The Top 20 People to Watch in 2011

As the countdown to 2011 begins, ExecutiveBiz brings you its third annual list of the Top 20 People to Watch. From government to industry, this year’s list highlights individuals focused, largely, on two critical fronts: in government, cost-efficiency and national security; on the industry side, new innovation — and the creation of new U.S. jobs — in the midst of ever-tightening budget and economic realities. Industry’s strong showing in everything from cybersecurity to reconnaissance continues to ensure strong interest in the federal marketplace on the part of private equity (they made this year’s list, too.) There’s more, so read on — and let us know if you agree:

Mark Gerencser

When it comes to cybersecurity, it’s time to get back to basics. Sure, the cyber threat is evolving at a warp speed, demanding, in turn, new, rapid-fire solutions on the technology front. At the same time, addressing this looming threat often has less to do with technology and more with tapping into foundational principles — bedrock principles, among vested parties — that can offer guidance in the midst of a brewing cyber storm.

Booz Allen Executive Vice President Mark Gerencser outlined those bedrock principles back in 2008 with his book, Megacommunities. In it, he argued the world’s global issues, including cybersecurity no less, require “megacommunity” thinking.

It might just be time to give Gerencser’s book a second read. The events of this past week confirmed as much, when a group of hacktivists infiltrated global financial institutions in retaliation for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s arrest. Those events reminded more than a few cybersecurity analysts and leaders that a network so vast — and vulnerable — requires an equally vast and expansive counterresponse. Something on the order of a megacommunity.

In his book, Gerencser defines a megacommunity as one based upon five key elements: trisector engagement, overlapping vital interests, convergence (a commitment to shared action), structure (a set of protocols and principles), and adaptability. And, if ever an issue called for those ingredients to come together, it’s cybersecurity, now.

Paul Cofoni

Paul Cofoni has more than a few reasons to celebrate lately; his company picked up several major defense wins.

This month alone, CACI won a prime position on the U.S. Special Operations Command’s $1.5 billion Global Battlestaff and Program Support contract. “One of the keys to CACI’s successful growth strategy is our ability to win and aggressively compete with the defense industry’s best on large contract vehicles like [the GBPS task order award],” said Cofoni, CACI CEO.

That award will see CACI, along with four other companies, manage acquisition programs. Part of that effort, worth $25 million, has CACI assist the US Special Operations Command Program Executive Office for Special Operations Forces Warrior Systems.

Other recent key wins include a $29 million task order to build new computer and automated application systems for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s Passenger System Program Office. “The threats to America’s borders and homeland are always present, and CACI works at the technological heart of efforts to counter these dangers,” Cofoni said in November. “We are able to provide the expertise in support of CBP’s mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the United States,” he added.

In the midst of those wins, Cofoni has continued CACI’s push into strategic acquisitions, in areas such as energy, cybersecurity, healthcare, and intelligence. Recently, the company announced it would buy Applied Systems Research, a Fairfax, Va.-based firm with expertise in the intelligence space. Before then, CACI purchased TechniGraphics, a Wooster, Ohio-based firm that provides geospatial services to intelligence customers.

Those acquisitions, coupled with solid award wins, explain the company’s strong first quarter showing for fiscal year 2011. If the company’s strong early growth is any indication, Cofoni will see CACI move toward even greater revenue gain throughout the year to come.

Bill Ballhaus

Bill Ballhaus helped DynCorp International redefine its core values, strengthen its leadership programs, enter new business sectors, and expand its global footprint — and then he let it set sail.

This past August, Bill Ballhaus announced his resignation as DynCorp International CEO and president. But that hasn’t stopped Ballhaus, who’s worked in the defense industry since age 19, from maintaining a critical presence in the industry as a whole. These days, Ballhaus remains on the company’s board of directors as vice chairman. He is also a strategic advisor to DI’s parent, Cerberus Capital Management.

Ballhaus guided Cerberus’s DynCorp acquisition back in April. “I believe that under this partnership with Cerberus, DynCorp International will be able to build on our extensive heritage and successful performance to continue to achieve our growth objectives,” Ballhaus said at the time. “This transaction,” he added, “is a major milestone for DynCorp International’s continued leadership in serving our customers and supporting U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives.”

