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DorobekINSIDER: AFCEA Bethesda’s 12 annual benefit for The Children’s Inn at NIH

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The 12th annual AFCEA Bethesda annual charity ball to Benefit the Children’s Inn at NIH. It is often one of the best events of the year — and this year was no exception. (Congratulations to Microsoft’s Teresa Carlson and Mark Hollander, Associate Director for Management at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. They served as the co-chairpeople for the event.)

The NIH Children's Inn Gala

For those of you who don’t know about it, the Children’s Inn is similar to the Ronald MacDonald houses — they are a place where families can stay near the hospital and have as normal of a life as is possible. Over the years, AFCEA Bethesda has raised more than $2 million to benefit The Children’s Inn at NIH.

If you were not able to attend and you want to donate to the Children’s Inn at NIH, it is a wonderful cause… and $93 buys a day at the Inn for somebody. You can make your donation here.

You can see a slideshow of the event here.

AFCEA Bethesda does a great job with this event. There was a new location for the event this year — the JW Marriott, which allowed for more tables.

Each year, the gala features one of the Inn’s families who talks about life at the Inn. It is always one of the highlights of the evening, and this year was no exception. This year, we got to hear from Kaytelan Hoppes, an 8-year-old who has osteogenesis imperfecta – better known as brittle bone disease. It is a condition that causes extremely fragile bones. And Hoppes talked about the impact that the Inn has had on her family — the ability to have a home away from home. (And she even let it be known that it enables her mother to get an occasional massage. Given what these families go through, whatever it takes to survive. Good for Mom!)

The only snag of the evening — a fire alarm right at the start of the live auction. (You could tell the journalists in the room because none of the people at the Federal News Radio table moved.) The immediate concern was that it would scare people away — and, of course, that they wouldn’t return and it would impact the live auction prices. But… the false alarm sure didn’t seem to have an impact. Most of the items — including a Vespa that the DorobekINSIDER was bidding on — all went for more then their estimated values.

Congratulations to those involved. Nice job! Looking forward to 2011!

See a slideshow from the event here.

Meanwhile… more photos…

Best shoes of the night

The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris

No word on where Jim Williams is going -- yet

1105's Anne Armstrong and Eric Pesachowitz

Team NASA

Team Federal News Radio 1500 AM

Written by cdorobek

April 26, 2010 at 9:37 AM

DorobekINSIDER: The 2010 Fed 100 Awards Gala: Eagle winners, and I blush

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Last night was Federal Computer Week’s 20th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala recognizing the 100 people who have made a difference in government IT in the past year. You can read the profiles of the winners from FCW here… and the full list here — including (blush) the DorobekINSIDER.

In my humble opinion, Federal Computer Week’s annual Federal 100 awards program is one of the most prestigious awards program in the government IT market. That is in part based on the fact that, as the former editor in chief at Federal Computer Week, I got to see how the process works — and it is tough. In fact, it is more competitive then you can imagine. One year, we had a judge who specifically asked to be a judge after winning the award a number of times. (Judges cannot win the Fed 100 award.) And that person, after being a judge, exclaimed, ‘Wow! I have new found respect for this process.’ And he went home and polished his awards, which were all given for well deserved work.

The 2010 Fed 100 winners are a distinguished group. There are people who are almost obvious — federal CIO Vivek Kundra, Roger Baker, the CIO at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Beth Noveck, the deputy chief technology officer who has led the open government initiative. And then there are the less well known yet still equally remarkable — NASA’s Emma Attunes, EPA’s Jeffrey Levy, Craiglist founder Craig Newmark and Sunlight Lab’s Clay Johnson.

Each year, FCW and the 1105 Government Information Group selects two people — one government, one industry — as the firsts among equals. Those two people are given FCW’s Eagle Award. These are the two people who have gone above and beyond among those who have gone above and beyond.

The 2010 government Eagle Award winner is Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency.

An excerpt of why he was recognized:

Alexander has consolidated the cyber mission planning and execution commands that support all 10 combatant commanders, and he helped oversee the development of a comprehensive, integrated and joint specializedcyber technical training course at Naval Air Station Pensacola. In addition, he has been nominated to lead the Defense Department’s newCyber Command.

Read the full write-up here.

The 2010 industry Eagle Award winner is Robert “Bob” Dix, Vice President of Government Affairs for Juniper Networks.

