The 2024 Federal 100

Meet the outstanding individuals being honored for their exceptional contributions to federal IT.

Every year, we honor a select group of exceptional individuals for their contributions to public sector technology with the Federal 100 awards. 

The awards focus on individual achievement in the previous year, and they spotlight the range of important work being done throughout the federal IT community. The selections invariably reflect trends in technology and policy. This year, we saw winning nominations for achievements in cybersecurity, customer experience, service delivery and artificial intelligence. In addition to career civil servants, the list includes members of Congress, industry leaders, scientists and entrepreneurs. As always, there were far more outstanding nominations than a list of 100 can accommodate. 

The individuals you’ll meet in these profiles are largely unsung heroes. There’s an old saying in journalism that nobody writes about the planes that land. But our winners and inductees have generally made their mark by bringing home essential projects and spotting problems before they make headlines. Government simply would not function without the talent, dedication and drive of individuals like the ones featured here, and we’re proud to spotlight them year after year.

The federal government is a massive enterprise, where individual efforts can seem insignificant. Yet the Federal 100 program makes it clear that exceptional individuals can empower the government to deliver dramatically better results. Read each profile, and we think you’ll agree: Government has its challenges, but this community is rich in the talent and tenacity needed to tackle them. 

— The editors

James Adams

Senior Advisor, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

As a senior advisor at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, Adams has worked to craft a strategic framework that addresses the risks and benefits posed by the rapid advent of artificial intelligence. Adams helps devise tactical solutions to more existential problems in conjunction with the lab’s ongoing scientific work –– namely helming a “war room” featuring GIS-based rendering with 3-D data visualizations using AI that processes large data sets. His work has also fostered partnerships in emerging areas such as quantum, materials discovery, cyber threats and climate change, and colleagues describe his ability to bring together the public and private sectors as a “superpower.”

Ann Amrhein

Associate CIO, Social Security Administration

Amrhein has been instrumental in advancing digital transformation at the Social Security Administration, her colleagues say, with a commitment to customer experience. That includes the creation of a new, digital self-service appointment application, where individuals can schedule appointments at SSA field offices for Social Security number card services. The web-based app is now available in all 50 states and over 1,300 SSA offices, and more than 250,000 appointments have been scheduled. The tool has also reduced wait times from 30 minutes without an appointment to 10 or less with one and wouldn’t be possible without Amrhein’s cross-agency collaboration.

Dan Anthony

Executive Vice President and CIO, FedNow Service, Federal Reserve Financial Services

Financial settlement infrastructure is about as behind-the-scenes as it gets. So it’s not surprising that the Federal Reserve’s launch of the first new payment rail since the 1970s didn’t generate a lot of headlines in the tech press. But FedNow, launched in July 2023, enables banks and credit unions of all sizes to support 24-hour, immediate money transfers. Anthony’s team at the Fed delivered FedNow a year earlier than expected, and it has already been adopted by the Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service and more than 300 financial institutions covering about a quarter of the nation’s bank accounts.

Col. Robert Bailey

Portfolio Manager, Marine Corps Manpower IT Systems Modernization, Program Executive Office for Manpower, Logistics and Business Solutions, Department of the Navy

“Proceed until apprehended.” According to multiple nominators, that’s been the operating philosophy of the team working with Bailey, who last year was tapped to lead the Marine Corps Manpower IT Systems Modernization portfolio. He launched a new office charged with identifying key factors that contribute to retaining skilled Marines, using data — and smarter contracts and partnerships — as part of a broader effort to build a more mature, skills-based force. It’s a small, agile team that isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo, generating 100 data models and new insights into how age, time in service and pay grade impact Marines’ reenlistment decisions.

Yosry Barsoum

Vice President, Director, Center for Securing the Homeland, MITRE

Barsoum directs MITRE’s homeland security and cybersecurity R&D practices, where he has combined engineering prowess and knowledge of intelligence and surveillance technologies to bolster the Army Programs Directorate in the National Security Engineering Center, a MITRE-operated research group serving the Department of Defense. Barsoum last year co-authored a white paper to help school systems integrate technologies that protect students from targeted violence, notably active shooters. In 2023, his team worked with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to release digital defense tools into the public domain, and he collaborated with Microsoft and Hart Interactive to develop end-to-end verifiable voting systems.

Keith Baylor

Product Lead, ArmyIgnitED, U.S. Army Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, Department of the Army

Baylor’s vision took the ArmyIgnitED tuition and credentialing-assistance portal to new heights with automated tools that made processing invoices, payments and funding requests faster. In 2022, the legacy system prevented soldiers from receiving assistance, counselors from reviewing and approving applications, and the Army from making payments to educational institutions. Baylor’s leadership in 2023 drove cultural change for innovation and success in software development. In a matter of months, Baylor oversaw a quick delivery of an improved system that has helped nearly 300,000 soldiers, cadets and civilians with $891 million in old and new payouts at a lower cost than the legacy system.

Lee Becker

General Manager, Medallia Public Sector, Medallia

Becker has used his more than 20 years of experience in leadership roles at the Department of Veterans Affairs and with the U.S. Navy to advise federal officials and health care systems about ways that they can improve their customer services. He has assisted VA with its fulfillment of the PACT Act to better serve the health needs of veterans and has played a key role in helping the IRS enhance its callback options to assist taxpayers. Becker was also instrumental in ensuring that Medallia passed the IRS’s highest accessibility standards so it could support the agency’s service delivery improvement efforts.

Barbara “Bobbie” J. Browning

Chief Federal Strategist, Qualtrics

Browning has worked with every Cabinet-level agency over her nearly five-decade career, but her recent efforts to enhance customer experience and drive innovation for the Census Bureau and the Department of Health and Human Services have earned her particular praise. Browning worked across multiple programs at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to overhaul the Medicare experience of 63 million beneficiaries, including helping officials capture real-time feedback on provider satisfaction. She also played a vital role steering the Census Bureau’s deployment of a cloud-based data-collection tool to capture public sentiment about time-sensitive issues.

Jonathan K. Burgard

COSMOS Lead Engineer/NIWC PAC Network Manager, Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, Department of the Navy

Veteran IT administrator and project leader Burgard spearheaded the Navy’s development of COSMOS, a zero-trust cloud-computing platform that automates onboarding, workflows, security controls and monitoring. The bottom line: COSMOS enables project managers to get unclassified and sensitive projects working in the cloud in just minutes — not days, weeks or months — boasting dramatically faster onboarding than any other GovCloud environment. And that’s just one of the complex projects Burgard guides for the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific and other Navy command systems. Colleagues describe his technical acumen as “unsurpassed” at unraveling the most complex issues.

Beth Caswell

Director, Digital Transformation and IT Portfolio Management, Department of the Navy

Caswell is the driving force behind the Navy’s “Operation Cattle Drive,” a multiyear effort to accelerate the rationalization, modernization and transformation of the service’s IT capabilities. The effort eclipsed 113 defense business systems consolidated across the Navy and Marine Corps finance, logistics and human resources portfolios in 2023, delivering $800 million in savings and cost avoidance that Caswell’s nominators say has been reinvested in other modernization efforts and mission priorities. “Beth does not stop at, ‘That is not my area of responsibility,’ she works up and down the chain of command to ensure the objectives of the program can be met,” one nominator said.

