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FCW : November and December 2015
“I knew the front end of HR,” she recalled. “I wanted to know the back end.” So Rodriguez dove into the Law- son HR software her firm used. At the time, she thought she was implementing the system, though she later realized she was actually doing end-user testing. That mis- understanding helped her land her next job: Because she put “imple- mented” on her résumé, she was brought in as a consultant to help the Albuquerque, N.M ., public school system deploy Lawson. She quickly realized her mistake, but she powered through the steep learning curve. “It was a huge growth spurt for me, but I loved it,” Rodriguez said. That same spirit has characterized her latest job leading a U.S. Forest Service team. In the past year, Rodriguez has spearheaded 10 initiatives, includ- ing a system for onboarding new employees, a performance manage- ment system and the first integrated safety and workers’ compensation system implemented in the federal government. Called eSafety, it was so impor- tant that President Barack Obama was briefed on the project. Rodriguez, however, is quick to credit colleagues for her successes. “I feel that I’m only as good as my team,” she said. Learning to trust one’s partners, she added, can be the hardest part of any project, but she has come to value her small, six- person team inestimably. And she’s happy to have joined the feds after starting her career in the private sector. “I’ll finish my career in federal service,” Rodriguez pledged. — Zach Noble Erica McCann fell in love with procurement policy during a col- lege internship. She was studying political science and already knew she was interested in government relations. Although she’d had other internships, this one sealed the deal. That passion for procurement policy separates her from the rest of the pack, said Kitty Klaus, a senior program manager at HP Enterprise Services. McCann is “very enthusiastic about federal acquisition policy, which is not an area that a lot of people get enthu- siastic about,” Klaus said. “She really understands our issues in the industry, and she’s very proactive in representing those interests.” As director of federal procure- ment at the Information Technol- ogy Industry Council’s IT Alliance for the Public Sector, McCann is responsible for representing a wide range of companies on Capitol Hill, where she makes recommenda- tions about legislative and regula- tory actions that affect the con- tracting environment. More than 60 of those recom- mendations were incorpo- rated into the fiscal 2016 National Defense Autho- rization Act and should ultimately help the Defense Department continue its efforts to sustain an edge in technol- ogy acquisition and attract new, innova- tive compa- nies into the federal marketplace. McCann said maintaining the country’s technological edge is what moti- vates her. “I work in procurement policy because there’s so much innova- tion in the private sector,” she added. “We’re in an IT era; we need to be more flexible.” — Aleida Fernandez Erica McCann 2015 Rising Stars 28 November/December 2015 FCW.COM 1215fcw_020-030.indd 28 11/16/15 4:08 PM