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FCW : November and December 2014
Rising Stars 20 November/December 2014 FCW.COM specific measures for evaluating risk and identifying weaknesses. That resource is now shared throughout the IG’s office and is used to help train new hires. — Adam Mazmanian Emily “Millie” Maksymiuk When Millie Maksymiuk was hired at GovSmart, it was a four-person start-up company working out of a home kitchen in Virginia. “We needed someone to handle our basic functions, [and] we were so busy we didn’t even have time to stop and make food,” said Brent Lillard, GovSmart’s CEO and co-founder. “Millie showed up to her interview eight months pregnant, with a plate of lasagna, ready to work.” What started off as an administra- tive job quickly evolved into writing proposals and taking on major projects. Maksymiuk is now the proposal manager at GovSmart, a role she created for her- self as she saw the company’s growing need for one. “It really doesn’t matter where you start,” Lillard said. “It’s where you’re going and the value you bring.” GovSmart has since grown to 23 full-time employees and $50 million in sales of IT products and services. And Maksymiuk has led teams that have written more than 25 winning propos- als and 15 competitive responses in the past year, resulting in nearly $16 million in contracts. “She was 20 years old when we hired her, and now almost 2.5 years later, she is an experienced proposal writer and could walk into any company and be great,” Lillard said. Maksymiuk said she loves the chal- lenge of figuring out how to take the requirements in a request for proposals and match them to what GovSmart can do for the customer. She taught herself the rules of the Federal Acquisition Regulation and proposal techniques and guidelines. “She made herself an expert, she taught herself,” Lillard said. “To me, that makes her a Rising Star.” — Colby Hochmuth As a legislative assistant for Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Benjamin Rhodeside helped cultivate sup- port for the Federal IT Acquisi- tion Reform Act. The bipartisan bill seeks to enhance and consoli- date CIO authorities and codify federal IT policies such as data center consolidation and strategic sourcing for software acquisition. Rhodeside also worked on the Reforming Federal Procure- ment of IT Act. It would raise the threshold for certain simplified IT procurements from $100,000 to $500,000 and establish a U.S. Digital Government Office led by the U.S. CIO. Rhodeside has won plaudits on both sides of the aisle for his collegial temperament. Rich Beutel, senior counsel for the House Oversight and Govern- ment Reform Committee, says Rhodeside was “instrumental in garnering bipartisan support for [FITARA],” adding that, “in an age of cynicism and acrimony, Ben has always had an open mind and a cordial approach to even the most intractable and challenging public policy challenges.” Rhodeside started working in Congress as an intern and then a staffer on the Senate Home- land Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In the Senate, Rhodeside said, he “got a crash course on some of these issues that frankly are not always the most headline-grabbing,” includ- ing government administration, procurement policy and IT. He said there are many oppor- tunities for bipartisan engagement on issues of governance because they don’t play into the philosoph- ical divisions between the parties. “Most members up here want to achieve better outcomes for lower costs,” Rhodeside said. However, “it’s a little surpris- ing,” he said, that some senior officials think of “technology as something you can bifurcate into a separate box as a component of a program” and not as something central to its success. As people become accustomed to accessing government services online, he added, “I hope that you’ll start seeing all the way up to agency heads a real under- standing of the importance of get- ting technology right.” — Adam Mazmanian Benjamin Rhodeside