Cerebus’ acquisition of DynCorp International speaks to large push by private equity groups into the federal sector. (Consider, among others: GF Fund’s acquisition of defense contractor Oasis Systems; the $1.65 billion acquisition of TASC by General Atlantic and KKR; and before that, the Carlyle Group’s $2.54 billion acquisition of Booz Allen Hamilton.)

Looking to 2011, will private equity continue its push into the federal sector? The odds are high, the strategy for doing so harder to gauge. All of which makes Ballhaus, and his role as strategic adviser to Cerberus, one person to watch over the year to come.

George Schindler

CGI Federal was already on the ascent. Then, it acquired Stanley for $1 billion this past May, and more than doubled its U.S. government business.

Leading the way has been current CGI Federal President George Schindler. With the Stanley acquisition, Schindler and senior leadership saw a chance to expand the company’s reach into the defense and intelligence markets. So far, that hunch has paid off.

In October, CGI won $18 million in new contracts with the U.S. Marine Corps. Those awards include providing training support for the USMC wide-range transformation modernization program. Also, included is an $11 million firm-fixed-price prime contract under the company’s Commercial Enterprise Omnibus support services (CEOss) contract.

“We are thrilled to begin work for this new Marine Corps customer,” Schindler said at the time. “Our mission is to support the warfighter and we are prepared to do so throughout all facilities within the Corps.”

Weeks later, Oberon (a Stanley Company, now part of CGI) was awarded a$28 million contract to support the Kyrgystan Border Service. “We are proud to be chosen for this work,” Schindler said. “Providing a strategic information sharing communication system that is robust and reliable will help the Border Service secure Kyrgyzstan’s borders against transnational threats.”

Under Schindler’s leadership, CGI Federal is also maintaining a strong showing in other areas. Over the summer, the company was awarded a five-year contract to modernize and maintain three Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) websites, a critical resource for 44 million beneficiaries.

“We will continue to bring our healthcare knowledge and technical expertise to this proven partnership as we help CMS achieve its vision to deliver a transformed and modernized healthcare system,” Schindler said.

At last count, CGI’s revenue was at $3.7 billion; its order backlog $13.3 billion. Odds are, we’ll see that growth continue into 2011, as a result of Stanley and, perhaps, future acquisitions on the horizon.

Robin Lineberger

It’s been a little more than a year since Robin Lineberger was named CEO of Deloitte’s $1.5 billion Federal Government Services business.

“I look forward to leading the combined team through the final stages of our integration and to extend the successes we have already achieved in the marketplace,” Lineberger said at the time. “This combination has become a truly powerful force in the federal space.”

A powerful force, indeed. Since that time, Lineberger has steered Deloitte Federal toward solid gains during its first year. In June, the corporation made the list of top 20 federal contractors — a result of having grown its business by another 10 percent in the past year. Will 2011 bring additional levels of growth? Stay tuned.

Ashton Carter

There are memos. And then there are memos.

If they come from the office of Ashton Carter — the Department of Defense’s top acquisition chief — chances are you take note. Especially as Carter’s tasked with making good on DoD’s mission: to cut $100 billion in overhead savings over the next five years.

Last June, Carter defined that task as eliminating “excessive costs and unproductive overhead” in DoD business processes.

By the fall, Carter outlined a vision to restructure acquisitions, which would include increasing competition on contract bids. “Competition is the single, most powerful tool to drive productivity,” Carter said in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee. “We must stop deluding ourselves that two bids is real competition.” He also cited $55 billion in contracting dollars from the previous year that only received one qualified bid.

In recent months, Carter has also co-authored a memo alongside Defense Secretary Robert Gates, outlining the Pentagon’s new buying strategies. Those strategies include splitting the cost projects that go over budget down the line between DoD and the contractor.

“A 50-50 share line is a square deal,” Carter said, as quoted by Wired in a talk at Center for American Progress. “I’m telling my contract people I want to see 50-50 share lines, and if you depart from that, I want to see why.”

Carter also recently mandated that agencies use a “Business Capability Lifecycle” for systems that top $1 million. BCL is based on three processes: business capability definition, investment management, and execution. The approach is designed to “provide a single governance and decision support framework to enable faster delivery of business capabilities,” according to the website, Business Transformation Agency (an organization within the DoD that was responsible for guiding the Department’s business operations modernizations over the past five years.)

Looking ahead, Carter is striving for “close involvement” with industry partners. He’s stated as much.

