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DorobekInsider: Changes within the VA IT shop

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This item was updated with a correction on Oct. 7, 2009 at 9:25a ET.

We told you about those scandalous IG reports on the Department of Veterans Affairs CIO organization that showed former high-ranking VA IT officials “gave preferential treatment to certain contractors, engaged in nepotism in hiring and, in one case, took advantage of a relationship with a supervisor for personal gain.”

There has been a lot of buzz around the Beltway — and within the halls of VA. As I mentioned earlier, one of the hottest tickets in town is Thursday’s Input executive breakfast with VA CIO Roger Baker — who, it is important to note, was not at VA when all of the events alleged by the IG were supposed to have happened. I said earlier that I didn’t think that Baker will address the issue of the IG report, but… he may at least acknowledge that there have been some personnel shifts.

Jaren Doherty has been named the acting deputy assistant secretary for cyber-security, VA officials confirmed — and they noted that he is serving in an acting capacity. The emphasis comes from them. He is filling in for Adair Martinez, who is one of the players at the heart of the VA IG report drama. VA insiders say that Martinez was just recently put on administrative leave. VA officials will not discuss any of those particulars.

CORRECTION: VA officials have told me that the report about Nash is not accurate. “Laura Nash has no change to her present position, which is executive assistant in IPRM.” Your report yesterday that she was named acting associate director is not correct.” I stand corrected.

VA has also named Laura Nash to be the acting ADAS for cyber-security, filling in for Doherty. Nash’s name does appear in the IG reports.

We are also hearing that Bob Howard, the former VA CIO, who is also at the heart of the VA IG reports, has left Femme Comp Inc. (FCI), where he had landed as a as a senior vice president working on command and control and information technologies for the Defense Department. A few weeks ago, Howard sent an e-mail to a handful of people, which has been making the rounds, that merely gave a new e-mail contact. I have reached out to him, but I have not heard back.

Meanwhile, people tell me that VA is still conducting an investigation. One person who has dealt with similar kinds of issues told me that the IG report is something akin for a grand jury indictment — and it is VA management’s job to determine if there is enough evidence for administration action as recommended by the IG. VA management — the VA CIO, the general counsel, HR — have to ensure that they are fair and objective within the law.

And one person who has dealt with these kinds of issues said this process doesn’t necessarily move quickly.

Baker is in a complex situation. First off, he wasn’t at VA when all of this happened, yet it is his mess to clean up. But beyond that, he is likely to be criticized no matter what he does.

It will be interesting to see what Baker has to say on Thursday. My prediction is that he still won’t say all that much, but many people will be there — we hear that Input’s numbers are nearing 600 people.

Written by cdorobek

October 6, 2009 at 12:30 PM

DorobekInsider: ConnellyWorks scores a coup hiring ACT/IAC’s Kelly Olson

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In a coup for ConnellyWorks, the PR/marking/events company has hired Kelly Olson, the director of conferences and events for the American Council for Technology and the Industry Advisory Council.

Olsen is a superstar. Earlier, the DorobekInsider told you that she was recently recognized by ConventionSouth magazine, in its December issue, names Olson as one of the “Meeting Pros To Watch In ‘09.”

A bit coup for ConnellyWorks Joanne Connelly. Congratulations to both of them.

Olsen’s bio:

olsonKelly Olson joined ACT/IAC in 2004. As the Director of Conferences and Events, Kelly manages the overall strategy and operation of the organization’s annual conferences, events, awards and professional development programs. Kelly also works with the ACT and IAC leadership and volunteers on a variety of special events that occur throughout the year, including golf and tennis tournaments and charitable fundraisers. Prior to joining ACT-IAC , Kelly worked as a Senior Program Manager for Professional and Scientific Associates, an event management, communications and technical assistance firm, where she lead a team in planning and executing conferences and events for several clients including the White House, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense and the Department of Justice. Kelly holds a BS in Public Administration from George Mason University and received her Certified Meeting Professional Designation (CMP) in August 2006.

UPDATE: ACT/IAC Executive Director Ken Allen sent out the following note to ACT/IAC members:

It is with regret that I announce the departure of Kelly Olson from ACT-IAC. Please join all of us in wishing Kelly a fond farewell and the best of sucess in a new business endeavor. Kelly will be leaving toward the end of the month to join ConnellyWorks, Inc, a marketing/PR/events firm.

Kelly has been with us for the last 5 years and has been responsible for managing our very successful events programs, most notably the MOCs and ELCs. We extend our sincere thanks for her exceptional professional contributions toward ACT-IAC’s success and for passing along her many “secrets to success” to her talented staff.

We hope to see Kelly as she works with companies around the industry and wish her our very best.

KENNETH B. ALLEN
Executive Director
American Council for Technology & Industry Advisory Council

EDITOR’S NOTE: Item was updated to correct the spelling of Olson’s name.

