Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) will address the Potomac Officers Club at a breakfast event on February 4th, beginning at 8:15 AM. Senator Webb served with distinction as a combat Marine platoon commander in Vietnam, earning the silver star, the Navy Cross, two bronze stars and two purple hearts at the infamous An Hoa Basin west of Danang. He also served as a senior official at the Department of Defense, and has worked as an attorney, an award-winning journalist, a film-maker, and is the author of nine books. To register for the event, click here.
ExecutiveBiz Top 10 stories of 2009
With a new year in sight, we have one last opportunity to take note of the top stories that shaped 2009. The list below is really your list — it represents the highest ranking stories that appeared at ExecutiveBiz.com over the past 12 months. Many of these stories highlight top leaders in government and industry — individuals who intrigued, provoked, and moved us to think more critically about the direction of government contracting — and our role in moving America forward. Here’s the rundown, drum roll …
Melissa Hathaway. Her name has become synonymous with cybersecurity. Over the course of 2009, Hathaway filled the headlines, first in her role leading the Obama administration’s 60-day cybersecurity review, then as a possible contender in what often seemed like a never-ending guessing game about who would be America’s first-ever cybersecurity czar. Hathaway didn’t prove to be the one, but that didn’t stop her from solidifying her name as a leading cybersecurity influencer. Among her notable efforts, she delivered the keynote address at RSA Conference 2009, and she was named senior advisor on cybersecurity at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
By the time we caught up with Bill Dean, CEO of MC Dean, in the summer of 2009, his year was already unfolding at fever pitch. His company was in the midst of starting up several large projects, including BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) in suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. His company was also tapped to design and construct the electrical, telecommunications, and electronic systems for the new Walter Reed National Army Medical Center. Beyond the DC area, the company opened three new offices for its new Southern Industrial Group, in Baton Rouge, as well as in Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth. These latter moves spoke to the company’s efforts to diversify market sectors and to further establish its nationwide presence.
Forget Iraq. Or Afghanistan. If any one issue dominated the headlines in 2009, healthcare reform was certainly it. By summertime, discourse on the issue had become so heated it tipped the scales into red hot emotion. (Think: Tea Party protests.) By July, ExecutiveBiz decided to inject a little reason into the discourse by looking for top voices leveraging technology to foster solutions — real solutions — that could drive down healthcare costs. Our list included David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology at the Department of Health and Human Services, who was hammering out a consistent definition of “meaningful use,” and Henry Chao, chief technology officer for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who was busy creating cross-agency initiatives that could strengthen healthcare IT.
Jim O’Neill began the year in a big new role: as CEO of Siemens Enterprise Communications. By spring, O’Neill found time for a breather — and a chat with ExecutiveBiz. Whenever O’Neill’s name comes up in my talks with executives around the Beltway, it’s usually met with admiration for his tireless, globe-trotting schedule and long-standing roots in the technology industry. In a candid, personal exchange with ExecutiveBiz, O’Neill weighed in on everything from Siemens’ future direction under his watch, to the best business advice he’d ever received, from his father. In a disappointing turn, just three months after our interview, O’Neill left his role as Siemens CEO. But we’re betting we’ll see O’Neill’s name pop again sometime soon, around the Beltway.
As the economy continued its free fall into 2009, business development was the last thing on many American minds — survival was. And while government contracting was still a safer bet than other industries, it was finding it wasn’t without its uncertainties either. By fall, insourcing was on many contractors’ minds. So was organizational conflict of interest, the definition of which had yet to take shape on the Hill. In the mist of those questions, ExecutiveBiz went looking for top business development executives in government contracting who were forging ahead — and creating opportunities. Among the most inspiring was CGI’s Gregg Mossburg (LEFT), who highlighted the human value potential contractors can help bring to the table. Through CGI’s partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia, nearly 300 jobs had been created in Russell County, Va., in southwest Virginia. “We’re growing, we’re helping federal agencies, and we’re helping bring jobs to other areas of Virginia,” said Mossburg.
Used to be space exploration intrigued everyday Americans, thanks, in large part, to JFK’s bold claim in 1961: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon …” Then it happened, Apollo 11’s 1969 moon landing, which led a giddy Walter Cronkite to exclaim: “Man on the moon!” Forty years later told a different story. With NASA pinched for cash, the future of space programs now hung in the balance. Helping to outline options over the course of 2009 — and beyond — was Norm Augustine, a US aerospace businessman and ex-Lockheed Martin CEO. As chair of the United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee review, Augustine published the committee’s findings over the summer. NASA’s budgetary future looked bleak, the report found. It was time for the government to either accept a necessary increase in spending or continue on a path that would lead to severely constrained space exploration.
Predictions, by their very nature, are an inexact science. That’s especially true in the area of finance. But if any one chief finance officer got his prediction right in 2009, it was HPTi’s Bill Milligan. Just weeks after we rang in 2009, Milligan offered this tip to his colleagues in industry: Don’t get too comfortable. Even with long-term contracts, change is inevitable, said Milligan. “You can’t have blinders on and not recognize that things are happening — like the bailout —that we haven’t experienced before,” he said. “The federal budget can only get so big before some changes need to be made to shrink programs; somebody is going to be impacted.” In frank conversation with ExecutiveBiz, he and nine other CFOs offered their predictions for the year ahead. As we enter 2010, many of their words still hold water.
Cloud computing. Hype? Or the next big thing? That was one of the big questions facing chief technology officers in government contracting over the course of 2009. For answers, ExecutiveBiz went looking for government contracting’s top 10 CTOs to watch. Some said cloud computing was the natural place to go. Others cautioned that the government had been there, done that — just in another form, with mainframes and terminals of times past. Regardless of opinion, each CTO offered thought-provoking takeaways on technologies they’d be tracking on behalf government customers. Among the most prescient observations? ManTech’s Mike Kushin had this to say: “Our number one objective over the next 12 months is cyber security.”
OK, we’ll be the first to admit it. Not all our predictions for 2009 came to pass. But when we set out to name the top 20 people to watch in and around government contracting over the course of the year, we weren’t too far off. Among those who proved us right: Brad Antle (LEFT), who began 2009 with a new role, as president of Bradford SCG, a consulting group focused on the information technology and services industry. Then there was Bill Ballhaus, who ushered in 2009 as one of Forbes’ list of most powerful CEOs “40 and under.” And Bob Coleman, who traded in the title of COO of ManTech for that of CEO of Six3 Systems. And who could forget Joe Doherty, who spent the year making good on his promise to cement ACS’ place in the federal marketplace.
The year was still unfolding when ExecutiveBiz selected its top 10 Beltway Game Changers to Watch. For the second straight year, ExecutiveBiz tallied its annual list of change agents who were all set to leave a significant mark on the federal space. Some, like Jim Lewis of CSIS, hailed from the world of think tanks and public policy. Others like Mac Curtis, from the world of government contracting. Then there was Vivek Kundra, America’s first-ever CIO who proved our prediction right on every front. Just weeks before the year was to draw to a close, Kundra kicked off an Open Government Directive, alongside Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra. Oh, and in case, you’re wondering who’s set to leave their mark in 2010, check out our latest list here. Happy New Year!