CIOs honor Koskinen for IT leadership

The Chief Information Officers Council this month presented John A. Koskinen with
its first Azimuth Award for his work as the administration’s year 2000 czar.

The council plans to give the award annually to someone who has provided vision and
direction to government information technology. The group recognized Koskinen during a
dinner cruise aboard the Potomac Spirit in Washington.

The program, part of the FOSE ’99 conference, was sponsored by the council and
Post-Newsweek Business Information Inc., which owns FOSE and GCN.

“The Y2K problem is the biggest IT challenge we have ever faced as a
community,” said Treasury Department CIO James Flyzik, vice-chairman of the CIO

It was clear when Koskinen took the post that the government needed strong leadership
on the year 2000 issue, Flyzik said, and Koskinen has been a guiding force.

“This is an odd time, in a way, to be receiving this,” Koskinen said. If
everything goes well on Jan. 1, “we will really have something to celebrate,” he

The federal government is nearing completion of repairs to mission-critical systems,
Koskinen said.

The most recent quarterly report from the Office of Management and Budget showed 79
percent of mission-critical systems were ready in mid-February. More than 90 percent will
be ready by OMB’s March 31 deadline, Koskinen said.

He credited the federal workers who have been fixing systems. “I haven’t
changed a line of code yet,” he said.

Koskinen said the award has particular significance to him, because he was integral to
the creation of government CIO positions and the CIO Council when he was OMB’s deputy
director for management.

G. Edward DeSeve, who succeeded Koskinen, said Koskinen has been a pioneer. “He
set the trail for these groups.”

Koskinen, the chairman of the President’s Council on the Year 2000 Conversion,
took the post in February 1998 after President Clinton and Vice President Gore called him
during a vacation in Amsterdam. At the time, Koskinen was a finalist for his dream
job—athletic director at Duke University, his alma mater.

The CIO Council and several industry groups also honored Milton E. Cooper, president of
Computer Science Corp.’s federal-sector division, as the private-sector executive of
the year.

The executive award came from the CIO Council and the Electronic Industries
Association, Information Technology Industry Association and Industry Advisory Council of
the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils.

Earlier in the day at a luncheon, the CIO Council presented honors to committee members
who Flyzik said do the behind-the- scene work that keeps the council going:

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