Bruce Caswell

President and CEO, Maximus

Caswell went above and beyond in 2023 as chairman of the Northern Virginia Technology Council. The Maximus CEO reenergized the organization, which has served as an advocate for contractors and professional services providers in the region. Maximus also launched a new venture capital organization last year. Caswell said he is looking to “partner with innovative companies to learn about and gain unique access to disruptive capabilities while creating growth opportunities for Maximus.” Additionally, he led company efforts to elevate customer experience through intelligence automation and expanding capabilities to support work across multiple agencies delivering clinical care and benefits.

Guy Cavallo

CIO, Office of Personnel Management

In 2023, the Office of Personnel Management successfully migrated its final 17 applications to the cloud and decommissioned its on-premises platform. The move brought OPM into compliance with multiple policy directives on customer and digital experience while enhancing the agency’s cybersecurity. OPM’s newfound tech success under Cavallo’s leadership over the past three years has manifested itself in improved morale: Federal Employee Viewpoint survey scores have continually improved at OPM’s Office of the CIO, particularly scores that track senior leaders’ ability to motivate the workforce and whether employees would recommend their organization as a good place to work.

Rep. Mike Collins

Chair, Subcommittee on Research and Technology, House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives

Against the pressure for Congress to help maintain U.S. leadership in emerging technology fields, Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., has worked to advance meaningful bipartisan legislation through both chambers to promote U.S. science policy. As chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology, Collins has spearheaded bills in fields spanning quantum, space, weather forecasting, cybersecurity, S&T leadership and artificial intelligence. His committee leadership oversaw the passage of the landmark CHIPS and Science Act, as well as the DOE and NSF Interagency Research Act, two examples of laws that prioritize U.S. science and technology leadership.

Steven Costa

Senior System Engineer, Air Force U.S. Central Command

Costa is known for two things at CENTCOM: being a superior engineer and building things that Defense Department organizations widely adopt. In 2023, he deployed CENTCOM’s first cloud-based classified and unclassified environment that will save the Air Force $12 million — closing two data centers — and more than triple the number of remote workers who can access unclassified data. He’s also behind DOD’s Collaborative Partner Environment, which facilitates secure, efficient collaboration among 19 countries in a single environment to coordinate missions in the Middle East. The previous network facilitated classified data sharing between only two parties at a time.

Karen Dahut

CEO, Google Public Sector

When Dahut became CEO at Google Public Sector in 2022, there were some questions about the company’s commitment to government business, especially in defense. She answered them with aplomb. In the last year, she’s helped push Google’s commercial cloud — and dozens of corresponding cloud services — through FedRAMP accreditation to meet growing customer demand for commercial cloud services. Defense Department officials are paying attention. “Karen always does what she can … to get to a ‘yes’ instead of a ‘no,’ and you can see the change and shift in focus at Google with supporting DOD,” one defense official said.

Kirsten Dalboe

Chief Data Officer, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Over the last year, Dalboe’s work to evangelize the importance of data governance for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been paying off. Her colleagues say she’s been instrumental in solidifying a governance process and educating the commission on why data is important for energy regulation. Dalboe’s push for organizational change has also included successful data science training and engagement programs. At the same time, she’s bringing new technologies to FERC, including a new platform to do data analytics work and inform decisions. In addition, Dalboe was recently tapped to serve as chair of the Federal Chief Data Officers Council.

Ja’Nelle DeVore

Chief Information Security Officer, Department of Agriculture

DeVore leads the information security practice in the Agriculture Department’s Office of the CIO, ensuring the agency has standards in place to guard itself from cyber intrusions and overseeing implementation of the complex cyber frameworks needed to keep the department running safely. Under her leadership, USDA became one of only three agencies to meet operational cyber event logging levels at level 3, as required by the Office of Management and Budget. DeVore is also a co-chair of the Federal CISO Council’s CISA Engagement Working Group, which advises the cyber agency on priorities and collaboration opportunities across government.

Drenan E. Dudley

Deputy National Cyber Director for Strategy and Budget, Office of the National Cyber Director, Executive Office of the President

Dudley oversees the budget and strategy verticals of the White House’s Office of the National Cyber Director, managing the challenging task of overhauling the executive branch’s approach to securing American cyberspace in a way that’s both financially feasible and practical for the dozens of federal agencies involved in the process. An adaptable leader, she stepped in to head the office last year during the confirmation process for current ONCD Director Harry Coker, in addition to co-leading the development of the National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan published in July 2023.

Michael Duffy

Associate Director, Cyber Division, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security

Duffy’s pragmatic approach to the Biden administration-wide push to shore up cyber defenses has made him a leading voice in the cybersecurity community, contributing to articles and podcasts focusing on how the federal enterprise can ensure it protects its networks. He developed and published the first-ever CISA operational cybersecurity enterprise plan for the federal chief information security officer community in 2023. That effort increased transparency and “ushered in a new era of CISA-driven interagency focus and operational alignment,” according to one nominator, and led to the remediation of more than 14 million instances of known exploited vulnerabilities

Ann Dunkin

CIO, Department of Energy

Dunkin, a longtime CIO in the federal space, earned plaudits from supporters for working as a cross-government champion for sustainability and climate change priorities and serving as executive sponsor of ACT-IAC’s Climate Change Working Group. Dunkin is interested in a range of climate impacts, including tracking the carbon footprint of cloud providers, as part of the agency modernization journey. Additionally, she’s been a champion of emerging tech at the Department of Energy, creating an AI Discovery Zone for experimentation with generative AI and expanding research and development into quantum capabilities while highlighting the importance of addressing post-quantum encryption challenges.

Sujey Edward

Chief Technology Officer, Octo, an IBM Company

Edward “redefined the role” of the chief technology officer in 2023 at IBM company Octo, according to CEO Mehul Sangani. How? Edward looked outward at Octo’s federal clients to understand their IT modernization challenges and accommodate their unique missions. He envisioned industrywide, agile co-creation with customers, bringing in some 1,200-plus visitors to oLabs — Octo’s R&D and innovation hub — drawing interagency team members from across government and industry to network, collaborate and iterate on modernization problems. Edward also helped launch more than a dozen custom AI solutions for government customers and spearheaded the Veterans Affairs Department’s largest low-code, no-code software implementation.

Robert G. Efrus

Founder and CEO, Efrus Federal Advisors LLC

A four-decade market veteran, Efrus advises enterprise IT service providers on the federal budgeting process and the policies driving it. He is also an active participant in the open-source software security arena in his role as president of the Coalition for Enterprise Open Source Software for Government, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to expand the utilization of those products at federal agencies. Efrus and his colleagues worked with House and Senate Armed Services Committee staff members on legislation requiring the Defense Department to establish a formal software security program, today known as the Joint Federated Assurance Center.

Col. Vito Errico

Director, Army Software Factory, Army Futures Command, U.S. Army

As the founding director of the Army’s first software factory, Errico outdid himself last year by creating the Pentagon’s first and only joint software operation. He integrated the U.S. Marine Corps’ software factory into his operations, training service members to become software development professionals. Errico’s efforts have led to the creation of a trained joint military force capable of conducting software operations in combat environments — an increased need learned from the war in Ukraine and reliance on autonomous systems. As a result, Errico’s work has helped make the U.S. military ready to fight in a new era of digital warfare.