An excerpt from his write up:

Dix is active in a number of collaborative government and industry efforts, including the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee and the Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security.

He also helped develop the National Cyber Incident Response Plan and assisted in creating scenarios for Cyber Storm III, a national cyber threat exercise scheduled for September.

Read his full write-up here.

Again, you can read all the profiles of the winners here… and the more in-depth profiles of several of the winners here.

I have to just make one note because, in fact, I was also a 2010 Fed 100 winner. In fact, I believe I am the first working journalist to win this prestigious award. (Anne Armstrong, the president of the 1105 Government Information Group and former long-time editor in chief ofFCW, was a Fed 100 winner, but I believe she was recognized for her work at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology. I know she will correct me if I’m wrong.)

Regardless, getting such an award for a journalist can be seen as double edged sword — it is an enormous respect because, as I say, I have seen the process and I know how tough it is. But it can also raise the question: Does winning this kind of award mean that I’m not being tough enough? I don’t think so — and I was shocked and in awe of the recognition.

Being a journalist in this kind of community — and this is a community — it can be complex because our readers and our listeners are also our sources. And we depend on them. And I think you all depend on us. Yet the role of journalism is, in a way, the quest for The Truth. As the information age has evolved, finding The Truth can be difficult because it really depends on the data you have in front of you. So the role of journalism has evolved — we parse the data to tell you the information you need to help you make your assessment of The Truth. And that has been my goal: To provide you with information that helps you do you job better — that helps government operate better.

I tell the people who I will be covering regularly, I cannot promise they will always like everything I write — or say — but that I will bend into pretzel shapes to treat them fairly. Part of the quest for The Truth is asking questions. Throughout my career, I have sought to do it in a way thatisn ‘t punitive. Generally, I’m not a fan of “got ya'” stories because too often they simply don’t result in the desired change. So I get to talk about things that work — and things that don’t — in a way where we all learn lessons.

So this is very special — coming from people like Evans, the former de facto federal CIO… people like Dave Wennergren, the Defense Department deputy CIO… people like Martha Dorris, the Associate Administrator for GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Communications… Michael Howell, the deputy CIO at the Office of Management and Budget… HUD CIO Jerry Williams… and the entire team of judges. Honestly, I’m honored and humbled.

All of that being said, this is a community — a community of people who are generally very smart and very passionate about what they do. And I am honored — and humbled… And I’m thrilled get to do what I love to do.

I also want to give a special thanks to two people: Marty Wagner. The way that this community came out in support of Wagner following his Fourth of July 2007 accident is still just remarkable to me. It was such a real demonstration of this community. Wagner has come a long way from the days following the accident. He is a remarkable person — during his government career, he was somebody who was able to disagree without ever being disagreeable. He was able to push people to think “outside the box.” And in many way, he is my model.

The other is Anne Armstrong — the entire team from 1105 Media including FCW Editor in Chief David Rapp… and, of course, John S. Monroe, who, in so many ways, is the heart and soul of Federal Computer Week. But in particular, I want to thank Armstrong because she has been such a mentor for me — she named me to be the editor in chief of Federal Computer Week, but she also is passionate about this market. And in many ways,  my selection in particular has to have been SO difficult. The fact is that the Fed 100 are people really are the decision of a panel of expert judges — and they take the challenge very seriously. FCW editors don’t decide, but they can suggest. But to give such an award to a journalist — and a journalist at another organization — it says volumes about the real objectivity of these awards.

And, of course, thanks to Team Federal News Radio, who give me the opportunity to have so much fun doing this job each and every day.

So… with that… photos from the 2010 Federal 100 Awards Gala from last week.

Written by cdorobek

March 29, 2010 at 1:20 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Disconnecting from the grid with the Blue Footed Booby

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The DorobekINSIDER is taking a break for a few weeks. I am fortunate to be traveling to the Galapagos Islands for a dream trip.

My guess is that I will be pretty much disconnected from the grid — I don’t think there is much Internet connection out there in the Galapagos Islands. That being said, I’ll post my experiences — and photos of Blue Footed Boopys — when I return.

I’m actually guessing that one of the difficult tasks will be unplugging. The great thing about what I do is… I love what I get to do each and every day. So unplugging will be something of a challenge. I’m guessing that going from being hyper-connected to being dis-connected will take a few days. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

I’ll be back briefly for the Federal 100 Awards Gala — I’m beyond honored to be on that list, so I just couldn’t miss the gala. I know the vetting that goes into selecting the 100 people, and the fact that the judges selected a working journalist — I’m just beyond honored. So I’ll be back — and then disappear again for a few days.

