Common cause

Channel Leader awardees hail from different types of firms but face similar challenges in their quest for success <@VM>Peter Anderson, Computer Systems Center Inc.<@VM>Greg Brewer, SecureInfo Corp.<@VM>Mike Brokaw, VMD Systems Integrators Inc.<@VM>Michael Byrd, Red Hat Inc. <@VM>Josh Furrer, PacStar Communications<@VM>Natalie Jackson Cannady , EMC Corp.<@VM>Beth Gorko, General Dynamics Corp.<@VM>Alex Hart, Symantec Corp.<@VM>Robert Hull, General Dynamics Corp.<@VM>Will Jones, Director of Sales, Intelligence Solutions Team<@VM>Dennis Kappeler, DLT Solutions Inc.<@VM>Vikki Kestell, Echota Technologies Corp.<@VM>Jim McIntosh, Censeo Consulting Group<@VM>Bahar Niakan, STG International Inc.<@VM>John O'Sullivan, Harris Corp.<@VM>Douglas Shorter, Harris Corp.<@VM>Frank Truslow, Ace Info Solutions Inc.<@VM>How we found our leaders

Channel Award Leaders

Check out some of the Channel Award winners in this Washington Technology slideshow.

Back row: Beth Gorko, Douglas Shorter, Dennis Kappeler, Jim McIntosh, Mike Brokaw. Second row: Will Jones, Alex Hart. Seated: Natalie Jackson Cannady, Frank Truslow.

Rick Steele

By Nick Wakeman

Diversity is the most apparent hallmark of this year's 17 Channel Leaders; they come from a range of companies serving the government market.

Large traditional prime contractors such as Harris Corp. and General Dynamics Corp. are represented, down to small information technology services companies, such as STG International Inc. and Ace Info Solutions Inc.

There are also representatives from product companies such as EMC Corp., Red Hat
Inc. and Symantec Corp.

The Channel Leaders drawn from their ranks share many traits in common. Chief among these traits is knowing and understanding the customer.

Someone like Michael Byrd, director of government sales at Red Hat, has two sets of customers. One is the user at various government agencies and the other is Red Hat's business partners.

Although the company would not name its customer because it was an intelligence agency, Byrd worked with Dell Inc. and BAE Systems Inc. to build a data collection and analysis system. He created a structure that simplified the purchasing process allowing the intelligence agency and BAE to concentrate on the mission of tracking sensitive data, not figuring out how to buy the products and services for the system.

Beth Gorko, a project manager at General Dynamics, knew her customer, the Coast Guard, well enough to bring together different offices at that service with related offices at the Navy and the Defense Information Systems Agency. Together they are improving intelligence-sharing capabilities to enhance maritime domain
awareness and port security.

Peter Anderson, chief technology officer at Computer Systems Center Inc., spent two years collecting user requirements to build a trusted information infrastructure for
classified information at the Defense Department.

Many of the Channel Leaders share that kind of dedication to the customer.

But these people work in the private sector, so they must serve their customers and their companies.

Will Jones created an intelligence solutions team at Carahsoft Technology Corp., and subsequently, revenue from intelligence customers increased fivefold. His work also brought new technology companies into the government market for the first time.

Jim McIntosh, a director at Censeo Consulting Group was the project manager for the Army-Air Force Wireless Strategic Sourcing Initiative, which applied the services'
buying power for wireless devices. The project's success led to work with other agencies.

For some Channel Leaders, their recognition also is a testament to their companies.

DLT Solutions Inc. gives Dennis Kappeler, a program manager the flexibility he needs to meet family obligations, such as caring for his 6-year-old twins. He regularly puts his children to bed and then goes back to work in his home office.

No matter what hours they keep, this year's Channel Leaders teach lessons of dedication, resourcefulness and initiative that we all can learn from.
Chief technology officer

Computer Systems Center Inc.

Springfield, Va.