Jennifer Ewbank

Deputy Director, Digital Innovation, Central Intelligence Agency

The government has faced two main priorities for artificial intelligence: regulation and adoption. Jennifer Ewbank, the CIA’s deputy director for digital innovation, has thrived at this intersection. Her job focuses on digital operations central to U.S. diplomatic, information, military and economic security, which has forced her to reckon with AI as both a threat and a tool for her agency. Ewbank led digital transformation initiatives within the CIA, which included preparing to deploy an in-house generative AI capability, while recognizing the sharp national security threat AI systems pose. Called a “defining advantage” by colleagues, her leadership stands to touch many aspects of the intelligence community.

Prashant Gaur

President and CEO, Credence Management Solutions

Under Gaur’s leadership, Credence Management Solutions grew revenues by 30% in 2023, landed spots on two nine-figure Air Force contracts, and was one of a handful of vendors selected for an unrestricted award on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ $60 billion T4NG2 vehicle. Gaur founded a new Innovation Lab to build expertise in emerging technology and has seen its AI/ML work grow as a result. But wins don’t tell the whole story; Gaur’s passion for empowering employees has engendered industry-leading employee satisfaction and retention rates — as reflected in multiple “best places to work” honors, including from the Washington Post.

Lt. Gen. Matthew Glavy

Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, U.S. Marine Corps

Glavy was at the center of Marine Corps modernization in 2023. He spearheaded the migration of the Marine Corps’ classified networks to Defense Department-approved cloud environments while implementing the initial capabilities to comply with zero-trust policy. Glavy also led the development of the Marine Corps Enterprise Network Implementation Plan, featuring a concept of operations for commercial satellite adoption across the enterprise that included the delivery of cloud-computing capacity to the forward edge. Formerly the head of Marine Forces Space Command, Glavy has been a vocal advocate for U.S. space supremacy. “Space is the most resilient capability we have,” he once said.

John Goodman

CEO, Accenture Federal Services

While the world marveled at the breakthroughs in generative AI in 2023, Goodman got busy. Recognizing the tech’s potential, he launched an enterprisewide effort to meet the moment, establishing a Federal Generative AI Center of Excellence, and directed investments toward prototype solutions. Internally, he challenged the workforce to learn more, with 25% of people taking AI training in the first three weeks of a sprint and creating more than 200 use cases. Goodman also launched two additional new labs in 2023: a “futures” lab focused on prototypes and the Center for Classified Co-Creation, bringing human-centered design to the national security space.

Dan Goslee

General Manager and Leader, Verkada Federal, Verkada Corporation

Goslee has served in several senior management roles throughout his 20-plus-year career in the federal services space, focusing on defense, intelligence, cloud, and machine learning, as well as physical security. At Verkada, Goslee has helped agencies to replace disparate, manual security systems with automated systems, such as those enabling agency building security to reference credential images against national databases and conduct background checks in real time. This work has helped eliminate the need for security personnel to memorize faces and names on watchlists. Supporters say he understands the importance of cyber and physical security interoperability, and he is focused on enabling security teams to adopt more effective capabilities.

Tamara Greenspan

Group Vice President and General Manager for Public Sector Applications, Oracle Corporation

Greenspan leads a team of account executives, solution engineers and business development professionals that deliver software solutions to solve complex business problems. Their lead agenda item for 2023 involved the implementation of the Army Integrated Personnel and Pay System, the service branch’s top HR modernization initiative. IPPS-A now covers every service member and a grand total of 1.1 million users, or around 100,000 on average each day. Greenspan is also an advocate for more opportunities for women in the tech industry, through her service on the Institute for Excellence in Sales’ Women in Sales advisory board.

Justin Grimes

Senior Policy Analyst, Office of the Federal CIO, Office of Management and Budget

This was a busy year for digital policy at OMB. Grimes was in the thick of it, playing a critical role in developing new policy to enhance digital experience for citizen users while complying with congressional mandates. Specifically, he was instrumental in setting standards for the use of government domains to support compliance with the DOTGOV Act, crafting policy to improve digital accessibility for people with disabilities and contributing to the guidance supporting the 21st Century IDEA Act’s implementation, which Federal CIO Clare Martorana has characterized as a 10-year road map for digital government. 

David Grundy

Director of Strategy Management and Complex Solutions, Department of Agriculture

In 2023, Grundy helped start the Agriculture Department’s New Strategy Management and Complex Solutions Division, which supported $65 million in projects to meet internal and external customers with complex solutions and leverage economies of scale. Key functions of the division have been creating a common digital platform, developing a cloud strategy and acquisition plan, and leading and supporting customers as they move toward enterprise adoption of cloud computing. USDA launched its STRATUS contract vehicle in 2023, and Grundy’s division also led work to rehome the Office of Management and Budget’s and onboard transitioning customers to Agriculture’s platform last year.

Ross R. Guckert

Program Executive Officer, U.S. Army PEO/EIS, Department of the Army

Program Executive Officer, U.S. Army PEO/EIS, Department of the Army

The Army’s lead buyer for information systems, Guckert ushered in myriad changes for the service, including setting up a chief information office and making agile development practices central to how the program executive office does business with a dedicated center of excellence. The transition to agile was timely, as several major software programs were behind schedule. The shift supported multiple successful deliveries, including the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army, the tuition-assistance portal ArmyIgnitED, the Army Contract Writing System and a preview of the Accessions Information Environment. Guckert’s transformative leadership and communication were pivotal in managing the agile journey and fostering a collaborative environment.

Jenn L. Gustetic

Program Director, Early Stage Innovations and Partnerships, Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA

From her time in the White House, to the Federal Innovation Council at the Partnership for Public Service, to her current role at NASA, Gustetic has built a reputation as a changemaker. At NASA, she was trusted by her directorate’s head with establishing the Early Stage Innovations and Partnerships program portfolio in 2020. Under her leadership, ESIP now maintains over 700 projects and oversees six early-stage space programs. Gustetic also helped transform the NASA research and tech transfer programs by sponsoring experiments to enhance efficiencies, including work that led to the implementation of a new, dramatically faster decision-support tool.

Sonny Hashmi

Commissioner, Federal Acquisition Service, General Services Administration

Hashmi led the Federal Acquisition Service and its approximately 4,400 employees through a redesign in 2023 meant to improve the experience of customers, industry and employees of the organization. The project delivered over $100 billion in business volume around the world to federal, state, local and tribal governments for the first time. The reorganization around customers — rather than regions — is meant to improve service delivery and was years in the making, Hashmi told Nextgov/FCW. Simultaneously, he maintained focus on other FAS goals, including the rollout of the MAS 8(a) pool and FAS Catalog Pilot.

Paul Hasz

Director of System and Support Services, GrantSolutions, Department of Health and Human Services

The impact of Hasz’s work stretches across government via GrantSolutions, a shared service that half of federal agencies use to manage grants business processes. It facilitates over $100 billion in federal funding annually. Hasz has been a champion for user-centered design, resulting in major system releases like the machine-learning-powered FasTrack tool to make the work of federal staff easier and get grants out the door faster. Hasz also oversaw the development of the Recipient Data Insights risk management tool, which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate data collection from over 850,000 organizations to predict future audit findings.

Steven Hernandez

Chief Information Security Officer and Director of Information Assurance Services, Department of Education

Hernandez distinguished himself in 2023 as co-chair of the Federal CISO Council, leading several initiatives to drive progress on modernizing performance metrics, enhancing guidance for secure cloud deployments and advancing the high-value asset program. At the Education Department, he gets some of the credit for the agency’s dramatic improvement on FITARA scores. Hernandez also developed strategies to address federal workforce skills gaps and looked to reskilling to add capacity inside his own shop. He led a zero-trust implementation project and transformed the lessons learned into a governmentwide playbook that other agencies can draw upon for their own zero-trust journeys.

