GCN Awards Section: It's not just about the technology

What do a fishing law enforcement chief, a Farm Service Agency office manager and an Air Force colonel have in common?

The question sounds like the intro to a joke, but I have a more serious purpose. All three'and many others you'll read about in this special issue'serve on teams whose projects won this year's 10 GCN Awards for Excellence in IT.

More fundamentally, what Mark Spurrier, Dave Liem and Col. Jon L. Krenkel have in common is passion'passion for their work and passion for public service. They may not stand on their desks and shout or thump their chests. Passion, enthusiasm and commitment aren't necessarily expressed outwardly or visibly. But the work of the winning teams speaks for itself. The work of each award recipient is detailed in the pages that follow.

I just finished reading It's Not about the Bike, a surprisingly candid autobiography by Lance Armstrong, five-time winner of the Tour de France. When you see the clump of Tour riders'the peloton'go by, it looks like simply a bunch of people pedaling bikes up and down hills and through towns. The reality is a complex game of strategy, risk and just plain dogged work. Some break out and win or place. Yet just to finish such a race requires a huge amount of courage, commitment and passion.

Working in the highly bureaucratic fishbowl that is government service and getting things done requires similar qualities. The groups and projects we've selected for this year's awards exemplify those qualities. To paraphrase Armstrong, it's not fundamentally about the technology, essential though it is to the accomplishments.

For this year's awards program, we received 120 entries, some submitted by agencies, others by the vendors with whom the agencies partnered for their projects. Teams of senior editors and writers from GCN and its sister publication, Washington Technology, read each of the entries and scored them for innovation, support of program or policy goals, and good acquisition and IT management.

Thanks is also due to a group of outside experts who reviewed and commented on our preliminary choices and helped guide us to the final selections: Ray Bjorklund of Federal Sources Inc.; Tom Davies of Current Analysis Inc.; Frank McDonough of Guerra, Kiviat and Flyzik; Ann Thompson Reed of Acquisition Solutions Inc.; and Payton Smith of Input.

Equally passionate and committed are the recipients of our individual awards: Lt. Gen. Steve Boutelle, CIO of the Army; William Cohen, former Defense secretary and senator; Steve Cooper, CIO of the Homeland Security Department; and Larry Weinbach, chairman and chief executive officer of Unisys Inc.

A final note on the package itself. The cover and layouts are the work of art director Phyllis Maringer, who drew on imagery of ballet dancers'with their combination of strength, grace and passion. Dancers will perform at a Washington gala later this month at which GCN's parent company, PostNewsweek Tech Media, will present the awards. Assistant managing editor Kevin McCaney assigned, assembled and edited the text.

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