lot of it is being driven by the citizens. They like what they see. And they are going to demand more.'