Luigart, Paller honored by CIO Council

Luigart, Paller honored by CIO Council

When Craig Luigart learned a few days ago he would win the 7th Government Azimuth Award, he didn't believe it. But Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget's administrator for e-government and IT, assured Luigart he was indeed the winner and was finding out early so he could prepare his acceptance speech.

"I was stunned and I couldn't talk for 10 minutes," said Luigart, the Veterans Affairs Department's associate deputy assistant secretary for plans, policy and program execution. Speaking last night at the awards ceremony during the FOSE trade show in Washington, he said, "I didn't even know I was in the running."

Luigart said Evans informed him early because he sometimes has trouble speaking when he feels emotional. A neurological condition has restricted his speech and required him to use a wheelchair. He also was stunned, he said, because "I didn't think I was even nominated." As a member of the CIO Council, Luigart voted on the nominees but wasn't listed on his ballot.

The CIO Council, which sponsors the annual awards, also honored Alan Paller, director of the SANS Institute of Bethesda, Md., with the Industry Azimuth award.

"Alan is a champion and promoter of our successes and a kind corrector when we slip up," said Tim Young, OMB's associate administrator for e-government and IT. "He is a quiet but faithful friend and protector."

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

Luigart is best known for advocating Section 508 accessibility standards. He has been CIO of the Education Department and chairman of the CIO Council's 508 Committee.

"It is easy to be impressed with Craig," said Dan Matthews, CIO Council vice chairman and Transportation Department CIO. "He is an inspiration through his enthusiasm and ability to create a vision and implement it."

Paller is best known for his work on IT security through the nonprofit SANS Institute's training, education and certification programs.

"This is a special honor because of the people in this room," Paller told the audience of mostly federal executives, including many CIOs. "The CIOs have done more to turn the tide against cybercrime than almost anything in the private sector." Paller said the government's procurement power has pushed vendors to deliver more secure computer systems.

"The change over the past 12 months has been palpable," he said. "Computers are extraordinarily safer, and that gives me real reason for optimism."

Luigart and Paller join a stellar group of past winners: David J. Barram, former administrator of the General Services Administration; Eric Brewer, cofounder 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.; 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.

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