Lilian “Lilly” M. Herrera

Mobile Services Manager, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security

Herrera leads the federal initiative to enhance mobile security across government agencies, focusing on developing cybersecurity solutions and fostering collaboration to address vulnerabilities and share advancements. An IT expert with significant experience in the mobile sector, Herrera co-chairs the Federal CIO Council’s Federal Mobility Group, aiming to advance federal mobility strategies. In 2023, she held over 30 introductory demonstrations, in addition to beginner and advanced workshops, on CISA’s Mobile App Vetting program — which she worked to launch — so agencies could understand the importance of examining such applications before deploying them. Now, 35 agencies use MAV to make informed mobile decisions.

Kendall Holbrook

CEO, Dev Technology Group

Within Dev, Holbrook oversaw the training and upskilling of 45 employees impacted by the loss of the company’s second-largest contract so they could move to new areas. Within the larger industry, she mentors other small businesses and startup companies in the government market that are looking to find their own path of success. Holbrook’s involvement in the community included her leadership as industry chair of the 2023 ACT-IAC Imagine Nation ELC conference for the second year in a row. That event’s approximate attendance of 1,200 people made it the largest effort in the history of Imagine Nation ELC.

Karen Howard

Executive Director, Head of Office of Online Services, Internal Revenue Service

In 2023, Howard was a driving force on taxpayer-experience efforts at the IRS as outlined in the agency’s 10-year strategic plan. Her work includes leadership on an array of tools and initiatives like the enhanced Where’s My Refund tool and recently released Direct File pilot. Howard’s portfolio also includes working on the website and leading the agency’s efforts on self-service options for taxpayers. She has pushed to elevate user experience by recruiting and hiring the right talent and building in user-experience design across development and lifecycle management processes at the IRS.

Mark A. James

Director of Enterprise Cloud Services Directorate, Office of Information and Technology, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security

James, a 26-year veteran of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has been instrumental in boosting the agency’s push to the cloud. He and his team have migrated more than 80% of the agency’s application portfolio to the cloud as of the end of 2023. The establishment of CBP’s cloud organization has sped up application delivery by as much as 60%. These efforts have powered a new reliance on public-facing digital services, notably the CBP One scheduling platform, demand for which has surged since it was incorporated into an administration effort to manage the influx of migrants at the southern border.

Martha P. Jasper

Deputy Director, Joint Enterprise Services Directorate, Defense Information Systems Agency, Department of Defense

Jasper has worn many hats at DISA, including roles spanning security, IT engineering, program management and leadership. As deputy director of the agency’s Joint Enterprise Services Directorate, she is responsible for maintaining the availability, reliability and scalability of DISA’s major IT and business systems. Over the past year, Jasper has been instrumental in DISA’s modernization of its IT service management solution to better support users stationed across the globe. She also headed the agency’s business systems modernization effort and played a key role in establishing the DISA Marketplace, which allows personnel to request software and services through a single online portal.

Katharine Kelley

Chief Human Capital Officer, U.S. Space Force

Important days are ahead for the U.S. Space Force, and Kelley is charged with ensuring the military branch’s human resources component is ready to meet those challenges head-on. Key to that is an IT system overhaul undertaken in 2023 that, as it rolls out, will improve the user experience and access to technology for 14,000-plus civilian and military Guardians in years ahead. As one of her nominators put it, Kelley “prioritizes both efficiency and the human element in military operations,” putting people first even as the Space Force attempts to become a digital-first service branch.

Anisa Khandkar

Enterprise Architect, Catalog Management Office, Federal Acquisition Service, General Services Administration

The Federal Acquisition Service underwent massive changes in 2023, culminating in a reorganization that converted the agency’s regional structure to a centralized model. For FAS customers and vendors, the changes include an overhauled catalog management system with a new front end that changed the game for users. Khandkar was at the center of rethinking the FAS Catalog Platform and its back-end counterpart, the Authoritative Catalog Repository application, as well as the business processes underlying the system. The new system, which manages pre-award pricing and regulatory compliance, is generating rave reviews from pilot users, in part because of its response time and ease of use.

Krista Kinnard

Director of Innovation and Engineering, Department of Labor

In 2023, Kinnard continued her years-long quest as the director for innovation and engineering to spark uses of automation and artificial intelligence to advance the Labor Department’s mission, making processes more efficient and effective. Among them is an AI system to help examiners in the Office of Workers Compensation evaluate claims more quickly. A major focus last year was building out the back-end infrastructure to support repeatable processes for automation and AI, including an effort with the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI to build a framework for the department to evaluate automation and AI, while ensuring equity.

Erv K. Koehler

Assistant Commissioner, General Supplies and Services, Federal Acquisition Service, General Services Administration

Koehler led the launch of two critical and long-awaited procurement system updates in 2023. The modernized Personal Property Management System will support a concerted push by the federal government to downsize its office space in the coming years. The new PPMS delivers enhanced data and improved experience to users and will allow FAS to sunset its legacy application. Koehler’s team also launched the modernized FAS Logistics Connect system, called FALCON, which supplants a legacy system dating back to the 1970s. Koehler’s supporters cite his team-first attitude and passion for data-driven results and customer service as keys to his success.

Chris Kuang

Co-founder and Deputy Director, U.S. Digital Corps, General Services Administration

Since its launch in 2021, the U.S. Digital Corps early-career tech fellowship program has brought nearly 90 fellows into government to work on customer experience, cybersecurity and more across almost 20 agencies. Kuang has shepherded the program from the start, along with co-founder Caitlin Gandhi, and in 2023 the program took in 48 fellows. U.S. Digital Corps offers an on-ramp to government service and gives agencies early talent to work in software engineering, product management, design and more, and it was even called out in the administration’s AI-focused executive order as a program to use in advancing AI talent in government.

Jennifer Kuk

IT Category Management Specialist, Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Management and Budget

Securing the best contracts has become a priority for federal agencies wishing to modernize. At the Office of Management and Budget, Kuk has taken IT procurement goals to new heights, bringing in a record of over $77 billion in contracts, 40% of which went to small businesses, simultaneously achieving $3.5 billion in cost savings. Kuk facilitated dialogues between agency leadership and acquisition experts to identify common challenges and opportunities for original equipment manufacturers. She also helped foster collaborations with civic and advocacy groups, in addition to bolstering the profiles of small- and medium-sized businesses with emerging-tech offerings.

Carissa Landymore

Program Manager, Defense Information Systems Agency, Department of Defense

This ongoing modernization effort will streamline DOD’s broader IT architecture and help mitigate cyber risks. In her previous role as director of DISA’s Defense Enterprise Office Solutions program, Landymore led efforts to provide commercial cloud services for DOD in support of its push to implement a unified communications and collaboration system. Leveraging her work on an unclassified initiative, DISA expanded its effort to include Secret requirements. In support of this project, Landymore is estimated to have piloted, tested and migrated roughly 275,000 users onto the Secret cloud platform by the end of 2023. 

