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FCW : October 30, 2013
32 October 30, 2013 FCW.COM Rising Stars services are already saving USDA money, including $19.4 million in scal 2012. Meskill told FCW that the scale of the federal enterprise is part of the appeal of government work. "Forming a team of talented people and deploying a solution that will bene t a vast number of people throughout the country is the sort of opportunity that seldom presents itself in most IT jobs," he said. USDA of cials did not set out to compete with commercial cloud providers --- they simply wanted to reduce computing costs. But it was hard to get a handle on those costs because of long procurement cycles and the dif culty of estimating computing needs years in advance. However, when the government s push to virtualization dramati- cally cut costs, Meskill said he was inspired to engineer virtualization levels that exceeded private-sector standards. USDA has gone as high as 50 virtual machines on a single host and has a goal of doubling that. He also has big ambitions for USDA s cloud services. In ve years, he said he hopes to be "giving Ama- zon and Rackspace some serious competition." --- Adam Mazmanian Michael Metzger The duties of a "special assistant" can vary widely, and Michael Metzger prefers it that way. As special assistant to the Defense Department s deputy chief management of cer, Metzger can spend one day working with Congress and the next day brief- ing top-level Pentagon of cials on efforts to reform DOD s nancial management. "I get to dip my toe into process- es, standards and architecture, and I get to have a broad-based view of business operations of DOD," Metzger said. "I really don t know what my day is going to be when I go into the of ce, and I like that." It has been an unorthodox path to the Pentagon for Metzger, a his- tory graduate from Bates College who is uent in Mandarin Chinese. He credits another unusual aspect of his education for his success: the debate team. "It teaches you how to organize your thoughts and think critically about different topics, and it really makes you cognizant of everything going on in the world at any given time because [you] never know what the debate topic is going to be," he said. "It s helped in my career, being able to use that criti- cal thinking and organization of thought in writing, project manage- ment and being able to communi- cate in DOD." His boss, Elizabeth McGrath, said those abilities make Metzger a standout. "Mike understands the big pic- ture...and communicates in a way that is comprehensive and collab- orative," McGrath said. "Not every- one can do that. It s about achiev- ing the end goal [and] winning the war, not the battle. He understands how to navigate that and does it in a way that makes people want to be on his team and be part of the solution." --- Amber Corrin Irina Nguyen As the Army continues to overhaul and streamline the ways it buys technology, one person is work- ing behind the scenes to make the processes more transparent. Irina Nguyen manages acquisi- tion and reporting at the Army s Program Executive Of ce for Enterprise Information Systems. But aside from overseeing IT portfolios, she is also a beta tester, developer and translator. The results go beyond the Army Acqui- sition Dashboard she helped imple- ment, and her efforts could have an impact on the entire Defense Department. "PEO challenged us to look across the Army at different acquisition processes and try to identify how to get [new require- ments] validated, funded, devel- oped, incorporated and tested. Irina has taken that program on," said Victor Hernandez, director of program management at PEO-EIS. "The ultimate intent is...to present this to DOD leaders to show them where current laws and regulations could have disconnects that need to be xed to ensure programs are executed effectively. Her efforts are far-reaching, not just contained to her team or PEO-EIS," and they could affect regulations for all of DOD s components. Nguyen said her previous work
September 30, 2013
November 15, 2013