Federal, industry leaders recognized for ‘Breaking the Status Quo’

At Brocade's 2015 Federal Forum, four federal and industry leaders were recognized for their innovative work in government information technology.

Four leaders from industry and the federal government were recognized Wednesday with a “Breaking the Status Quo” leadership award at Brocade’s 2015 Federal Forum.

The Homeland Security Department’s Rob Karas, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s William Walders and the Defense Department’s Lt. Col. Ahmed Williamson were selected from 23 federal government nominees as winners of the federal leadership award.

For industry, out of the four nominees, Steve Charles, the co-founder of immixGroup, received the honor.


“The 2015 Breaking the Status Quo Awards recognize thought leaders who have developed and operationalized innovative strategies, who think outside the box, aren’t afraid to shake things up and who continue to raise the bar higher,” FedScoop CEO Goldy Kamali said during the awards presentation at the Federal Forum, which was produced by FedScoop. “Their significant contributions in their IT innovation efforts set them apart from the status quo.”

The federal winners of the award are:

  • Robert Karas — At DHS, Karas leads the National Cybersecurity Assessments and Technical Services team, which develops risk-based assessments of agencies’ cybersecurity. Through those assessments, Karas’ team helps agencies close capability gaps, limit exposure and reduce exploitation on the network. Karas’ team works with more than 150 state, local, tribal, territorial and other critical infrastructure entities.
  • William Walders — As the chief information officer for the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Walders has embarked on an effort to improve the center’s financial transparency through a more defined IT catalog. Walders and his team have also worked to ensure that the IT services in the catalog can be delivered consistently — not only to reduce risk and cost overages, but to help doctors deliver services more quickly to patents.
  • Lt. Col. Ahmed Williamson — Inside the confines of the Pentagon, Williamson is the force behind the Joint Chiefs of Staff IT services’ move to a common provider. The change came out of an efficiency review conducted by the department’s deputy secretary and will serve as a pilot for transforming more than 30 organizations within the Pentagon to a common IT service provider.

The industry leadership award winner is:

  • Steve Charles — Charles has spent his career helping IT manufacturers sell to the federal government and, in turn, helping the government acquire IT. This year, Charles worked to educate the government on the advantages of infrastructure-as-a-service — and the best ways to procure it. Charles helped build a program for government to acquire a network from operating funds, allowing agencies to get state-of-the-art technology and upgrade at any time.

Additional reporting from the Federal Forum 2015:

Government needs agile networks, federal CIOs sayAt Brocade’s Federal Forum, produced by FedScoop, IT leaders emphasized the need for flexible computing networks as the U.S. faces a mounting cyber threats.

Federal IT isn’t keeping up with new technology – Brocade CEOCEO Lloyd Carney argues the federal government must modernize its legacy IT systems to create stronger defenses against countries using newer technologies.

How the ‘New IP’ can help federal agenciesBrocade said federal agencies that use software-defined networks will get the fast and flexible systems that they have wanted for years.


CIOs turn focus to business outcomes and missionAs they update their IT infrastructure, federal CIOs are beginning to focus on how technology can impact business and mission.

Tony Scott’s plan for restoring confidence in federal cybersecurityThe new U.S. chief information officer outlined his strategy for improving the government’s cybersecurity posture — faster, newer, better.

Agencies using hybrid clouds need orchestration toolsAs agencies expand their IT into multiple clouds, the need for a single, open source orchestration platform is becoming more crucial, a cloud expert argues.

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