John Neal Latta

Assistant Administrator, Enrollment Services and Vetting Programs, Transportation Security Administration

Latta manages a $356 million portfolio of security programs for agency workers and travelers, including the TSA PreCheck program. He has focused much of his work on improving the traveler experience, pursuing investments in technology-driven enhancements to help the trusted-traveler program continue to grow in use and accessibility. His efforts led to the implementation of a new initiative that allows TSA PreCheck-enrolled parents or guardians to go through screening with their children. As the country continued to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2023, Latta’s leadership helped TSA continue to deliver services vital to the nation’s supply chain.

Eric Leckey

Mission Support Leader, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security

Leckey played a key operational role for FEMA as head of Mission Support in a year of record-breaking weather catastrophes, with more than 17 weather-related events that each generated more than $1 billion in damages. Leckey drove much of the technology and management transformation needed to keep pace, despite budget challenges. He partnered with industry, academia, state and local, and emergency management personnel to communicate FEMA’s evolving needs and challenges. He worked to ensure that the agency could leverage technology and business process platforms while supporting first responders coping with emergency management, workforce development, cybersecurity and climate change.

Scott Levins

Director, National Personnel Records Center, National Archives and Records Administration

Levins has worked for the National Archives for more than three decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic presented one of his greatest professional challenges when on-site health restrictions resulted in the National Personnel Records Center experiencing a backlog of over 600,000 requests for military service records. Under Levins’ leadership, the NPRC cleared the massive backlog within two years by adding staff, making building improvements to enhance workforce capacity and deploying new technologies to expedite requests. This included transitioning relevant NPRC holdings to a new electronic environment, which has shortened wait times for most records to less than 20 days.

Dennis M. Lucey

Vice President, Akima

Client satisfaction is one of Lucey’s main areas of responsibility at Akima. This includes the company’s relationship with the Navy. The service branch in 2023 renewed its use of the Navy-Marine Corps Mobilization Processing System, a web-based tool implemented by Akima two decades ago to assist in the activation and mobilization of reserve forces for emergencies and contingencies. Also in 2023, Lucey’s team developed new software to manage admissions for the Naval Academy. Lucey also frequently speaks at industry conferences and executive forums, at which he mentors companies and individuals entering the federal market.

Clare Martorana

Federal CIO, Office of Management and Budget

Martorana has had a busy year. In 2023 alone, her office released long-awaited guidance on digital experience, tech accessibility and more. Martorana was also a key player in the government’s work to address risks and reap rewards in the rapidly changing landscape of artificial intelligence — leading to another draft guidance document following the White House’s AI executive order. Meanwhile, Martorana and her office have also been a force in the administration’s push for government agencies to improve their customer experience by fundamentally rethinking how they deliver — and working to improve trust in the government in the process.

Dr. Edward Mays

Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Infrastructure and Support Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security

Mays leads a technology portfolio that ranges from back-office tools, like cloud, to IoT and satellite devices providing functionality to U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel in the field. Mays, who joined CBP in 2016 after more than two decades of service in the Marine Corps, established the Enterprise Cloud Services Division to centralize resources for cloud migration and sustainment. In 2023, Mays was instrumental in the launch of the Douglas Project, which taps the power of low-Earth-orbit satellites and IoT technologies to enhance computing power for Border Patrol personnel operating in bandwidth-challenged environments.

Ryan E. McArthur

Executive Program Manager, Defense Information Systems Agency, Department of Defense

As the inaugural program manager of the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability at DISA, McArthur oversees a cross-functional team working to provide cloud solutions in support of 4.3 million users across the Department of Defense. Under McArthur’s leadership, the JWCC program secured a $9 billion multicloud contract to enhance capabilities across DOD. He has been instrumental in pioneering JWCC, including delivering a strategic plan to the DOD CIO and DISA senior leadership and forging a groundbreaking joint user agreement between the CIA and DOD in April 2023 to ensure JWCC can provide cloud capabilities at every security tier within the department.

Dr. Kelly M. McVearry

CEO, Bento Biology

In 2023, McVearry’s expertise as a neuroscientist, technologist, platform developer and advocate for lupus sufferers came together in the launch of BENTO — Biomedical Equity for NextGen Trials and Outcomes — which enables at-home participation in clinical trials. Such participation removes the need for study subjects to visit an academic medical center and paves the way for increased participation of minority, rural and other underrepresented groups, supporting research on lupus therapeutics. McVearry also launched a novel public-private partnership with the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to address challenges facing researchers in lupus clinical trials.

Brian Merrick

Deputy Director, Service Delivery Staff, Department of Justice

Merrick has helped bring the governmentwide goal of incorporating more data into federal operations to life. Under his guidance, the Department of Justice launched the National Law Enforcement Accountability Database, the first federal database to collect and track records of law enforcement officer misconduct. Stipulated by a May 2022 executive order signed by President Joe Biden, NLEAD documents serious federal law enforcement misconduct, including use of excessive force, making false reports, engaging in bias or discrimination and sexual misconduct. Merrick’s colleagues praised his expert oversight of NLEAD’s development and its launch within a short four months. 

Adele Merritt

Intelligence Community CIO, Office of the Director of National Intelligence

If you follow Merritt, you already know about her commitment to the federal workforce. Often, sometimes daily, she’ll put out tech-related announcements about open positions within the IC and broader federal government, evidence that “she has been a visible champion for recruiting and retaining the IC technology workforce of the future,” according to one of her nominators. In the past year, she’s also championed zero-trust tenants within the IC — moving from risk avoidance to risk management — built partnerships among the IC, academia and industry, and delivered key IC strategies around data and information technology.

J. Christopher Mihm

Fellow, National Academy of Public Administration

Mihm was lead author on an initiative to help prepare the government for future destabilizing shocks and emergencies in areas like cybersecurity and sustainability. The work — conducted by the IBM Center for the Business of Government and the IBM Institute for Business Value with the National Academy of Public Administration — included international roundtables to capture lessons for a series of reports, at least two of which Mihm authored, to offer actionable solutions to build government resilience. In this work, he has drawn on his expertise from over 37 years of work in the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Renata Miskell

Deputy Assistant Secretary, Accounting Policy and Financial Transparency, Department of the Treasury

Miskell only started her new gig as a deputy assistant secretary at the Treasury Department early last year, but she’s already producing results in payment integrity — an important effort for the Treasury as a dispersing agency for the government. Miskell particularly zeroed in on the use of data and technology to keep pace with fraudsters and identify vulnerabilities in the system. Her agency has already saved hundreds of millions by using AI-powered fraud detection processes. And she’s not limiting her impact to Treasury alone; she’s working across agency boundaries to champion the cause of payment integrity.

Seeyew Mo

Assistant National Cyber Director, Office of the National Cyber Director, Executive Office of the President

Mo led the development, issuance and implementation of the White House Cyber Workforce Strategy from the nascent Office of the National Cyber Director. The strategy, years in the making, was the outcome of an interagency process that brought together leaders in human resources, CIO shops and cybersecurity operations, and culminated in the transmission of a groundbreaking legislative proposal to Congress in late 2023. Mo is credited with taking a leadership role from the vantage point of a relatively new organization with an eye to helping drive policies that serve to connect federal agencies with mission-critical tech talent.

Chandler Morse

Vice President, Public Policy, Workday

Morse was tracking and leading policy conversations about generative AI long before the technology exploded on the scene. In 2023, he didn’t slow down, continuing his efforts to ensure Congress is equipped with the knowledge needed to both regulate and make use of AI. Nominators cited his work with Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Mark Warner, D-Va., on a bill to promulgate AI safety standards for federal use cases. His advocacy took him to the White House as an advisor on topics like workforce development and regulatory guardrails. Morse also led Workday’s first-ever Federal Forum, which brought together industry leaders and government officials.