“Changing our business practices will take time,” he wrote, this past fall in WSJ, “and require the continued close involvement of our industry partners. But it can be done . . .  the alternative is unacceptable: broken or canceled programs, budget turbulence, uncertainty for industry, erosion of taxpayer confidence, and especially lost capability for the warfighter in a dangerous world. We can succeed and we must.”

Teri Takai

Teri Takai is known as a leader with a “reformer reputation,” and for good reason. As CIO of the state of California, Takai earned high marks for the reorganization and reform of the state’s information technology infrastructure — a move that’s expected to save the state nearly $3 billion by 2013.

Now, Takai is slated to bring similar consolidation — and cost-saving measures — to the federal government. All, finally, after a few fits and starts.

In March, President Barack Obama nominated Takai to become CIO of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). By September, her nomination was withdrawn due to “ongoing reorganization of the Defense Department’s IT operations and organizational structure,” as InformationWeek reported at the time. Now, she’s back, finally, as the new DoD CIO.

Consolidation efforts remain as important as ever, but so is cybersecurity. That’s the message Takai has been stressing. “We need to look at cybersecurity as important as our efficiencies and cost savings drives,” she recently told FederalNewsRadio. “In many ways, for many of us, that’s going to be a way to drive many of the things you want to do here,” she added.

Takai’s focus is clear, but it doesn’t come without challenges. Top of the list is helping to guide DoDs $32 billion IT budget toward greater efficiency. Meanwhile, questions loom large, as the new year approaches. As InformationWeek’s J. Nicholas Hoover recently asked: “How much authority will the new CIO have? How much influence will the CIO have over how DOD spends its IT budget? What will the new IT organizational structure look like? How will the new organization interface with Cyber Command and the DoD’s acquisition arm? And how will it be an improvement over NII?”

If Takai’s track record is any indication, she may just be the leader to help DoD tackle those questions, and more.

Dr. David Blumenthal

He helped hammer out a definition of “meaningful use.” Now, National Health IT Coordinator Dr. David Blumenthal is taking on the next hurdle: bringing clarity to operational rules surrounding the nationwide health information network (NHIN).

In November, Blumenthal delayed a panel vote by the Health IT Policy Committee on proposed NHIN rules, citing the need for greater clarity. “We need to break this into chunks and flesh them out and then prioritize them as either broadly directional or time sensitive,” Blumenthal said, according to Government Health IT. “That is just acknowledging the fact that this is too complicated for the group to feel comfortable voting on in this session,” he added.

That circumspect approach speaks to Blumenthal’s ongoing emphasis on feedback and collaboration. It’s an approach he’s maintained since taking on his role in 2009, when President Barack Obama named him to the coordinator role, on the heels of the HITECH Act.

Since then, Blumenthal has turned to everyone from industry trade groups to strategic thought leaders on ways to navigate the future of electronic health systems. So, what does that future look like? For Blumenthal, the answer comes down to one thing. In a word: unconstrained.

“We envision a future where information follows patients,” Blumenthal recently told HealthLeaders Media. “Unconstrained by competitive rivalry, unconstrained by geographic boundaries, unconstrained by cultural disinclinations to collaborate. We want teams to emerge in local communities that make exchange possible. And we will be using the meaningful use framework and all other levers at our disposal to try to make that possible.”

Developing that framework will, of course, require industry input. And, as government contractors continue to offer innovation solutions in the healthcare IT space, Blumenthal will remain a key figure to watch — including, most immediately — with that vote he is set to cast on NHIN’s operational rules; the proposed rules are slated to be published early 2011.

James Clapper

Let’s get one thing clear. Gen. James Clapper is no “titular figure.”

If anyone thought as much, Clapper dispelled the idea in his Senate confirmation hearings over the summer. Weeks before, this 45-year veteran of the Intelligence Community had been nominated by Barack Obama to be the fourth director of national intelligence (the fourth, as it happens, within a five-year period.)

Clapper knew what he was getting into. “When President Obama asked me to lead this organization,” Clapper said at his confirmation hearing, “he said he wanted someone who could build the Intelligence Community into an integrated team . . .” For Clapper, the challenges didn’t stop there. The DNI position, created to foster cooperation and collaboration among the 16 agencies that collect, analyze and disseminate intelligence, was formed in 2004 upon recommendation by the September 11 Commission.