On the trip, I’m going to re-read Daniel Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us in preparation for April 2nd’s Federal News Radio Book Club discussion. I posted a discussion forum on GovLoop. As you have thoughts about the book, I hope you’ll share what you think this means for government.

As always, thanks for reading. I’ll be back.

Written by cdorobek

March 11, 2010 at 9:02 AM

DorobekINSIDER poll: What should be the federal government’s operating status for FRIDAY?

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Washington, DC is pretty much paralyzed again today — again, after being pummeled by snow storm after snow storm. (At least we hit the record — if we’re going to go through this torture, we might as well get the bragging rights of saying that we survived snowpocalypse 2010.)

NASA image courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.

The federal government is closed for the fourth day running — and that comes after DC feds closed early last Friday in anticipation of the last storm. Wednesday on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke to John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management and the guy who has to make the call as to whether the federal government is open or not — on his 51st birthday, no less. And we got to talk to him about making that decision.

Several interesting points from Berry. He tells Federal News Radio that OPM is going to reexamine the often mentioned figure of $100 million per day cost of the federal government closing. He notes that figure is 20-years-old — and doesn’t take into account all the people who are working nor people who telework.

But we’re also looking into telework questions such as whether agency policies don’t fully take telework into account.

Regardless, the decision to close the federal government today seemed relatively easy, particularly when DC’s MetroRail announced that above-ground stations would be closed. But — the decision about Friday seems more difficult as there is increasing pressure to open. That being said, everybody is cognisant of 1996 when the federal government opened before the system was able to handle it.

So the question today — if you were OPM Director John Berry, what decision would you make about the federal government in DC’s operating status?

What say you?

The most remarkable thing about this story is how people really are getting some work done. People are so much more mobile these days — and while they can’t do everything, work is getting done.

As one person posted on my Facebook page:

Instead of emphasizing that the federal govt is closed for the 4th straight day someone in the fed govt should get out the message that while Headquarters offices are in DC, there are regional offices of every branch in every agency that are up and running and keeping the govt working. This happens when other areas around the country when there are hurricanes, tornadoes or whatever emergency happens. Those govt officials are every bit as competent as those that are in DC.

Point taken.

Written by cdorobek

February 11, 2010 at 10:42 AM

DorobekINSIDER poll: What should be the federal government’s operating status for Thursday?

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Washington, DC is pretty much paralyzed today — again, after being pummeled by snow storm after snow storm.

Luckily, I live near Federal News Radio 1500 AM — so I’m able to talk to work. That being said, even that relatively short 1.2-mile trek was torturous this morning. (Assuming I have kids, it will be one of the stories that I tell my kids.)

The federal government is closed for the third day running today — and DC feds closed early on Friday in anticipation of the storm this weekend. Federal News Radio’s senior correspondent Mike Causey told us that is really unprecedented.

Earlier this week on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke to John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management and the guy who has to make the call as to whether the federal government is open or not. And we asked him about that decision. It always strikes me that it is one of the toughest decisions because it is so easily second guessed. As Berry told us, there is a real cost to closing the federal government in DC. But there can also be extreme costs to keeping it open.

The difference these days is that so many people can — and are — mobile workers in one way or another. As one person tweeted, there really aren’t any snow days because most people can — and are — connected in one way or another. It is an important difference. Not everything can be done — but work is being done.

So the question now — what will the federal government do for Thursday?

What say you?

Written by cdorobek

February 10, 2010 at 1:20 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Operation Jump Start is a GO for tonight

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We told you last week about Operation Jump Start, the marvelous program that helps soldiers of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom transition to civilian careers.

Washington has a chance of snow tonight — and there have been a number of questions about whether the event was a go. I just got word — it’s a go!

From the organizers:

Like the service men and women we are honoring and serving tonight we are undaunted by threats of any kind and “OPERATION JUMPSTART VI WILL BE HELD TONIGHT AS PLANNED! So don’t let a few snowflakes stop you from coming out tonight. BE BRAVE!

And if you haven’t registered, you and your donation are welcome at the door!!

Last week, Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris spoke to Ed Meagher, who spearheads this event.

It’s a remarkable event to help some remarkable people.