Jeff Myers

Senior Director, REI Systems, Inc.

Myers delivers high-impact results to customers but also takes a leadership role in elevating his own workplace. In 2023, he partnered with Howard University to bring diverse candidates and ideas to REI Systems and to the federal IT community writ large, in addition to organizing internships and training cooperatives. He also partnered with Howard’s computer science department to research what motivates IT modernization within government. On the business side, Myers helped conceptualize how AI can improve the Food and Drug Administration’s ability to monitor supply chains for risk and developed a model for measuring returns on information technology investments.

Nicole Nemmers

Chief, Data Governance and Capabilities Branch and AI Portfolio Manager, U.S. Special Operations Command, Department of Defense

Nemmers’ focus on driving digital transformation across USSOCOM has enabled the combatant command to more readily embrace emerging technologies and quickly pivot toward a data-centric future. Nemmers implemented more than 10 major initiatives in 2023, including efforts to experiment with artificial intelligence capabilities and develop data quality standards to help the command better utilize novel technology solutions. Much of her work has also focused on addressing tech skills across the enterprise, including establishing a mobile education team to enhance data literacy among personnel and hiring an additional 57 data scientists, engineers and software developers to support warfighting and enterprise efforts.

Anne Neuberger

Deputy National Security Advisor, The White House

Neuberger is among the most recognizable and public-facing cybersecurity leaders in government, frequently briefing reporters from the podium at the West Wing of the White House. But some of her most hard-hitting and impactful work at the National Security Council has come behind the scenes. She was the driving force behind the “Sullivan memo” of 2023, which pressed agencies to keep pace with deadlines required under a Biden administration cybersecurity executive order, especially with regard to event logging. She was a key voice in holding Microsoft accountable in the wake of a series of email intrusions affecting top federal officials.

RDML Seiko Okano

Program Executive Officer, Integrated Warfare Systems, U.S. Navy

Okano’s job is to build the world’s best team to solve the Navy’s hardest problems — and she excels at it. As the Navy’s integrated warfare systems buyer, Okano is charged with delivering the systems that surface vehicles need to be combat ready. In 2023, she focused on innovation, which led to key advancements, thanks to her ability to navigate complex initiatives. In mentoring the next generation of warfighters, Okano encourages unconventional thinking, while fostering a culture that values individual contribution. Her unique blend of technical expertise, strategic innovation and vision elevates operational efficiency and is essential in today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape.

Melissa Palmer

President, HashiCorp Federal Inc.

Palmer only recently celebrated her one-year anniversary as president of HashiCorp’s public-sector business, but her strategic initiatives have already had a transformative impact on the company’s internal management and work with federal partners. Under her leadership, HashiCorp brought on top-level talent, secured spots on key contracts with the General Services Administration, the U.S. Army and NASA, and helped a leading federal systems integrator revamp its security practices to better secure the work of its defense and intelligence partners. This work enabled the company to enhance its cloud security practices and bolster its overall cybersecurity posture.

Dovarius L. Peoples

CIO (G-6), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Peoples’ oversight and management of IT modernization initiatives has enabled the Army Corps of Engineers’ 38,000 professionals to carry out their various missions across the world. He has focused much of his energy on enhancing the Corps’ cyber posture and communications networks, including adopting low-Earth-orbit satellite technology that has improved efficiency at remote sites by over 70%. Peoples’ leadership also helped enable the Corps to pass the 2023 Cyber Command Readiness Inspection during the first round of testing with a 40% improvement noted in its management of classified and unclassified networks.

Alicia Ponegalek

Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton

Ponegalek had a successful 2023 managing multiple Salesforce implementations across more than 20 different program offices in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Most notably, she helped roll out a modernized, 24/7 Veteran Crisis Line that links National VA Suicide Hotline staff to make referrals to field-based personnel. She supported the launch of VA’s first-ever scheduling system, connecting veterans under VA care directly to community providers, offering 9 million veterans additional convenience, while giving VA a unified view of scheduling activities across external providers. Additionally, Ponegalek led the modernization of the VA’s background-check system, streamlining the hiring process for job candidates.

Jason Prow

Senior Partner, Data and Technology Transformation Leader, US Federal, IBM

Prow’s leadership at IBM not only generated significant revenue, but also helped the company to transform claims processing at the Veterans Benefits Administration. He spearheaded the 2023 deployment of an automated, 24/7 solution at VBA to address claims under the PACT Act. The system assessed over 600 million pages of evidence and processed 513,546 claims in 2023, reducing the processing time from months to days. Prow also served on IBM’s Global Automation Steering Committee and is “someone who can deliver both thought leadership and practical solutions across the federal market,” according to one nominator.

Kim Pugh

Director, Digital Transformation Center, Office of Information and Technology, Department of Veterans Affairs

Pugh is driving VA’s digital modernization efforts by spearheading software- and platform-as-a-service solutions for employees across the agency. Her leadership helped VA’s SaaS and PaaS software factories’ project delivery timelines drop from an average of two to five years down to six months to two years. In 2023, Pugh launched the VA’s Low Code/No Code Marketplace, and her modernization initiatives have resulted in an estimated $108 million in cost savings and a 99.9% availability for the agency’s Salesforce platform. She has been at the forefront of departmentwide efforts to modernize antiquated systems by adopting new IT solutions to better serve veterans.

Dr. Jeffrey D. Pullen

Associate Director, Financial Systems, Justice Management Division, Department of Justice

Thanks to Pullen’s leadership, last year the Department of Justice made strides in deploying an enterprise asset management solution at several agency components while also adding users to its modernized financial-reporting shared service. Pullen and his team were honored with the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Management for their work launching and growing the financial management system. Pullen also led an effort to finalize a critical authority to operate certification for a key cloud-based system that supports the department’s asset management efforts, while working to modernize key audit, risk and performance management controls agencywide.

Dave Rey

President, Global Public Sector, Salesforce

Rey sees his job as helping agencies understand the latest technologies and how they can be applied to their missions. His team worked with the IRS to launch an omnichannel customer service center for the Taxpayer Advocate System, combining paper and digital applications in one platform. The Navy worked with Rey’s team to select an enterprisewide Slack instance to expand collaboration beyond chat, streamlining and centralizing processes throughout the chain of command. For the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Rey’s team built a program in 180 days to manage grants that will help make broadband accessible nationwide.

Amy Ritualo

Deputy Chief Data Officer, Department of State

Ritualo is a key player in delivering on data and AI campaigns launched as part of the Secretary of State’s Modernization Agenda. She launched a two-year AI pilot program at the State Department in 2023; onboarded a generative AI GPT; piloted a departmentwide large language model; and brought in stakeholders across the department for ideas on use cases, research and more. Ritualo is also summarizing research on AI for inclusion in congressionally mandated reports and putting AI to work to absorb some of the content generation efforts of post officers, with an eye to saving 30,000 work hours annually.

