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FCW : November and December 2015
2015 Rising Stars Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Council and orga- nized its monthly dinner events and educational boot camps. Within a year, she became Red Team’s vice president of education, helping small and midtier compa- nies of all stripes find opportunities in the federal marketplace. “I worked with industry as well as government to speak with those members to tell them if you’re looking to go after this contract, let’s dig in deeper,” Kas- sar said. “Overall, it wasn’t really the value of the project. It was the impact you had on that company to win the award to provide jobs as well as those capabilities to our government and our military men and women, which is what it always goes back to for me.” “Regina was an absolute super- star for our company,” said Jeff Shen, vice president and general manager of Red Team Consulting. “She certainly went above and beyond for both Red Team and the federal IT community.” Her passion for helping veter- ans goes back to her roots. Her brother and grandfather served in the Navy, and her father, Merton Miller, served in the Air Force for 26 years and is now associate director of investigations at the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Investigative Services. Kassar also took on volunteer roles at AFCEA and within a year became president of the NOVA Chapter’s Young AFCEANs, where she leads networking and men- torship programs for members younger than 40. Despite her family background, Kassar started out far from federal service, working in real estate sales and marketing. Then she earned a master’s degree in teach- ing and taught second grade in Fairfax County, Va., for more than three years. After the birth of her twins, she decided to go back into business. Her various jobs have taught her the value of technology, said Kassar, who recently left Red Team Consulting to work in federal soft- ware sales at IBM. “It’s neat to see how technology as a teacher at the time supported us to be so much more successful to make an impact,” Kassar said. “Now I’m here on the solutions side learning all the IT I sell. It’s incredible to see it in use.” — Bianca Spinosa Evan Chan’s love affair with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labo- ratory started when he was a student at the university the lab calls home: the California Insti- tute of Technology in Pasadena. He interned at the lab, and that internship turned into a post- graduation job. Nine years later, he’s still going strong. Trained in both business and computer science, Chan has been in management roles for the past three years and has helped lead paperless procure- ment and augmented-reality initiatives. Deploying a hybrid of Micro- soft’s OneNote and SharePoint, Chan and his team helped trans- form the “encyclopedias’ worth of paper” that used to accompa- ny procurement into a stream- lined digital process, he said. On the augmented-reality front, he was involved in craft- ing an immersive mobile app that projects 3D images of spacecraft such as Curiosity, Cassini and Voyager. And although his business education has helped Chan offer well-rounded leadership to his JPL team, he said part of what has kept him attached to NASA all these years is the distinct lack of typical business concerns. At JPL, he said, “it’s not so much about reducing costs for a product or shipping a new device.” Instead, he can focus on quantifiable progress toward a much bigger goal: advancing humanity’s trek through the stars. It’s a compelling reason to stay with the agency, Chan said: “We’re doing things very few organizations can do.” — Zach Noble Evan Chan 24 November/December 2015 FCW.COM 1215fcw_020-030.indd 24 11/16/15 2:58 PM