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FCW : October 30, 2013
October 30, 2013 FCW.COM 29 carious nancial situation, data and IT have never been more important to the agency s mission. In terms of size and scope, few organizations in the world rival USPS IT infrastructure, and Hous- ton handles the data at the heart of it. "With an environment that size, you don t have average days," he said. "It s a new challenge every day." A self-professed data junkie, Houston designed and developed the USPS DMS Operation System, which features detailed con gura- tion management of databases and storage, automatic deployment and monitoring of database adminis- tration and service management functions, on-demand performance reports and diagnostics, and encrypted administrator password management for more than 1,800 databases. With the system, it takes only three employees to manage those databases during off-business hours and 12 employees to handle the 22 petabytes of multiplatform storage technology. That saves USPS 40,000 man-hours annu- ally while delivering database and storage services at 99.999 percent availability. Houston "is a guy we want to keep around," said John Edgar, vice president of IT at USPS. "He is tremendous at analyzing problems and guring out technical solutions to what is going on, and he com- municates well." Houston plans to pursue an advanced degree as a data scientist and would like to see USPS further its data analytics initiatives. "We re good at using data to tell us what happened," he said. "But we re not quite to the point of hav- ing the data tell us what [will hap- pen] tomorrow." --- Frank Konkel Hetal Jain Hetal Jain does not identify herself as an IT person, but technology plays a big part in her work to help the Transportation Department reduce its environmental footprint and increase ef ciency. She is responsible for tracking the performance of sustainability efforts across DOT s 10,000 facili- ties and more than 55,000 employ- ees. Collecting, analyzing and understanding data are essential to that mission. "You cannot manage what you do not measure," Jain said. "It s especially true for sustainability." She used a Web-based tool developed by the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a real-time view into DOT s resource use by tracking information on teleworking, water use, energy use, employee travel, recycling, pollu- tion and more. The data stream also incorporates information from smart meters that can track energy use down to the level of individual oors in of ce buildings. Jain then created a plan to increase awareness of smart- meter savings and encourage DOT employees to turn off their of ce lights and power down their com- puters when leaving for the day. She has also been instrumental in helping to reduce business travel in part by increasing DOT s use of videoconferencing. Jain organized the department s sustainability awards in May, and all of the out- of-town participants took part in the ceremony without having to travel to Washington, D.C., which earned Jain plaudits from a White House environmental executive. She continues to track and share information on reductions to DOT s environmental footprint, which helps keep the sustainability mission a priority. "Data is how we communicate to our senior leader- ship about where we are," she said. --- Adam Mazmanian Samantha Kott Kouril Although Samantha Kott Kouril had long been drawn to public serv- ice, she didn t know much about technology systems before intern- ing at the General Services Admin- istration. But for her, that made the prospect of working in government IT even more enticing. "When you re solving something, there s going to be something that you don t know how to do already, and that s a challenge and that s just something that I enjoy in gen- eral," Kott Kouril said. Now, as a project manager at GSA s Federal Systems Integration and Management Center and an FCW Rising Star, it s safe to say Kott Kouril is good at what she enjoys doing.
September 30, 2013
November 15, 2013