Clapper has since shown he’s ready for agency challenges, including boosting efficiencies in a budget-strapped environment. In his first few months, he streamlined office procedures, forgoing the four deputy directors allowed for by law for a mere two. He also tapped his deputy director to take on chief operating officer duties as well to streamline internal operations.

Meanwhile, Clapper has noted the role government contractors can play in furthering intelligence objectives (he himself worked on the private industry side, for Booz Allen and SRA International, after retiring from the military in 1995.) The collaborative work of contractors, he has said, is “in some ways, a testimony to the ingenuity, innovation and capability of our contractor base.”

And so, as Clapper continues to articulate —and shore up — functions, industry will continue to looks for ways to collaborate the intelligence community, headed by a man who’s staying true to his word; he’s no titular figure. Not even close.

Steve Gaffney

He’s a defense industry veteran who recently took on the role of a lifetime.

Ever since Steve Gaffney became DynCorp International’s CEO this past August, he’s been helping the company build upon its 60-year history as a global government services provider in support of U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives. A key part of his approach is staying focused on his employees: more than 17,000 in all. If anything, that approach is based on one simple philosophy: Focus on your people first, and the rest will take care of itself.

In his first two months on the job, Gaffney read every employee survey comment — more than 1,000 in all, conducted in the months before he came on board. “The feedback,” he recently said, “is consistent with what I’ve seen at other companies where I’ve had a leadership role … the employees would like more opportunities to grow and move into other projects — we’re going to make sure we give them those opportunities.”

Meanwhile, DynCorp International’s acquisition by the private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management, for $1.5 billion in 2010 is another key growth driver, just as the company’s recent acquisition of Phoenix Consulting Group, Inc., and Casals & Associates, Inc., expands its inroads into intelligence and developing nations work.

Looking ahead, Gaffney is confident despite the challenges. “The market is flat, at best, so that means the only way you can grow is to take share,” Gaffney told us recently. “Everybody else is sitting in their boardroom saying the same thing. What they’re not talking about is how to build high performing teams and how to manage their constraints — that’s our differentiator.”

Howard Schmidt

A year ago, this month, Howard Schmidt scored one for the history books, when he was named the nation’s first-ever cybersecurity coordinator.

These days, as Schmidt settles into year two of his role, he’s been busy outlining the next set of priorities on the cyber policymaking front. From deterrence to resilience, privacy to partnerships — each underpins future policymaking efforts, Schmidt said in a recent talk at the Brookings Institution.

On the partnership front, Schmidt met with Bulgaria’s interior ministry this month; both reached agreement for Bulgaria to host a multilateral conference at which Southeastern European countries would outline common problems — and seek common solutions — to current cybercrime challenges.

Such collaborative efforts speak to Schmidt’s prevailing view: “The Internet is a shared resource and our securing it is a shared responsibility,” he said recently, citing the need for partnership with industry as well.

Schmidt also recently led the official opening of a cybersecurity operations center, part of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) in East Greenbush, N.Y. For Schmidt, the center’s opening reflects, as GovInfoSecurity reported, “a significant step forward toward enhancing the cybersecurity of our state, local, territorial, and tribal partners.”

Such efforts point to a critical market development: Federal cybersecurity spending is expected to reach $13.3 billion by 2015. As Schmidt continues in his role as cyber coordinator, he’ll stand out as a pivotal figure to watch in shaping the cybersecurity conversation.

Dr. Ray Johnson

A few years ago, a congressional report sounded the alarm: A shortage of American scientists and engineers was now upon us — and the time for doing something about it was drawing to a close.

If Dr. Ray Johnson has his way, that deficit will be a thing of the past sooner rather than later. As senior vice president and chief technology officer for Lockheed Martin Corporation, Johnson has been busy weighing in over what he sees as “nothing short of a crisis.”

Johnson’s stance goes beyond words. This year, he helped launch a partnership between the University of Maryland at College Park and Lockheed Martin. The goal is to focus more research and collaborative programs at the university, and, by extension, pave the way for future advances in cybersecurity and other key issues on the national front, such as healthcare, energy, and climate change. Johnson is also passionate about ensuring a diverse, educated workforce. It’s something for which others have taken note. In August, the Hispanic College Fund elected Johnson to its board of directors.