Customer: Defense Department

How the customer benefited: Anderson led efforts that resulted in a trusted information infrastructure for the Defense Department. The infrastructure allows different parts of DOD to use a common network without sacrificing security. They can access and process information as if each were using a separate, independent classified network.

What makes him a leader: The process of building and certifying the trusted information infrastructure took several years. Anderson took two years to compile more than 800 user requirements and 1,800 operational user requirements. These requirements were the foundation of the infrastructure. Anderson also worked with four companies, three DOD agencies and three other countries to build a laboratory integration and test environment. The work led to the creation of the Coalition Warfighter Integration Demonstration, which tested and demonstrated the concepts behind the Coalition Secure Management and Operations System. The system is now being used in Afghanistan for secure information sharing.

He also helped his company grow by more than 47 percent since 2001 and reach nearly 200 employees.Senior security consultant and Pacific Air Forces Information Assurance team leader

SecureInfo Corp.

McLean, Va.

Customer: Pacific Air Forces Headquarters, Hickman Air Force Base, Hawaii
How the customer benefited: Brewer led a project to build and implement enterprisewide information assurance services for the Pacific Air Forces that ultimately lowered the cost of conducting information assurance assessments by 40 percent.

What makes him a leader: Brewer grew a security compliance project from a one-year consulting engagement to a four-year information assurance contract with a scope of work that included both guidance and support. He did so by using existing resources and providing a standardized approach to compliance status and metrics for a far-flung military command with 23 critical networks that stretch across 13 time zones.

In appreciation for his work with the service, Brewer received three Commander Coins from top-level Air Force officials to honor the information assurance guidance that he provided to the commands and the Air Force personnel he mentored. These coins are usually given only to military personnel.

The Air Force Audit Agency cited SecureInfo's information assurance project as the best of its kind in the Air Force. Brewer continues to drive additional business for SecureInfo throughout the Pacific Rim. For example, he identified seven noncompliant systems that resulted in additional revenue outside the scope of the original contract.Consulting services director

VMD Systems Integrators Inc.

Vienna, Va.

Customers: Federal Aviation Administration and Veterans Affairs Department

How the customers benefited: For the Federal Aviation Administration, Brokaw helped coordinate an effort to create a Web application to collect and manage reports on 12,000 annual air safety incidents. More than 10,000 people use the system. The system allows broader access to analytical data and is helping FAA develop new safety measures.

For the Veterans Affairs Department, Brokaw led an effort to develop a system to manage physical assets, such as medical centers, clinics and regional offices. The system will guide management of major construction projects, develop reports requested by Congress and improve financial management.

What makes him a leader: Brokaw has been instrumental in VMD growing from about 21 employees and $2.3 million in revenue at the beginning of 2006 to more than 40 employees and $6 million in revenue by June. The company also went from having no prime contracts to holding five prime contracts. For the FAA project, Brokaw pulled together a team of government experts and other contractors. He also established a mentor/protégé relationship with L-3 Communications Inc.Director, government channel sales, Red Hat Inc.

Raleigh, N.C.

Customer: classified

How the customer benefited: An intelligence agency needed the ability to gather data and analyze it quickly. Byrd led a team including Red Hat, Dell Inc. and BAE Systems Inc. to build the data system under tight budget constraints and with demanding growth requirements.

What makes him a leader: Byrd came to Red Hat specifically to build the government channel, which has doubled each of the last three years. Byrd established partnerships with resellers, systems integrators, original equipment distributors and others to make Red Hat more easily accessible to the government customer.

As the leader of the government channel team, he has built on those partnerships and also used innovative strategies such as a subscription renewal program that makes customers more predictable.
Director, Strategic Initiatives, PacStar Communications

Portland, Ore.

Customer: Central Command

How the customer benefited: The Central Command was able to quickly deploy a secure communications system for the Afghan National Army and train Afghan nationals to operate it.

