PostNewsweek Gala: A progression of partners

From left, Dave Greene of PostNewsweek Tech Media, Donald Graham of the Washington Post Co., Jay Bokulic of EMC Corp. and Jim Shanks of CDW-G chat during the reception.

Civilian executive of the year Steve Cooper, left, shares a laugh with Transportation Security Administration CIO Patrick Schambach.

Ten-foot-tall Cirque Magnifique clowns on stilts circulated in the black-tie crowd at the cocktail reception for PostNewsweek Tech Media's 2003 Awards Gala, but most people were too deep in eye-to-eye conversation to take much notice.

It was a night of nonstop networking for the 1,200 government and industry IT executives who jammed into the Washington Hilton Oct. 29 for the awards ceremony. (See links to the right to Gala photos and award recipient profiles.)

"This is a wonderful opportunity to get people together for networking," said Lt. Gen. Steve Boutelle, Army Department CIO and this year's GCN Defense executive of the year. "It really brings together industry and government people."

GCN civilian agency executive of the year Steve Cooper, Homeland Security Department CIO, said: "I look at this as a visible representation of the partnership between the [IMGCAP(2)] public and private sector. Partnership is what this is all about."

"Events like this bring us closer together as one community," said Barry West, FEMA's brand-new CIO.

The unofficial theme of the evening was the importance of collaboration between industry and government in fighting the war on terrorism.

In his speech, Unisys Corp. CEO Lawrence Weinbach, GCN industry executive of the year, said there was more than money to his company's $1 billion IT Management Services contract with the Transportation Security Administration.

"When we first went into it, it was an economic transaction," he said. "Today, for Unisys, it's an emotional contract. We live it, we feel it. This is what collaboration is all about--having a free country."

In the last speech of the evening, former Defense secretary William Cohen, the newest member of GCN's Hall of Fame, kept the crowd fired up when he spoke of the critical need for teamwork and communication to get the job done.

"It doesn't matter how strong, enduring or flexible you are, if you are unable to communicate with your teammates you've got a problem," he said.

For the military, "boots, beans and bullets" aren't enough anymore, said Cohen, co-author of the Clinger-Cohen Act, whose purpose was to make government IT more effective and mission-driven.

"You need bytes today as well," he said. "Those of you who are engaged in IT understand that more than anyone. Information is power--the ability to collect it, analyze it and communicate it effectively with great speed."

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