Over the past year, Johnson has also been busy helping Lockheed Martin tap into additional avenues for collaborative, world-class research. To positive conclusion, no less. In July, R&D Magazine named the global security company and Sandia National Laboratories’ research on multifunctional optical coatings one of the 100 greatest technologies of 2010. The technology opens the door to a repair system in which breakdowns can be addressed in the field rather than the factory, at significant cost savings.

Those strides in research — and in helping shape future generations of science and engineering professionals — speaks to one goal: “creating the future,” as Johnson puts it. As he recently told EarthSky: “Engineers of the future are going to develop clean and renewable energy sources. They’re going to continue to battle international terrorism. They’re going to continue to create new technologies to make our lives better.” Johnson, for his part, is doing his part to make sure we get there faster.

George Pedersen

He’s done it again. As George Pedersen continues to oversee ManTech’s push into defense and intelligence markets, ManTech’s chairman and CEO recently announced the company’s acquisition of MTCSC — a government contractor, based in Chula Vista, Calif., which provides cybersecurity, command, control, communications, intelligence, computers, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities.

“This acquisition fits well with ManTech’s long-term strategy of focusing on high-end defense and intelligence technology support,” Pederson said in November. “The Marine Corps and C4ISR will continue to get priority funding,” he added. MTCSC, which holds several large contracts with the U.S. Marine Corps, will join the ManTech’s Systems Engineering and Advanced Technology (SEAT) group.

ManTech’s acquisition of MTCSC, for $75 million, comes on the heels of another recent acquisition: In October, ManTech finalized its $60 million purchase of QinetiQ North America’s Security and Intelligence Solutions business.

In addition to those acquisitions, ManTech has seen several other solid gains of late. In November, the company was awarded part of a $30 billion contract with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to provide critical expertise in areas ranging from secured communications to tactical biometrics. Other wins, with the Navy and Army respectively, involve performing combat identification and air-traffic control systems and cellphone coverage to U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Now, with the most recent acquisitions, Pedersen is sending the message: ManTech intends to continue its ascent in key areas, including the highly-competitive C4ISR space. How that growth will unfold makes Pedersen a top federal contractor to watch over the year to come.

Stanley McChrystal

For those who thought they’d heard the last of Stanley McChrystal, think again. The retired four-star general is back, and he’s got something to say.

We all know the back story: In June, McChrystal became the subject of a now-infamous Rolling Stone profile; he later became the first general since Douglas MacArthur to be relieved of command by a U.S. president. For many, it was an unfortunate end to a military career that had included overseeing the capture of Saddam Hussein, the killing of Al-Qaeda’s Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and the troop surge in Afghanistan, before being named the U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

These days, however, McChrystal continues to weigh in on national security issues. Only this time, in civilian garb. In a recent talk at Cal Poly, McChrystal stated that U.S. security is tied to stability in Afghanistan. “We will benefit from stability in the region and pay for neglecting (to help create stability),” McChrystal said, according to The Tribune.

During his talk, McChrystal also addressed his relationship with Obama; it’s intact, he says. “I offered my resignation because I thought the furor over the article would make it difficult to accomplish the mission in Afghanistan,” he reportedly said.

McChrystal also recently shared (this time, at Yale University) his experiences as a career military officer. This past August, McChrystal was appointed a senior fellow at the university’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

What this former Special Operations officer has reportedly ruled out, though, is work for a defense contractor. “He wants to give back – that’s why he’s doing the . . . teaching – he might do it at the Army War College, too,” a former Pentagon colleague told TIME this past fall.

Regardless of where McChrystal lands next, one thing’s certain: He’ll still have plenty more to say about the war in Afghanistan and what, he believes, is the United States’ best course of action in navigating the road ahead.

Letitia Long

There are 16 major intelligence agencies — and not one of them has ever had a female leader. Until now.

This past August, Letitia Long was named the first woman to head a major U.S. intelligence agency. As the new director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency — the third largest intelligence agency — Long is tasked with guiding the organization, which deciphers spy satellite images from the world’s troubled hot spots, from Iran to North Korea.

A 32-year veteran of the government intelligence trade, Long previously served as the second in command at the Defense Intelligence Agency. She had previously served at the agency in the 1990s, as deputy director for information systems and services. She also served as DIA’s first chief information officer. Long’s expertise also included time at the CIA, where she ran its Intelligence Community outreach arm.