What makes him a leader: Putting the equipment together was the easy part for Furrer ? developing a training system for people who had little computer experience and spoke little English was more difficult. Furrer first had all the manuals for the PacStar system and related equipment translated to Dari, the main Afghan language. Then he trained the trainers. To keep the project on track, Furrer held weekly conference calls with his team and his customer to discuss issues and identify unmet needs. Furrer's work also helped identify other business opportunities for PacStar, and the value of the original contract tripled in just more than a year. Some of the extra work included developing a remedial information technology training course to raise the skill level of the Afghan personnel.
Senior Project Manager, EMC Corp.

Hopkinton, Mass.

Customer: Transportation Security Administration

How the customer benefited: Cannady's flexibility, management expertise and timely delivery of services helped the Transportation Security Administration with a comprehensive redesign of its Microsoft infrastructure. The need for a more scalable and robust Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange platform is crucial to TSA's ability to perform its mission and communicate with other federal agencies.

What makes her a leader: Cannady's leadership landed EMC more work with TSA and garnered excellent performance ratings. Her team completed the initial five-month design and consulting project ahead of schedule and under the estimated cost. The new design, which TSA has accepted, gives the agency a Microsoft infrastructure that is scalable, secure and manageable. After completing that aspect of the project, EMC was retained as an adviser to help guide the implementation of the redesign.

Cannady's aptitude for understanding and embracing TSA's mission went a long way toward the company's success on the project. Throughout the assignment, she and the members of her team stayed abreast of future product changes that could affect design efforts and closely monitored costs to stay within budget. She built a solid foundation of trust with the customer.
Project manager, General Dynamics Corp.

Falls Church, Va.

Customer: Coast Guard

How the customer benefited: Gorko is General Dynamics Information Technology's project manager for the Vessel Tracking Project, a four-year, $31 million Coast Guard and Navy research and development effort. The project will improve intelligence-sharing capabilities to enhance maritime domain awareness and port security.

What makes her a leader: Although the contract is managed by the Coast Guard Office of Research, Development and Technology Management, the project is a joint effort that involves other Coast Guard offices in addition to parts of the Navy and the Defense Information Systems Agency. Communication and coordination among these groups is critical to the project's success. Gorko established a project management office. She also plans and manages all Coast Guard-related activities for the project. She established relationships with the other stakeholders and created a system to schedule the resources the vessel-tracking project needs to reach its objectives.
Director, Public Sector Sales Channel, Symantec Corp.

Cupertino, Calif.

Customers: Tarrant County, Texas, and the state of Iowa

How the customers benefited: Hart led a team that helped Tarrant County, Texas, implement antivirus and intrusion protection software to reduce the customer's exposure to malware and block potential data breaches. He also led a team that helped Iowa deploy a standard approach to security across several state agencies using the company's products. Hart also worked closely with a logistics partner, Insight, to help Iowa develop a statewide approach to procurement that involved aggregating multiple smaller purchases from disparate agencies in a way that produced greater efficiencies and substantial cost savings.

What makes him a leader: Hart has a sixth sense when it comes to customer needs. As a seven-year veteran of Symantec's Public Sector Channel organization, he works with Symantec's channel partners to make sure they understand the company's products and how they can help customers.

Hart established programs tailored to Symantec's public-sector customers ? such as the Government and Academic Authorization Program and the State Master Aggregator Contracts ? to meet the unique needs of government and academia. Furthermore, Hart incorporated feedback from public-sector clients to Symantec's Partner and Opportunity Registration programs.

Hart helped establish a distinct pricing and licensing program for Symantec products and solutions targeted to meet specific needs of customers in the state and local government and education communities. Seeing a need for greater synergy among Symantec resellers, Hart facilitated cooperative arrangements that brought partners with high-end technical skills and small and disadvantaged business status into the fold so they could team with companies holding existing state contracts. This effort resulted in successful partnerships on enterprise opportunities in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Texas.
Program manager, General Dynamics Corp.

Falls Church, Va.

