CIO Council honors Rep. Davis, Cisco's Chambers

John Chambers and Rep. Tom Davis at Tuesday night's Azimuth awards dinner in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Olivier Douliery

The CIO Council tonight honored two IT leaders with seemingly little in common. But as each speaker peeled back the onion, Rep. Tom Davis and Cisco Systems Inc. CEO John Chambers share more traits than one would imagine.

The Council found the Virginia Republican and the native West Virginian to be forward thinking, innovative and leaders, which is why they received the Government and Industry Azimuth Award at a dinner in Washington.

"Tom Davis has provided the vision to help reform the procurement systems, the dedication that is legendary and knowledge that is limitless," said CIO Council vice chair and Transportation Department CIO Dan Matthews. "He leads, listens and solves problems, clearing away the snags to get things done in an expeditious manner."

The Azimuths, handed out each year at an awards dinner during the FOSE trade show in Washington, honor people whose work has benefited government IT.

Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget administrator for e-government and IT called Davis an advocate for the federal IT workforce. He has helped fellow lawmakers see the opportunities that the federal e-government efforts can mean in service to the citizen, she said.

Davis, who was clearly moved by the award, called the CIOs the backbone of government.

"This is more than a plaque to hang around the office because of who it comes from," Davis said. "When I came to Congress no one wanted to take this niche and it was a natural fit for me given my background. I was lucky enough to make my mark."

Chambers made his mark in the private sector running Cisco since 1995.

Evans said Cisco provided the direction of where the IT industry was going.

"There are leaders who add clarity to confusion and John Chambers is one of them," she said. "He provides strong guidance to a new horizon that is important to all of us."

Chambers credited two ingredients to Cisco's success: staying close to the customer and having them set the technological direction; and creating a culture of family with Cisco's employees.

"We have a challenge in front of us in how each agency implements their goals and the goals of the country," Chambers said. "I encourage us to push forward what technology is capable of doing and changing the way we live, work and play."

This the sixth year the council has awarded the Azimuth awards. Past winners were David J. Barram, former administrator of the General Services Administration; Eric Brewer, co-founder of Inktomi Corp. of Foster City, Calif.; former OMB IT policy chief Daniel Chenok; Milton E. Cooper, former federal sector president of Computer Sciences Corp. of San Diego; Renato DiPentima, senior vice president of consulting and systems integration for SRA International Inc. of Fairfax, Va.; former Treasury Department CIO James Flyzik; former OMB e-government chief Mark Forman; former year 2000 czar John Koskinen; former attorney general Janet Reno; and Dendy Young, chairman of GTSI Corp. of Chantilly, Va.

(Posted 3:21 p.m. March 23 and updated 2:56 a.m. March 24, 2004)

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