Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

The CIO Council’s 2009 Azimuth Award goes to… Marty Wagner and Symantec’s John Thompson

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At the end of FOSE, the CIO Council holds an awards dinner to present its Azimuth Award. The Azimuth is essentially the compass on a boat that guides people. And so the CIO Council’s Azimuth Award is given to somebody who guides the community.

The Azimuth Award is not well known but is prestigious because it comes from the federal CIO Council. And the roster of winners is impressive. Back when I was working for Government Computer News, I got to attend the ceremony for the first Azimuth Award to John Koskinen, who at the time was leading the U.S. efforts for Y2K. (GCN seems to no longer have the story in their archives.)

Earlier this month, at the end of FOSE, the CIO Council quietly held the Azimuth Award ceremony — a lunch this year. There are two awards given out each year: one to a government person, and one to an industry person. The industry winner this year was John Thompson, chief executive officer of Symantec. (Thompson has been widely rumored for a number of positions in the Obama administration, including Commerce Secretary at one point.)

The government award, however, went to G. Martin Wagner, known by most people in the government space as Marty.

Earlier this month on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, I was reporting on the award… and frankly, I got a bit overcome with my own emotions. And last week, we spoke to John Sindelar , client industry executive at EDS, an HP company, most recently, he lead GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy, and he is one of Wagner’s best friends. You can hear that conversation here.

As many people know, Wagner retired from government a few years ago after a long and distinguished government career most recently at the General Services Administration. He then joined the IBM Center for the Business of Government, which is such a perfect spot for him.

Last July, Wagner was on the roof of his home in Arlington, VA trimming his prized trees — and he fell. He was essentially in a coma for what felt like months.

But he’s now doing much better. While he isn’t 100 percent, he is able to recognize people in ways that he was not able to before.

Wagner has been such a valuable part of the government IT community — somebody who was never a CIO, I might add. Marty is the thinker. And he is a true leader. He knew how to motivate people and keep the ball moving in the government sphere — something that can be difficult to do. Wagner always presses people yet is never a contrarian. And he enlists incredible amount of loyalty.

I was so pound of the CIO Council for recognizing Wagner… and our thoughts continue to be with Marty and his family.

FCW has more on the 2009 Azmeth Awards here.

Keep going Marty.

Written by cdorobek

March 23, 2009 at 1:45 PM

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