Douglas Robertson

Chief Technology Officer, Small Business Administration

In the age of digitalization, government agencies are looking for “seasoned innovators,” a term nominators used to describe Robertson. Coming from a multidisciplinary background, he helped evolve the IT posture at SBA, specifically bringing an innovative approach to DevOps and modernizing legacy content management systems. He also oversaw the MySBA Lending Portal, notably incorporating a secure data layer to protect sensitive digital assets. Robertson’s innovation also featured in the launch of the Veteran Small Business Certification online portal, which reached authority to operate in just four weeks, cutting program costs in half and increasing efficiency by 35%.

Alvaro E. Rodriguez

Program Manager, Enterprise, Information Technology Services, PEO Medical Systems / CIO (J-6), Defense Health Agency

Rodriguez is responsible for DHA’s Geographic Service Providers and the Enterprise Information Technology Services Integrator, two major acquisition programs that are worth a combined total of almost $5 billion. These programs are critical for transitioning the Military Medical Treatment Facilities to DHA, while also improving enterprise IT operations for roughly 9 million users who rely on the agency’s systems. He also successfully consolidated six IT contracts worth nearly $300 million into one streamlined contract in 2023, helping to enhance interoperability across the agency’s IT services while also cutting government administrative oversight costs and reducing the duplication of tools across DHA.

Chuck Romine

Associate Director for Laboratory Programs, National Institute of Standards and Technology

As the person in charge of NIST’s laboratory programs, Romine has made a significant impact on his agency’s mission. His longtime work as director of the Information Technology Laboratory established it as the premier measurement science agency in the world furthering trust in IT, and his leadership has advanced the nation’s biometric testing and baseline capabilities for fingerprint, iris and facial recognition technologies. NIST has been called on to play a major part in the White House’s sweeping executive order on artificial intelligence, and Romine was central to drafting and clearing that role to set the foundations for trustworthy AI.

Alex A. Sedillos

Director of Product Management, Defense Manpower Data Center, Defense Human Resources Authority, Department of Defense

Sedillos heads the Service Delivery directorate of the Defense Manpower Data Center but wears multiple hats in his role. He is the delivery lead for ensuring department employees and their beneficiaries have accurate electronic personnel records and is responsible for fraud-reduction efforts for those seeking HR benefits. Sedillos is also a key player in achieving zero-trust objectives significantly faster than expected. His push for online U.S. ID renewals saved roughly $40 million for the over 600,000 DOD employees and beneficiaries required to visit an ID Card Office.

Jared N. Shepard

Founder and CEO, Hypori

In 2023, Shepard secured $18 million for Hypori, which allowed the small business to increase its zero-trust capabilities, gaining approval as an enterprisewide provider of zero trust for the Army. He launched Hypori Halo on the AWS GovPlace Marketplace, and the company joined the AWS Public Sector Partner Program. Shepard oversaw wins for Hypori Halo with both the Pentagon and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. In 2023, Hypori was honored as a Best Zero-Trust BYOD award winner by Global InfoSec. In addition to his business accomplishments, Shepard worked with the Warrior Ethos to help hundreds of veterans and their families and is himself a service-disabled veteran.

David Shive

CIO, General Services Administration

Shive has a big job, overseeing an over $900 million IT budget and 20,000 federal employees and contractors at the General Services Administration. In the last year, he also led a focus on digital, customer and employee experience — including the nearly $30 million investment from the Technology Modernization Fund for zero trust. Shive also led the launch of a low-code real estate platform at the agency. But his influence extends across agency boundaries through his work on the Federal CIO Council, FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board and more, as one of the longest-tenured CIOs in the federal government.

Nick Sinai

Senior Advisor, Insight Partners

As a senior advisor for global venture capital firm Insight Partners, Sinai is furthering his reputation — gained during his work as a public servant, educator and author — for championing the use of modern tech and talent inside government to make change at scale. Sinai works with software companies growing in the public sector, invests in national security companies and uses his expertise to advise government and military leaders. He also advocates for Defense Department policies to support the purchase of commercial software as part of the Software in Defense Coalition, of which he’s a founding member, getting legislative changes as a result.

Carey Smith

CEO, Parsons

Under Smith’s leadership, Parsons had a great 2023, including a $1.8 billion recompete of a support services program for the Federal Aviation Administration. But bookings only tell part of the story. Parsons is leading the industry in organic growth in its core areas because of her focus on agility, innovation and disruption. Smith prioritized efforts in emerging tech, using digital twins to improve operations at airports and leveraging breakthrough identity technologies on projects protecting U.S. embassies abroad. An industry leader, Smith completed her second term as chair of the Professional Services Council and served on the board of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

Robert D. Snelick

Computer Scientist, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Snelick’s leadership in developing national and international health care standards, along with NIST’s end-to-end health information technology test platform, has had far-reaching impact, including specifications used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and others to enact their mission and meet goals. “Every U.S.-certified EHR system was tested using Rob’s platform,” one colleague noted. Snelick developed applications at NIST supporting conformance and interoperability test standards, guidance, and software tools for a diverse array of uses, including industry application and product certifications.

Xavier M. Soosai

CIO and Director of IT Services, Center for Information Technology, National Institutes of Health

Soosai’s work as the top tech official at NIH’s Center for Information Technology ranges from IT applications to expanding supercomputing capacity, while looking to the future for advances in quantum sciences and green energy. His work standardizing agency architecture and implementing shared services helped deliver a 30% reduction in enterprise software costs. He also led the expansion of the supercomputing system Biowolf and leveraged a $3.7 million award from a central infrastructure fund to migrate 15 applications to the cloud, contributing to an agencywide reduction in energy consumption. Soosai also launched the agency’s Quantum Computing Accelerator program to support cutting-edge biomedical research.

Air Force Col. (Ret.) Jen Sovada

President, Global Public Sector, SandboxAQ

Sovada’s efforts to educate the federal government on the need for post-quantum cryptography led to SandboxAQ securing cryptography security contracts with both the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services, supporting the latter in winning the Federal Health IT 2023 Disruptive Tech Award for conducting its automated cryptographic inventory. Her team also worked alongside the U.S. Air Force to test geomagnetic navigation to mitigate risks from the loss, denial or spoofing of GPS. Beyond contracts, Sovada also spearheaded tech education initiatives for civil servants in quantum information sciences and related applications.

Tom Stamos

Senior Regional Vice President of Federal Sales, Zscaler

Stamos has played an important role in driving the federal adoption of zero trust and meeting security mandates. In 2023, his team brought more than 18 federal agencies onto Zscaler’s platform, which contributed to over 90% year-over-year growth in his segment. To support this growth, Stamos worked hard to expand the public-sector team and engage with agencies on their individual security requirements. “The exceptional leadership Mr. Stamos demonstrates truly sets him apart, making a significant difference in federal IT security,” one nominator wrote.

Andrew Stettner

Director, Office of Unemployment Insurance Modernization, Office of the Secretary, Department of Labor

Stettner has been instrumental in crafting and guiding the strategy for how the unemployment insurance system should rebuild and rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic. Stettner’s work implementing funding under the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act has continued a change in department strategy to go beyond giving states high-level guidance and instead actively partnering with state workforce agencies. His colleagues say that he’s been at the forefront, meeting with states and territories seeking grant money directly to foster improvements like language access, fraud prevention and more.

Rep. Haley Stevens

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Research and Technology, House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Mich., oversees legislation that makes critical investments in innovative, emerging sciences and technologies. Areas Stevens has helped advance in her time on committee focus on quantum information sciences, weather forecasting, cybersecurity, S&T leadership and artificial intelligence. On the subcommittee level, Stevens’ work has helped foster a bipartisan environment that prioritizes collaboration in advanced sciences, enabling landmark R&D bills like the CHIPS and Science Act and the the DOE and NSF Interagency Research Act.