In her new role, Long oversees a multibillion-dollar budget, as well as thousands of employees. Expectations, throughout, are high that Long will bring new focus to the agency. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, for one, has called Long the right person, at the right time.

Long, for her part, keeps a low profile, saying, simply, that she’s taken over one of the “top computer geek shops” in the national security arena. That’s no joke. Established in 1996, the agency is now housed in a high-tech campus in Springfield, Va. The newness of the facility, coupled with the growing importance of intelligence and geospatial work, make Long a key government figure to watch in 2011. Especially among contractors, looking to grow in what’s proving strong territory: geospatial and cybersecurity domains.

Duane Andrews

When you think of NASA, what’s the first thing comes to mind: “innovation” or “budget cuts”?

If the latter, you could be forgiven. A bleak panel finding released more than a year ago, along with President Barack Obama’s cancellation of the agency’s Constellation program to get astronauts to the moon by 2020 (and Mars by 2030), have left NASA’s innovation efforts waiting in the wings.

Now, that reality, and NASA’s overall image, may be changing, slowly, with a little help from Duane Andrews and the defense and technology company that he leads. Recently, QinentiQ North America was tapped to provide engineering services and products to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The contract, which has a base period of five years, could top $1.96 billion.

Pending final details, the work is also likely to include a long litany of goals: among them, design and development of ground systems and equipment for handling, test, checkout, servicing, and other ground processing of launch vehicles, spacecraft, and payloads; as well as flight systems engineering and support engineering for space flight hardware and software.

The news has already piqued the interest, not to mention enthusiasm, of more than a few investors. Upon news of the contract win, shares in QinetiQ rose as much as 3 percent. Will that optimism continue? Looking to 2011, Duane Andrews, and his team leading the NASA effort, may offer a few answers.

Steve Hawkins

By the time you’re done reading this sentence, it will have been too late.

That’s how Steve Hawkins sees the current cybersecurity challenges, where it’s often a matter of milliseconds — or less — before a threat has to be addressed. Or serious consequences are the result.

Hawkins knows. As vice president of Information Security Solutions for Raytheon, he’s seen cyber technology move at a dizzying pace. Whereas just 15 years ago you could devote a few years to design and field a system, today industry is expected to deliver upgrades monthly — sometimes even every 30 minutes.

Hawkins is helping Raytheon — a $25 billion-plus defense and aerospace corporation — deliver on that need for rapid-fire response. One of the company’s key approaches, over the last year, has been to collaborate with industry, commercial partners, and national labs in building a new analytics system that easily scales what has been described as trillions of entities in a highly distributable — and extendable — framework.

“With nearly a third of all humans on the internet, the civil, commercial, and military worlds are swimming in data — in fact, too much data,” Hawkins said this past June. “It is imperative for today’s defense establishment to ensure both scalability and operability when deriving actionable intelligence from increasingly staggering volumes of intelligence data coming in to the various branches of government.”

Raytheon’s slew of analytics tools and services are helping to meet that challenge. “Analytics is the key to outmaneuvering our adversaries in the face of the staggering volume, variety, and velocity of information in cyberspace,” Hawkins said. “Raytheon understands that collaboration is critical to success in cryptoanalysis and cyberspace for both offense and defense,” he added.

Other Raytheon solutions ahead include hunting down malware on data at rest. As Hawkins recently told The New New Internet: “Our next range of products . . .  will literally go back and look throughout your enterprise for where there may have been malware five to 10 years ago.” And in that effort, Hawkins plans to offer up a response. In a millisecond. Or less.

Eric Spiegel

It wasn’t the Fourth of July. But it sure felt like it recently in Hutchinson, Kansas. As Siemens President and CEO Eric Spiegel fielded questions from a Bloomberg reporter, fireworks went off in the background. All for one reason: People were celebrating. For good reason, too.

At a time when the rest of the United States is reeling from the latest jobs report, Spiegel is helping this small town in western Kansas buck the national trend. In early December, Spiegel helped kicked off the opening of a wind turbine plant in Hutchinson. It currently employs 130 workers, and plans to bring on board an additional 400 people by the end of 2011.

As Spiegel sees it, wind energy holds “huge potential” in the United States. That’s not just talk, either. Well before Spiegel joined Siemens Corporation (the U.S. arm of Siemens AG) in January 2010, he was known as an expert on the global energy industry.