Written by cdorobek

June 4, 2009 at 9:11 PM

GSA gets a new acting acting administrator — Paul Prouty

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Paul Prouty

Paul Prouty

The Obama administration today named Paul Prouty, has been named the acting GSA administrator. Prouty has been the Assistant Regional Administrator for Public Buildings Service (PBS) in the Rocky Mountain Region. Jim Williams, who has been serving as the acting administrator since the departure of Lurita Doan last year, will return to his post as the commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service. That also means that Tyree Varnado, who has been serving as the acting commissioner of GSA’s FAS, will be the deputy FAS commissioner. Barney Brasseux will remain in the career post as deputy administrator. Insiders tell me that this was expected. It is unclear if this means that Prouty might be nominated as the GSA administrator. Most guess not.

NOTE: I have updated this post. I had originally said that Varnado was going to be deputy administrator. Clearly that is not the case. So… Prouty as acting administrator… Brasseux continues in the career post as deputy administator… Williams back as FAS commissioner… and Varnado as FAS deputy commissioner.

Read Prouty’s bio after the break.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

January 22, 2009 at 3:30 PM

A correction… and a even bigger congratulations to Microsoft’s Teresa Carlson

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Over the weekend, I posted about Microsoft promotions. Unfortunately, I had heard word about Teresa Carlson’s promotion and the… well, I just got it wrong. (And no, I’m not linking to an incorrect item. Well, OK. You can read the incorrect item here. In the interest of transparency, I have not deleted it. Instead, I have made it clear that I was in error and I have directed people to this post, which is correct. As I mention there, I didn’t have a formal DorobekInsider correction policy — how would I deal with mistakes when we make them — because we will make them. I will have one and I will post it by the end of the week.)

That being said, a very big congratulations to Teresa Carlson.

In fact, Carlson is going to lead all of Microsoft’s federal government business. She replaces Curt Kolcun, who was promoted in July to be vice president of Microsoft federal’s parent division, Microsoft’s Public Sector business group.

Here is the real release — dated today, I might add.

Microsoft Promotes Carlson to Lead Federal Government Business

Moves to V.P. Position after Managing Company’s Civilian Government Sector

Washington, D.C. – October 14, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. announced today that the company has promoted Teresa Carlson to Vice President for its U.S. federal government business. In this role, Carlson is responsible for all of Microsoft’s business focused on the U.S. federal government, including sales, contracting, pre-sales technical support, consulting services, and customer satisfaction. Carlson replaces Curt Kolcun, who was recently promoted to manage Microsoft’s entire U.S. Public Sector division, which in addition to the federal government, includes responsibilities for state and local government, as well as higher education and K-12 markets.

Carlson joined the company in 2002 as part of Microsoft Federal to start up and manage its Business Productivity unit. In that role, she led a team focused on delivering customer business value through a portfolio of business scenarios. She then was promoted to lead the U.S. Federal Solutions Unit where she created a comprehensive solutions framework that was introduced into the U.S. federal market place. Teresa was also responsible for Microsoft’s U.S. Federal partner channel, which consists of more than 2,500 Microsoft business partners.

In July 2005 Carlson became Microsoft Federal’s U.S. Director of Strategy and Operations, where she assisted in running the overall Federal business, in addition to developing new concepts, methods and strategies for working in the U.S. federal market. In 2006 she assumed responsibility for Microsoft’s U.S. Federal Civilian Agencies and International Global Organizations (IGOs) business. In this role, Carlson was responsible for sales, contracting, pre-sales technical support, customer satisfaction and performance.

Before joining Microsoft, Carlson was the Worldwide Vice President for marketing and business development for Lexign Inc., formerly Keyfile Corp., a software company focused on secure, end-to-end business transactions using XML and other technologies. Upon acquisition of three separate companies by Lexign, Carlson was responsible for the overall strategy, integration world-wide launch of the newly merged company.

Carlson is a native of Kentucky and holds an undergraduate as well as an M.S. degree in Communications, Speech and Language Pathology from Western Kentucky University. Carlson currently serves on the boards of the Bethesda, Md., chapter of AFCEA; AFFIRM; the American Red Cross; TIE-DC, and NPower.

I will reiterate what I said in the earlier post:

Carlson leads Microsoft’s strong federal team — a group of people who are passionate about helping the government accomplish it’s mission. Yes, they are also interested in helping Microsoft be successful, but…

I know Carlson fairly well. She has been a powerful force in helping the government establish the Federal Core Desktop Configuration. (Read Microsoft’s info about the FCDC here.) That is a case where the FCDC may have helped Microsoft, but… it is also an important piece of securing agency PCs… and it is a key part of the Bush administration’s stepped-up cyber-security initiative. It ends up that she did not win a Fed 100 award for her efforts — Shelly Bird, chief architect at Microsoft Consulting Services did, and, from what I have heard, deservedly so. But I have also had insiders tell me that this initiative never would have come to fruition without Carlson’s energy and efforts.

I think FCDC is an example where both government and industry can work together. It doesn’t always work out that ways, right?

Congratulations to Carlson. This is well deserved.

Written by cdorobek

October 14, 2008 at 8:23 AM

CORRECTED: Microsoft Federal promotes Carlson

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Editor’s note: This post was… well, it was not correct. (You know, you can point these things out, right?) I had heard about Teresa Carlson’s promotion, but I couldn’t find the information out there. When I did, it was a link to information dated October 2007. So technically it was accurate, just not accurate for the time. In fact, Carlson has been promoted to lead Microsoft Federal. You can read about that here.

