TAKING THE REINS: ALAN BALUTIS

TAKING THE REINS: ALAN BALUTIS

Alan Balutis

Position:

Executive director and chief operating officer, the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils and the Industry Advisory Council, Washington

First day on the new job:

March 26

Age: 55

Hometown: Utica, N.Y.

Home now: Arlington, Va.

Family:

"A lovely wife" and two children in college: Julie, 20; Adam, 19

Most recently read book:

"Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition" by Dennis N.T. Perkins

FAVORITES:

Artist: Salvador Dali

Singer: Diane Krall

Author: Albert Camus

Actor: Humphrey Bogart

Restaurant: The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Minneapolis

Food: Sushi

Music: "Golden oldies, especially the Everly Brothers ? or as my son calls them, the Elderly Brothers."

TV Show: "The Sopranos"

Vacation Spot: Sydney, Australia

Hobby: Gardening

Book: "Public Philosophy" by Walter Lippman

Quote: Families are like peanut brittle; it takes a lot of sweetness to hold all the nuts together.

Best career advice you ever received:
"It is the role of the career public servant to speak truth to power."

Education:

Bachelor of arts from Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y. Master of arts and Ph.D from the Graduate School of Public Affairs, State University of New York at Albany

Career Background:

Assistant professor of political science at SUNY at
Buffalo.

Came to Washington in 1975 as a National Association of Schools and Public Affairs and Administration Fellow.

Worked for almost 27 years in the public sector, serving first in the then-Department of Health, Education and Welfare; then for the past 20 years in planning, management analysis, budgeting and information technology positions at the Commerce Department. Head of the Advanced Technology Program at Commerce, which functions as a public-sector venture capital fund investing in long-term, high-risk research and development.

In your role with FGIPC and IAC, what do you see as your first order of business?
I plan to start off listening and learning, meeting and speaking with a number of key stakeholders in the two organizations. What are we doing right?

What could we do more or less of? What are their ideas for improving and strengthening two already vital organizations? How can we build stronger links between them?

I feel that many management issues in life are Rashomon-like: truth in its various forms. So I like to try to get multiple perspectives and see whether I can't use them to triangulate on the key initiatives, problems and opportunities.

What is the biggest change for you in taking this new role?
Industry marketing representatives don't laugh quite as heartily at my jokes as they used to when I made major acquisition decisions for government.

Actually, I'm expecting a rather smooth transition, since I'll be working on many of the same issues I have in government for the last several years as a member of the Federal CIO Council, but from only a slightly different position and perspective.

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