Kyra M. Stewart

Program Manager, Information Technology Vendor Management Office, Federal Acquisition Service, General Services Administration

In her leadership role, Stewart is charged with developing and sharing an acquisition knowledge base to support federal procurement. She was busy in 2023 bringing together agency buyers, industry partners and big government contracts and buying programs to work across organizational boundaries and achieve common goals. Stewart distinguished herself by growing the IT buying community of practice; developing resources and training for cloud, zero-trust and cyber buyers; and launching the first annual ITVMO Summit, bringing together industry and government to increase knowledge sharing on pricing strategies, small-business utilization, equity, emerging tech and more.

Conrad Stosz

Director of Artificial Intelligence, Office of the Federal CIO, Office of Management and Budget

Stosz was a key convener and contributor to efforts to guide the use of artificial intelligence at federal agencies. In 2023, he drove work to develop policy on AI, detailing roles and responsibilities across governance, transparency, ethical innovation and risk management. In addition to providing federal civilian agencies with key goals and guideposts, the policy also informed the administration’s massive AI executive order released in October 2023. One key component of the agency guidance, which was recently finalized, requires agencies to put in place meaningful guardrails in AI use cases that could impinge on the constitutional rights or safety of the American public.

Amy Taylor

CIO and Associate Director, Technology Division, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Department of the Treasury

Taylor is responsible for managing the technical infrastructure essential for fulfilling FinCEN’s mission, which involves the collection, analysis and dissemination of Bank Secrecy Act data to appropriate government entities. She led the launch of an innovative solution for Beneficial Ownership Information — a new federal reporting requirement to ensure law enforcement and sanctions enforcement officials know who owns what when pursuing legal action — which successfully documented over 100,000 filings in its first week. At the same time, Taylor led FinCEN’s migration of legacy applications to the cloud, including those supporting the Bank Secrecy Act.

George D. Thomas

President and Chief Innovation Officer, Connected DMV

Thomas’ work has built the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area into a quantum innovation hub. As president and chief innovation officer of Connected DMV, he brings the academic, industry, nonprofit and government sectors together to foster talent, economic growth and positive social impact. He launched both the Potomac Quantum Innovation Center and the Quantum World Congress 2023, “and his vision, talent and perseverance were key to achieving these results,” one nominator said. Thanks to Thomas, the DMV has become a nexus for quantum innovation, international cooperation, multisector partnerships, health sciences research, workforce development and policy on ethical use of the emerging technology.

Matt Topper

President and Solutions Catalyst, UberEther

At UberEther, Topper has taken as a central objective the challenge of knowing whether a system user is who they say they are. His team’s development of the IAM Advantage platform — which earned a spot in the DISA Marketplace and completed FedRAMP High and DOD Impact Level 5 requirements — led to its deployment at the U.S. Air Force in less than a week, compared to the usual 12 to 18 months. Topper has also created a tool that accelerates other providers’ accreditation processes by getting up to 80% of their controls properly configured at the get-go, assisting six companies in getting FedRAMP High certification in 2023.

Timothy Tutt

CEO and Co-founder, Night Shift Development

Tutt has leveraged his nearly two decades of combined software engineering experience and technical expertise to help organizations across the public and private sectors enhance their analytics tools. With a focus on democratizing data through nontechnical solutions, Tutt is committed to expanding access to technical capabilities for all users. He was selected to participate in — and subsequently graduated from — MissionLink’s 2023 cohort, an invitation-only program focused on developing innovative solutions to national security threats. The organization works to connect technical leaders, like Tutt, with the skills they need to boost the security and data aptitude of critical federal-sector entities and commercial firms.

Rosa M. Underwood

Senior Cybersecurity Advisor, Federal Acquisition Service, General Services Administration

Underwood’s role at the Federal Acquisition Service is to ensure that government purchases meet objectives to improve the nation’s cybersecurity. In 2023, she spearheaded collaboration with the Office of Management and Budget and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to help agencies meet provisions in the Federal Zero Trust Strategy, developing tools like the Application Security Testing Buyers Guide. While serving as a leader on cross-government working groups, she also conceptualized a strategy to support the transition to post-quantum cryptography across the government. Her leadership has helped improve the way GSA’s cadre of technology buyers understand cybersecurity and supply chain risks, according to her supporters. 

Steve Walters

Senior Vice President, Federal, ServiceNow

An Army veteran, Walters brings the highly organized, mission-oriented approach of an ex-military officer to his role as ServiceNow’s federal sales leader. In 2023, his approach with government customers more than paid off, with the company’s U.S. federal business exploding each quarter, accelerating growth in what was already a big business. Under Walters’ leadership, ServiceNow has continued its evolution from IT service desk solution to a trusted platform for digital transformation used by each Cabinet-level agency. For his company, that means revenue; for Walters’ government customers, it means delivering new capabilities in service of citizens, warfighters and public servants.

CW5 Taylor Wells

Senior Technical Advisor to the Director, Defense Information Systems Agency, Department of Defense

Wells is the technical plug between warfighters and the head of the Pentagon’s lead IT agency. In his daily role, he provides analysis and advice to DISA’s director, while keeping the pulse of warfighters’ technical needs. In 2023, Wells created a technical strike team that was directly involved in 10 engagements to solve various challenges across the agency. The initiative also served as an excellent recruiting tool, exposing talent outside the agency to DISA’s mission. Wells brings a level of common sense and perspective to challenges that ensures success, according to one colleague.

Stephanie L. Wilson

Chief Operating Officer, NetImpact Strategies

All of NetImpact Strategies’ client-facing operations and growth initiatives fall under Wilson’s purview, which means she gets a firsthand look at customers’ digital transformations and evolving mission needs. During 2023, Wilson oversaw NetImpact’s work with the Agriculture Department’s Farm Production and Conservation agency on transitioning to a new cloud-based operations platform in less than 30 days. She also led the company’s partnership with the Defense Health Agency to roll out the first phase of a new Virtual Education Center that curates 40,000 health articles for patients. Wilson also contributes to industry organizations, including AFCEA, HIMSS and the Professional Services Council.

Cori Zarek

Deputy Administrator, U.S. Digital Service, Office of Management and Budget

Zarek is in charge of running the day-to-day operations of the White House’s U.S. Digital Service, an over 200-person-strong organization meant to help the federal government deliver better services. In 2023, Zarek devoted particular effort to telling the story of the organization, which is embedded in nearly 20 agencies working on dozens of projects. Zarek has also worked to strengthen internal processes, including by creating a best-practices toolkit for USDS-ers heading into new agencies and expanding digital service capacity across government by helping other agencies set up and expand their own digital service teams.

Mya Zemlock

Government Program Manager, Dcode

In 2023, Zemlock helped upskill and reskill more than 500 senior leaders through workshops she led through Dcode, providing continuous learning for government officials and technologists on topics including acquisition and emerging technologies. Her efforts contributed to advancing government innovation, particularly across the Defense Department, Air Force and Space Force, where her clients come to her with complex problems that often impact national security. Supporters said her unconventional, empathetic approach to dealing with clients and belief in the government mission make her a standout, and her expertise in marketing, messaging, contracting and procurement strategy further underscores her value to government clients.