First Stetson Awards honor six of the Trail Bosses who rode herd on a wild bunch ofIRM acquisitions

"No news is good news" is a saying clearly understood
by the winners of the first Trail Boss Stetson Awards.


The six federal information technology procurement managers honored this month know
that when things go right, they won't be in the public eye. With systems buys, "the
success measure comes far, far after the program award," said speaker George
Coulbourn, vice president of Boeing Information Services.


In his remarks at the awards dinner in Washington, Coulbourn called the trail boss jobs
some of the riskiest federal careers. Workers in IT contracting must have the courage and
the dedication to know that they're doing something important for the government and the
nation, he said.


The winners of the first Stetson awards were feted at a gala banquet, complete with
western fiddle music and bandana-festooned tables. Each winner received an award plaque
and a genuine Stetson cowboy hat to wear home.


Duded up in his own Stetson and wearing a festive string tie of his own making, Joe
Thompson offered his congratulations to the award winners, all graduates of the General
Services Administration's Trail Boss Program. Since the program began in 1988, more than
900 federal employees have been trained to handle all aspects of complex computer
acquisitions.


"Trail Boss is a people program more than anything else. We're betting on a
person," said Thompson, commissioner of GSA's Information Technology Service.
"Trail Boss has changed, by and large, the way agencies handle mission contract
procurements."


Four federal procurement officials received kudos for enhancing the government's
systems buying practices during different phases in the acquisition process:


"She posted hundreds of pages of information on the EPA's public access server,
information that had only been available via Freedom of Information Act requests or was
unavailable until the request for proposals stage," GCN Chief Editor Tom Temin said
in presenting the award to Garcia.


"So popular has the project been that other agencies clamor to buy off of
it," Temin said. SEWP's success prompted GSA to double the outside-agency buys it
allowed on a designated group of large requirements contracts, hiking the amount to 20
percent of each contract's value.


"Through flexible thinking and an ability to keep the government and contractor at
the table to resolve differences, Dave was instrumental in getting NEXRAD to the
deployment stage," Temin said, adding that 120 of planned 162 Doppler radars are
operational.


Besides these four awards, two senior officials received special honors for working to
improve the dialogue between the government and its systems vendors. The Stetson Awards
for Open Communications with Industry went to:


"Mr. Mosemann receives this award for pushing the Air Force's participation in
industry forums, for thorough and timely debriefings after awards and for his level of
open but always discreet communications throughout acquisitions," Temin said.


Col. Raymond Brylski, chief of the service's Communications-Computer Acquisition
Division, accepted the award for Mosemann, who was unable to attend the ceremony.


"Over the years, Steve has earned a reputation for candid, fair and open
communications throughout the process of awarding contracts," Temin said.


The six officials were the first winners of the Stetson awards, begun this year by Reed
Exhibition Cos. to honor outstanding trail bosses. The awards banquet was held during
Reed's Federal Procurement Exposition conference in Washington.


The panel that selected the award winners included members of the Trail Boss
Interagency Committee, Reed Exhibition executives and editors of Government Computer News,
a sister company of Reed Exhibition Cos.


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