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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

SRA's DiPentima honored for a career of generosity

As Kay Kapoor, head of AT&T’s federal business, introduced Renny DiPentima as the President’s Award winner at last night’s Federal 100 gala, one word she used to describe him stood out to me: Generous.

I know DiPentima’s generosity first hand. When I started as a reporter with Washington Technology, I knew very little about the government market and the IT business. At the time I met him, DiPentima was the chief operating officer at SRA International after completing a stellar career at the Social Security Administration where he essentially was the first chief information officer for a federal agency.

As I said, I had little knowledge of the federal market and government contracting and DiPentima became my go-to-guy. I’d call him about any new topic that I was struggling with to understand as I wrote my stories.

The interviews were more like history lessons. I’d ask a question and he’d say, “Well, you have to understand...” and he’d give me the back story. I owe a great debt of gratitude for the success I’ve had here Washington Technology because I know he saved me from looking stupid many times.

I know I’m not the only one he did that for. In her introduction, Kapoor relayed how she was one of DiPentima’s students when she was in college. He later became her customer and eventually a competitor, but he was always a mentor to her.

In his acceptance speech, DiPentima told the crowd to take advantage of mentoring opportunities and to both give and receive advice, counsel and encouragement.

It also fitting that Dan Chenok, executive director of the IBM Center for the Business of Government, won an Eagle Award the same night that DiPentima was honored. DiPentima hired Chenok in 2003 to come to SRA when he was ending his government career. Chenok led IT policy efforts at the Office of Management and Budget.

Chenok is one among many former government officials that DiPentima helped make the transition from the public sector to the private sector.

Given DiPentima’s other passion that Kapoor talked about – the mission of government – it is no surprise that he helps others.

As he said in his acceptance speech, he feels he’s never left government service. It has been a 50-year career for him.

“When I left government, I only changed one letter. I went from SSA to SRA,” he joked.

Chenok’s recognition last night was for the work he has done in the past year and not over his own successful career in and out of government.

His recognition this year is for his work as chairman of the Industry Advisory Council, which ended last summer. He’s also working on efforts for the next presidential transition, a role he played in 2008 and 2009. He’s also a fellow at the National Academy of Public Administration and a CIO SAGE at the Partnership for Public Service.

The Fed 100 gala also recognized Mary Davie as the public sector Eagle winner. She manages a workforce that oversees 7,000 contracts and $3.5 billion in annual federal spending as the assistant commissioner of the Office of Integrated Technology Services at GSA.

She’s deeply involved in multiple efforts to improve the efficiency of how the government buys goods and services including category management, the NS2020 procurement and revamping of the Alliant and Schedule 70 offerings. She also has led development of GSA’s Acquisition Gateway.

She was hailed last night as the great communicator and under her leadership, GSA has greatly increased its outreach to industry as it develops new contracts and procurement policies.

DiPentima, Chenok and Davie were the headliners last night, but the gala also recognized 100 people who have gone above and beyond in their work with the government. Most are government insiders but there are 20-some from industry as well. To read more about the winners see FCW’s coverage

It was a fun night, and it was good to reconnect with DiPentima. Few people in my career have been as gracious and kind and, of course, generous to me.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Apr 08, 2016 at 8:27 AM


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