In 2009, as a senior partner with Booz & Company, Spiegel co-authored a book, Energy Shift: Game Changing Options for Fueling the Future, in which he argued that every chief executive and senior manager will have to confront the consequences of an unstable energy market over the next 20 years.

Spiegel’s own interest in energy started early, during his childhood days in the steel town of Youngstown, Ohio. “I saw that even though the steel and power industries kept the economy going, they were doing quite a bit of damage to the environment,” Spiegel recently told The Washington Post.

Now, Spiegel is helping Siemens lead the way in offering answers to renewable energy. Among those efforts is its robust research and development program (the corporation has an R&D center in Boulder, Colo.) It’s that continued investment — and personal passion — that make Spiegel a key CEO to watch in 2011.

Keith Alexander

This past May, four-star Army Gen. Keith Alexander took on a critical new title: In addition to his role as head of the National Security Agency, he became commander of the newly created U.S. Cyber Command, a subdivision of the U.S. Strategic Command. Since then, Alexander has been sounding the alarm: It’s not a matter of “if” but “when” the United States will be hit with a “destructive attack.”

The United States is already getting a taste, with “Operation Payback.” Whether those efforts prove destructive on a greater scale, they stand as a harbinger of what’s to come: asymmetrical warfare in cyberspace.

Along with that uncertainty comes another question, this time on the budgetary front. On the heels of Department of Defense’s efficiency initiatives, questions remain about how funding will play out for U.S. Cyber Command well into 2012. Alexander recently spoke to that budgetary uncertainty.

“Based on the Secretary of Defense’s announced efficiency initiative, we are examining how we support this important program and how it might affect us at U.S. Cyber Command,” Alexander said in a statement before the House Committee on Armed Services. “It is possible that resources saved from the stand-down of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration will boost U.S. Cyber Command. The command’s requirements, along with those of the rest of the department, are being reviewed now and will be addressed in the fiscal year 2012 budget.”

Whatever the final determination, firms with cybersecurity offerings will certainly be watching. In the meantime, Alexander’s role in the cyber spotlight makes him a leading person to watch in 2011 and beyond.

Tom Anderson

This past March, Tom Anderson was tapped president of Wyle Information Systems Group. He came on board the aerospace, life sciences, and information systems company with one overarching goal: to stimulate and grow the business. It’s something that his background made him well-suited for; he brings 28 years of corporate leadership to the position – large and small business experience, in both P&L and marketing.

Since his start at Wyle, Anderson has made several strategic hires: among them, a highly respected leadership team that can fill key positions including BD and general managers for defense and civilian agencies. He also brought forward a new business strategy that aligns with other Wyle business: aerospace, science, and engineering. Plus, he’s created a solutions-based organization, focused on enterprise, cyber and business offerings.

Anderson started his career in information systems when he joined Boeing Computer Services in 1981. He later joined Federal Data Corporation and saw it through its sale to the Carlyle Group and then to Northrop Grumman. He then joined Raytheon as COO of Raytheon Information Solutions. He spent his last six years with CSC, most recently as president of the Civil and Health Services Group.

In addition to his role, Anderson has taken on a larger role, industrywide. Recently, he was elected chairman of TechAmerica public sector (2011-2013). He also chairs the Technology Management Capstone Board at George Mason University.

Looking ahead, Anderson is focused on a variety of fronts.

“The organization has performed work as a solutions integrator for many clients,” Anderson said in a recent interview with us. He added: “I look forward to building on this baseline and I think we have just the right team to make this happen. I think that you will see an increased level of participation of Wyle leadership in industry programs and associated sponsorships. With respect to the federal IT community, we are becoming very actively engaged in organizations and sponsorship. Part of the branding initiative is to get our name out in that way. One of the interests that I personally have is to be able to address the local community by giving back through support of various service activities and events. You will see more of that in the future.”

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The FBI has posted a request for information on software applications designed to help users create information technology architecture models and map a portfolio of IT projects.

Retired Lt. Gen. Kevin McLaughlin Joins Tyto Athene Executive Advisory Board; Jeff Murray Quoted

Tyto Athene announced on Tuesday that Kevin McLaughlin, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant general, has been appointed to the company’s executive advisory board. He joins Tyto Athene to assist in the growth of the company’s Department of Defense and cyber strategies.