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FCW : October 2016
26 October 2016 FCW.COM Technology, the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, among others, the former deputy chief data officer led the team in delivering more than 15 data-driven products and services. They include the Commerce Data Academy (which focuses on updating employees’ data skills), the Opportunity Project (which puts Census Bureau data and digital tools in the hands of the public), Midaas (which allows users to explore how income changes across geographies and demographics) and the Commerce Data Usability Project (which guides users through tens of thousands of datasets). The work has inspired several communities to use Commerce data to build products and services that solve pressing local problems. The projects are numerous and complex, and coworkers say what stands out most about Grandison — and how he is able to take on and accomplish so much — is his seemingly boundless energy for his work. “He is someone who has such crazy amounts of energy,” one colleague said. “Usually when you see someone by the end of the day, they’re tired. They can’t close any more deals or write any more code.” Not Grandison. “He’s the Energizer Bunny of government.... You can’t help but get inspired by how he can keep on moving day to day.” In addition to his intra-agency projects, Grandison has played a lead role on a series of open-data initiatives and the development of a synonym engine that uses an algorithm to autofill the search bar with recommendations for patent searches. — Chase Gunter Lt. Themba D. Hinke When Lt. Themba Hinke transferred from being a surface warfare officer to an engineering duty officer, he was assigned to an agency he had never heard of — the National Reconnaissance Office. “And then when I showed up, they said, ‘You’re going to buy software,’ and I said, ‘I don’t even know what Linux is,’” Hinke said. Two years later, he loves his job. “I happened to stumble into something that I was able to become passionate about,” he said. “I do enjoy it, but really it was chance that landed me where I am.” As project manager for SPAWAR’s Space Field Activity at NRO, Hinke handles acquisitions of joint satellite ground systems for the Defense Department and intelligence community. He is credited with creating an internal program that allows the agency to test current and future requirements against a secure big- data framework that includes tools for ingesting, transforming and analyzing the massive amounts of data created by the agency. The approach enables legacy programs to take on new mission capabilities and helps those programs move more quickly to the cloud, which is a priority for NRO. “My experience with Themba is that he is one of those rare government people who puts in the extra time to actually learn the technology he’s acquiring,” said Nick Buck, president of Buck Consulting Group. “For example, his platform services were supposed to be hosted on Amazon’s C2S government cloud so Themba went out and got AWS cloud administrator- certified.” Hinke also took it upon himself to learn coding because he wanted to “do what he’s actually buying.” He said that as a mechanical engineer by education, he is not particularly adept at coding, but trying to learn it has given him “mad respect for the people who deliver what we buy.” Peggy King, a senior account executive at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, said that when Hinke was running into contracting obstacles, he read the entire Federal Acquisition Regulation. “How many folks would bother to do that?” King asked. — Sean D. Carberry Brian J. Lawrence Brian Lawrence got a job at Veracity Engineering straight out of college in 2008. “When I hired Brian, I asked him what he wanted to do with his career,” President Thomas Lamoureux said. “His answer was one that I remember to this day. He said, ‘I just want to work on projects that make a 1016fcw_012-037.indd 26 10/11/16 3:58 PM
September 30, 2016
November and December 2016