Customer: Air Force Research Laboratory

How the customer benefited: Hull coordinated General Dynamics' Laser Materials Testing contract with a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between General Dynamics and the Air Force Research Laboratory to increase the innovative use of the Laser Hardened Materials Evaluation Laboratory and its 150-kilowatt carbon dioxide laser. Enhancements that Hull orchestrated through the contract and CRADA led to a 60 percent increase in the testing and data production carried out at the materials lab.

What makes him a leader: Hull knows how to emphasize the Air Force Research Lab's objectives and requirements while placing equal weight on the business and growth factors that allow his company to flourish.

Drawing on his materials engineering background, Hull can interact with the laboratory's technical experts, while his understanding of the customer gives him the insight needed to advance the lab's interests.

As a result of his efforts, multiple General Dynamics Information Technology business partners and government organizations benefit from the Laser Hardened Materials Evaluation Laboratory facilities. Through his innovative thinking, he created a situation where General Dynamics Information Technology, its partners and the Air Force Research Lab are all active stakeholders in the materials lab, with equal incentive to promote and advocate use of the laser and the lab's other facilities.
Carahsoft Technology Corp.

Reston, Va.

Customers: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency

How the customers benefited: Jones and his team at Carahsoft helped identify and pull together ? in an integrated solution ? several cutting-edge technologies that will help with faster intelligence analysis. For example, the Defense Department needed a unique Arabic translation system. Jones' team pulled together products from Language Weaver Inc. and Novodynamics Inc. to build a system that scans Arabic documents, translates them and stores the information.

What makes him a leader: Jones has built an intelligence solutions team that concentrates on using products from companies in the In-Q-Tel portfolio. In-Q-Tel is the CIA's venture capital firm that funds companies with promising technologies for the intelligence community. Jones' team is the fastest-growing unit in Carahsoft. The team's revenues have increased by five times.

The vendors on Jones' team also have been successful. One, Endeca Technologies Inc., has seen its government business triple since working with Carahsoft. Another, piXlogic, did its first DOD work through Jones' team.
Program Manager, DLT Solutions Inc.

Herndon, Va.

Customer: Internal Revenue Service

How the customer benefited: Kappeler identified contractual oversights in a multiyear, multimillion-dollar project and was able to point them out in time to avert serious problems.

What makes him a leader: Kappeler started working with DLT as a part-time consultant, but during the past three years he has become an integral part of the company's staff, in large part because of leadership skills that include an eye for practicality. He carved a niche for himself at DLT with well-executed, customer-centric services delivered in a fast and flexible environment. He balances a hectic job with a family life and finds ways to meet the needs of both.

He is a father of 6-year-old twins, and sometimes he puts the twins to bed and then return e-mail messages to West Coast clients. That makes him responsive to the customer needs without sacrificing family time.
Program Manager, Echota Technologies Corp.

Maryville, Tenn.

Customer: Energy Department

How the customer benefited: Kestell developed a learning management system that let the Energy Department's National Training Center remotely host courses from the department's online learning center without having to redevelop existing courses to comply with the Sharable Content Object Reference Model.

What makes her a leader: Kestell's solution will save about $10,000 a course.

The National Training Center will share the solution with the rest of the Energy Department. Kestell documented the process she used and will train other parts of DOE to launch their content through the learning management system. Other parts of the government also use courses that will be managed through the learning management system.
Director, Censeo Consulting Group


Customer: Army and Air Force

How the customer benefited: McIntosh served as the project manager for the Army-Air Wireless Strategic Sourcing Initiative, which is estimated to save $50 million to $100 million on what the two services spend on cell phones, Blackberrys and other handheld devices.

What makes him a leader: Working with the Army Contracting Agency and the Air Force Information Technology Commodity Council, McIntosh formed a commodity council for wireless devices that pulled in acquisition professionals and information technology experts from across the Army and Air Force. The council looked at how the services could apply their buying power and how military personnel were using wireless devices.