In the interest of transparency, I have made clear the error, but I am not just deleting the post… particularly because the information about A Salute to the Troops is still accurate — and important. And I’ll post about the DorobekInsider’s correction policy this week. Frankly, I didn’t have a formal one, but… I will now.

Kudos to three of Microsoft federal’s senior management team, which I heard about late last week but which Government Executive’s Tech Insider blog reports managed to write up first.

Teresa Carlson was named general manager of U.S. Government Civilian Agencies and International Global Organizations, and Brian Roach general manager of the Federal Department of Defense group. And Suzanne Behrens, former director of public sector marketing, was named general manager of the company’s Business Marketing Organization, handling public sector communications.

Microsoft has a powerful federal team — a group of people who are passionate about helping the government accomplish it’s mission. Yes, they are also interested in helping Microsoft be successful, but…
I know Carlson and Behrens fairly well, and I have met Roach several times. Carlson was a powerful force in helping the government establish the Federal Core Desktop Configuration. (Read Microsoft’s info about the FCDC here.) That is a case where the FCDC may have helped Microsoft, but… it is also an important piece of securing agency PCs… and it is a key part of OMB’s cyber-security initiative. She did not win a Fed 100 award for her efforts — Shelly Bird, chief architect at Microsoft Consulting Services did, and, from what I have heard, deservedly so. But I have also had insiders tell me that this initiative never would have come to fruition without Carlson’s energy and efforts.

I think FCDC is an example where both government and industry can work together. It doesn’t always work out that ways, does it?

I didn’t get a copy of the press release — in fact, I don’t see it posted anywhere — but… GovExec has it, so… I’m passing it along…

FOR RELEASEOctober 3, 2007

Microsoft Advances Three Leaders in its U.S. Public Sector Division

Behrens, Carlson, Roach Each Promoted to General Manager Positions

WASHINGTON, D.C. — October 3, 2007 — Microsoft Corporation has promoted three leaders of its U.S. Public Sector organization. The company named Suzanne Behrens , General Manager of its Business Marketing Organization; Teresa Carlson, General Manager of U.S. Government Civilian Agencies and International Global Organizations; and Brian Roach, General Manager for the Federal Department of Defense group.

Behrens served as director of the government division and most recently public sector marketing. As General Manager she will oversee Microsoft’s public sector marketing and communications efforts, breadth sales, as well as the organization’s citizenship efforts. She leads a team of professionals responsible for developing programs designed to identify business opportunities and facilitate Microsoft’s thought leadership across the public sector, including government and education. She joined Microsoft in 1996.

Carlson, who had served as U.S. director for strategy and operations, now leads the U.S. Government Civilian Agencies and International Global Organizations within the federal division and is responsible for defining the strategy and overseeing the execution of sales, customer satisfaction and performance of these business units. Carlson joined Microsoft in 2002. Roach, who had served as the Manager of Microsoft’s Federal Healthcare organization, now leads the U.S. Federal Department of Defense business unit and is responsible for defining the strategy and overseeing the execution of sales within the services, combatant commands, and Defense Agencies. Roach joined Microsoft in 1999.

Curt Kolcun, Vice President of Microsoft Federal, is the over all leader of the team. Last year, Federal Computer Week honored Kolcun with a Fed 100 award for his impassioned work helping veterans and USO. Kolcun spearheaded a remarkable event in New York — A Salute To Our Troops — held at Radio City Music Hall. I mention it because they are holding the second annual salute again in November.

Read more about the salute after the break.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

October 11, 2008 at 5:16 PM

DorobekInsider: RadonLeaders.org… a slight correction

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I told you about EPA’s remarkable program where, rather then coming up with a message to tell people, have a competition for a public service announcement — and they got some remarkable results.

I said that EPA also “created a social network” where those involved in radon issues could come together.

As Jeremy Ames of EPA’s Indoor Environments Division, who came up with the video contest, noted in the comments section of that post that EPA did not come up with collaboration site radonleaders.org.

Thanks also for mentioning RadonLeaders.org project. One minor note, RadonLeaders.org is actually a partner website — basically sponsored by the state radon programs, with close collaboration from industry and EPA. I don’t want to take all the credit as it was truly a collaborative effort, and we’re really pleased with the results.

In a way, that makes this even more valuable because it is creating a platform where others can come together and work together and collaborate. In the end, it is the real wonderful — and power — thing about these tools: They empower others. It is the thing I love about Virtual Alabama. The Alabama Department of Homeland Security built the tool, but local communities and other state agencies are finding new ways to use the tool. Very powerful stuff.

The other part of EPA’s radon project that I really love: There were some senior leaders who didn’t know about it. To me, that says that it is an organization that hastruly moved beyond the top-down management approach. It is really transforming — and people are innovating and trying new ways of working across traditional boundaries.

Meanwhile, we will have folks from EPA talking about the radon videos on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris on Tuesday, Oct. 7. In DC, we’re on 1500 AM… or online anytime at federalnewsradio.com.

Written by cdorobek

October 6, 2008 at 10:34 PM