Profiles in Persistence

One of the qualities especially salient among this year's GCN IT Leadership Award winners is sustained and exceptional accomplishment. All have labored long and hard in the government trenches, beginning in modest jobs and emerging as dazzling examples of the sort of leaders who are helping to transform government with their vision'and the ability to rally fellow employees around that vision.

Thurman Higginbotham personifies that quality. He started his government career as a security guard at Arlington National Cemetery in 1965. Today, as ANC's deputy director, he is leading an initiative to install a GIS-based information management system at ANC. His boss calls him a visionary.

Among the others, Barbara Hoffman, a team leader for the Navy CIO, started as a GS-3 personnel clerk. David Songco of the National Institutes of Health was a GS-3 student trainee. Debra Bonner, Rebecca Spitzgo and Avie Snow all began their careers as clerk-typists (Bonner left her job at a Dairy Queen in Oklahoma City to join up). Teresa Sorrenti of the General Services Administration was a summer clerk for the Marshals Service. The Army's Maj. Kevin Watts was a Morse code intercept specialist. Susan Smoter of the IRS was a computer training specialist. The Pentagon's Sajeel Ahmed began his career as an engineering intern.

On the local level, Michael Taylor, CIO for Pitt County, N.C., was a high-school intern. And Patricia Curtis, MIS director for Leon County, Fla., started as a CAD programmer for Miami-Dade County's fire department.

These compelling stories of remarkable, high achievement are contained in the following pages. Read them and revel in 12 IT leaders who are making their mark'and a difference.

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