Written by cdorobek

February 2, 2010 at 1:11 PM

DorobekInsider recommended event: Operation Jump Start VI – helping transitioning soldiers

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It’s just a few days away — and it is one of the most marvelous events of the year if you’re looking to help other people and have a dramatic impact on somebody’s life — it is called Operation Jump Start.

The long and short of it is this: Help soldiers of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom transition to civilian careers.

Suits from Operation Jump Start 2009

This is now the sixth year of Operation Jump Start, which is co-sponsored by the Federal CIO Council, 1105 Media, and TechAmerica — along with AFCEA Bethesda, ACT-IAC and AFFIRM— and it is open to anybody who wants to help.

Details:

Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Time: 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: Army Navy Country Club
1700 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA

See coverage of last year’s event here. And hear Ed Meagher talk about the event from last year — we’ll be talking to him later this week.

More information is available on Facebook here… and I’ve posted some details below…

Register here

Or just donate here

As I’ve said before, one of the most touching parts of this event happens near the end of the evening when soldiers are trying on the suits.

But if you don’t have suits left over, there are other ways to donate.

SPECIAL NOTE: Organizers are only able to take items on that night only — this is a volunteer run organization so they don’t have resources to pick-up and transport items. That being said, if you want to get things to the event but you’re not able to get there on that night, if you can get it to me here at Federal News Radio 1500 AM in Northwest DC, I’ll make sure it gets there.

All the information is posted below:

Please join the organizing sponsors, Federal CIO Council, 1105 Media and TechAmerica on Tuesday, February 2, 2010 as we hold our sixth annual “Operation Jump Start VI” event to help the soldiers of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom transition to civilian careers. The event is also supported by AFCEA-Bethesda, AFFIRM and ACT-IAC and open to all who want to give.

We are pleased to announce this year’s Honorary Chair from our community – the Honorable Roger Baker, CIO, Department of Veterans Affairs.

Event Details
Please join us for hors d’oeuvres and the music of the Bank Street Band. There will also be a cash bar. We will also have special VIP visitors from Walter Reed Medical Center and anticipate a full house, so registration is required!

To Register: Please register online at https://1105govinfoevents.com/EventRegistration.aspx?Event=OJS10
Registrations will be accepted through January 30th. In case of Inclement Weather the day of the event, please check the website. IF YOU CAN’T ATTEND, and want to contribute – you can!! Go to: http://www.techamerica.org/donate/operation-jump-start.cfm?&nossl=1

Admission:
The price of admission is a donation to support the soldiers as they “jump start” their new career.
Suggested and valued donations are as follows:

Donations
All Phases: Cash donations
Cash donations are always appreciated and will go into a special, non-profit, tax-exempt fund established for the soldiers and their families. Make checks payable to the 501(c)3 organization The Aleethia Foundation, Tax id #51-0529300. This fund is used 100% to support special needs for the recovering soldiers and their families as they work to build new lives, whether it is a “first month/last month” deposit, bills forgotten while recovering or to meet other educational/emotional needs.

Phase 1: Still in the Hospital, Keeping in Touch, Building up Strength
1. Gift cards in $5 increments from Dunkin Donuts or Burger King (all at the hospital).
2. Gift cards for a nice meal out with the family – Macaroni Grill is close to Walter Reed
(Takoma Park/Silver Spring metro) – in increments no larger than $25 please.

Phase 2: Transitioning to the Work Force, Moving Up and Out
1. Dry-cleaned mens and ladies suits, coats, ties, etc. for office wear. This is not a
clothing drive; emphasis is on mint quality, not quantity. Donate only what you
would be proud to see our soldiers wearing as they dress for success on the way
to a new career.

PLEASE MARK CLOTHES with a TAG indicating the SIZE of the item (makes
disbursement easier).
SPECIAL NEED FOR LARGER SIZES 44 -48+!!
ALSO, formal wear for both men and women appreciated, as many of these soldiers and their spouses are invited to attend formal functions around town.

2. Gift Certificates to Target (daily shuttle), Macy’s, and Safeway (in increments of $20-25 denominations makes disbursement easier). All are within easy access of Walter Reed/Navy Bethesda.
3. Thumb drives
4. New Laptops

What has made this event so successful in the past is that everyone is there to give back to the soldiers for giving so much for us. Although the event is sponsored by several organizations and companies for monetary and organizational support, all are doing this for one purpose – the soldiers. Thank you.

Written by cdorobek

January 27, 2010 at 2:07 PM