Censeo Chief Executive Officer Raj Sharma says the wireless initiative is the company's flagship. Director, Human Resources Solutions, STG International Inc.

Alexandria, Va.

Customer: Health and Human Services Department

How the customer benefited: Niakan, after coming to STG from the Health and Human Services Department in 2005, instituted human resources practices to help STG serve the department. As STG's services expanded to include 12 divisions within HHS' Office of the Secretary Executive Office and also grew in other parts of HHS, she added contract support staff and implemented divisionwide standard operating practices to deliver consistent service.

What makes her a leader: Niakan doubled the Human Resources Solutions division staff, from 170 to 340, and added senior medical writing, law and logistics management to the division's core competencies. Practices she instituted for her division ? including digitizing contract documentation ? have since been adopted companywide. This aggressive expansion, coupled with her ability to maintain efficiency and effectiveness through a period of growth, makes her a valuable leader.
Program Manager, Federal Aviation Administration , Harris Corp.

Melbourne, Fla.

Customer: Federal Aviation Administration

How the customer benefited: O'Sullivan supervises the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure Program, which is expected to save the Federal Aviation Administration hundreds of millions of dollars while modernizing its network to support advanced air traffic control systems.

What makes him a leader: O'Sullivan led Harris' pursuit of the FTI contract, then created a business model for it based on a partnership with the agency. The model aligns the objectives of agency and contractor through incentives for superb performance. O'Sullivan also keeps a sharp eye on the project and adjusted the transition schedule to make a higher priority of some hub airports so that they would get the lower-cost FTI system sooner. O'Sullivan also created a team to work in partnership with Lockheed Martin Corp. and FAA in support of Lockheed Martin's work in taking over control of FAA's Automated Flight Service Stations, which were moving from government control to the contractor.
Vice President and Program Manager, Patriot Program, Harris Corp.

Melbourne, Fla.

Customer: National Reconnaissance Office

How the customer benefited: With his colleagues, Shorter helped implement substantial improvements to the way the National Reconnaissance Office Patriot program operates and manages its critical communications and information systems. By closely working with the customer, he devised ways to improve system continuity, improve property management and inventory oversight, and deploy commercial best practices that led to a more stable and reliable information technology infrastructure.

What makes him a leader: As a result of his work with NRO, Shorter helped the company increase its sales while reducing the cost to the company of the services it delivers. Through close monitoring of the services provided under the contract, he increased the company's performance on average from 84 percent to 90 percent for the program's 28 service-level agreements. He also helped reduce the penalties the company incurs when performance slips.
Project Manager, Ace Info Solutions Inc.

Reston, Va.

Customer: Environmental Protection Agency

How the customer benefited: In an environment in which new software releases were not previously delivered on time and documentation of the architecture was done only at the hardware level, Truslow consistently delivered quarterly maintenance releases on time and created a new, updated architecture for mission-critical systems.

What makes him a leader: When it was time to move the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Pesticide Program from Crystal Mall 2 in Arlington, Va., to new digs at Potomac Yard in Alexandria, Va., Truslow played a key role in coordinating the move during an eight-month period from October 2005 to June 2006.

The move involved transporting 900 desktop PCs, reconfiguring machines quickly, and developing an automated Lotus Notes upload, and installing routing for all users. To keep everyone and every task on track, Truslow developed a template that allowed all users to see the status of each task with traffic-light color coding of green (on schedule), yellow (task slipping) and red (task late).

After he took the program manager position, Truslow had maintenance releases back on track in less than a year and created an updated architecture for the office's information system.

Truslow not only helped Ace Info build a solid record of past performance with EPA but also grew its work from a single contract with five employees worth $4.5 million to four contracts with more than 20 employees valued at more than $10 million.
This year's Channel Leaders were nominated by customers, co-workers and supervisors. They were evaluated on three criteria.
  • 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.

With this award program, we wanted to recognize the people in the trenches working directly with customers. In short, these are the people who are making a difference for their customers and their companies.

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