Special Report | Channel leaders: Push for efficiency

Douglas Gilbert, director of Energy Department operations, Verizon Federal Network Systems

The leaders

» Mark Blevins

Perot Government Systems

Vice president of civilian services

» Jerold Clark Jr.

Anteon International Corp.

Senior group manager of operational intelligence

» Douglas Gilbert

Verizon Federal Network Systems

Director, Energy Dept. operations

» Bhaskaran Jayaraman

Avineon Inc.

IT director

» Kevin Lee

Health Management Systems Inc.

Vice president and senior program director

» Eric Olson

InfoReliance Corp.

Director of Marine programs

» Greg Pellegrino

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Public sector global managing director

» Tim Schilbach

Apogen Technologies Inc.

Project manager

» William Smithson

SI International Inc

Vice president of financial systems applications development

» Heinz Wimmer

Analex Corp.

Vice president of central operations

How we found our leaders

The Washington Technology Channel Leaders were picked from nominations submitted by our readers. The editorial staff read the nominations and judged them on the following:

» How the person helped a federal, state or local government agency fulfill its mission

» How the person helped his or her company meet growth, positioning and profitability goals

» How the person showed creativity, leadership and good partnership in the delivery of products or services to a government customer.

Nominations of chief executive officers, division presidents and executive vice presidents were not accepted. Instead, we wanted to recognize the people in the trenches: program and project managers and sales and business development executives. These are the people who touch and interact with government customers daily.

"Our customers have been asking us to find ways to make our operations more efficient ... and to reduce costs," says Douglas Gilbert.

Rick Steele

The small iron-ore mining town of Hibbing, Minn., has put itself on the map by producing some of the top leaders in industries from entertainment and sports to the law. It is the hometown of singer and songwriter Bob Dylan, National Basketball Association Hall of Famer Kevin McHale, baseball home-run king Roger Maris and famed attorney Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted Charles Manson and wrote of the crimes in the book "Helter Skelter."

The town of about 17,000 people in the northeastern section of the state also is the hometown of Douglas Gilbert. The director of Energy Department operations at Verizon Federal Network Systems oversees the company's group that deliver voice, video and data services at six sites, including the Argonne National Laboratory, Savannah River Site, Sandia National Laboratory and department headquarters in Washington. Verizon FNS is a unit of Verizon Communications Inc.

"Our customers have been asking us to find ways to make our operations more efficient, to make [the customers] more efficient and to reduce costs," said Gilbert, a former Navy officer who directs a staff of 125 people.

Gilbert in 2004 devised a plan to help the Energy Department's operations teams and customers respond to technology changes, such as converged networks, and to budget restraints caused by diversion of funds to the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.

At Argonne National Laboratory, for example, Gilbert's group installed an IP telecommunications network. At Savannah River, his group restructured the organization to foster collaboration by minimizing conflicts among team members and stressing operational goals over individual performance. And at Sandia, Gilbert's efforts won Verizon FNS recognition as a Sandia Strategic Supplier, the only large business among 6,000 suppliers recognized for providing outstanding services to the lab's operations. His groups have cut costs by between 25 percent and 40 percent at every Energy Department site where Verizon works, Gilbert said.

This year, the company's Sandia team won the lab's President's Quality Award, which is rarely given to outside contractors. Gilbert's Savannah-FNS team in March was one a few teams selected from 3,140 nominees to win a Verizon Excellence Award.

The payoff for Verizon? The Energy Department renewed four contracts and another was won through an open competition, said Forrest Siburt, a consultant in business development at Verizon FNS.

In the years ahead, as there are more communication advances, incorporating new technologies at Energy Department sites will still be his biggest challenge, Gilbert said.

"The remote and dispersed sites that I'm servicing today are excellent proving grounds to demonstrate the different types of things we can do [with communications technology] and the different types of techniques we can employ to deliver this service in challenging areas," Gilbert said. "I hope to stay with this and see it all come through."

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