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FCW : November and December 2015
2015 Rising Stars background in environmental science, policy and web design at the Environ- mental Protection Agency ever since. In 2013, he joined the web divi- sion of EPA’s Office of Environmental Information as an IT specialist, with the main task of migrating EPA’s web pages to a Drupal web content management system so that all the agency’s content could be better organized and easily searchable. Yuen designed a mobile-friendly template that has searching and browsing options, created an archive for older EPA material and devel- oped an email notification system to remind employees to update web content. Now the entire agency is using the new system. “We wanted to make sure that folks could find information faster,” Yuen said, adding that “we redevel- oped our websites to address spe- cific key audiences.” His most recent project is the redesign of the Developer Central website, a one-stop shop for external developers to find information on the EPA’s resources, application program- ming interfaces and datasets. Yuen facilitated cross-agency collaboration to incorporate additional developer toolkits, and he continues to provide extensive outreach to research com- munities by attending hackathons; partnering with universities and local and state environmental groups and agencies; and promoting outside APIs and datasets. Before his current role, Yuen was the project manager for the Office of Pesticide Programs’ Chemical Search Web Utility, an application that opened the EPA’s pesticide data to the public. One of his latest challenges is serving as leader of the EPA’s Mobile Access Review Committee, where he spearheads efforts to revamp mobile application development strategies for the entire agency. He is also involved in the redesign of the EPA’s Envirofacts data warehouse, where his goals include creating an advanced query builder interface, a data explorer tool and an API man- agement platform so that developers and scientists can more easily access and download the warehouse’s APIs. “I enjoy the intersection between technology and environmental sci- ence,” Yuen said, “and I think that’s really necessary to understand why we’re doing some of the IT projects we’re doing.” — Amanda Ziadeh In the world of federal IT acquisi- tion, Mark Naggar is a revolution- ary firebrand on a search-and- destroy mission. “The federal government spends around $50 billion on IT services each year, and we’re plagued by ineffective and inefficient acquisi- tion of IT services,” he said. “The acquisition approach and subse- quent implementation and maintenance of IT systems [are] outdated and long overdue for improvements.” At the Department of Health and Human Ser- vices, Naggar has used his Buyers Club initiative to touch off a reform movement that is spreading to other govern- ment agencies. He began by setting up a two- stage online system that skips the rigid, cumbersome acquisition pro- cess in favor of eight-page concept papers and statements of objec- tives. The Buyers Club approach streamlines activities for govern- ment and industry alike and allows vendors to show off what they can do. It also minimizes the risk to federal agencies by freeing them from long, expensive, multilevel contracting processes, which have all too often wound up failing. “There’s a high failure rate asso- ciated with the acquisition of IT services, at HHS and throughout the federal govern- ment,” Naggar said. “Given previous failures — of all sizes — associated with the acquisition and imple- mentation of IT ser- vices at HHS, there’s a tremendous need to mitigate risk of failure and ensure success.” Like most common- sense, innovative ideas, Naggar’s Buyers Club is generating wider interest, with acquisition officers at other agencies eager to learn how to use it. The Inaugural Con- ference for Innovative Acquisi- tions in February drew more than 500 employees from 20 agencies, despite a snowstorm that slowed Washington to a crawl the day of the event. — Mark Rockwell Mark Naggar 30 November/December 2015 FCW.COM 1215fcw_020-030.indd 30 11/16/15 2:58 PM