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December 8, 2008
Jones Lang LaSalle

DoEd IT; Kennedy
Center CIO; CGI


Most Thanksgiving worries center on a dry turkey, but Dept. of Education Senior Procurement Executive and Director of Contracts and Acquisition Management Hugh Hurwitz (whoosh, was that all one title?) was nervously monitoring the migration of the department's financial systems from Maryland to a data center in Plano, Texas. "We're a $65 billion agency and are in fact the world's largest bank with the money we give out for student loans and grant programs, so moving our financial systems was a little scary," says Hugh, who declined to delete our outstanding student loans from the agency's records.


Hugh's biggest project has been the EDUCATE contract where the department contracted out its IT infrastructure from servers and networks to IP phones. The contract was awarded a year ago and the department is currently undergoing a transition from their previous provider. "We're going from Windows 2000 to a Vista environment," says Hugh who, like every other government official, is trying to find qualified employees. "I'm hoping with the new administration there will be an emphasis on acquisition workforce so agencies can stop hiring each others' employees."


Hugh came to Education a little more than a year ago after being the Director of IT Shared Services at the FDA. Born in Boston, but raised in Chicago, Hugh got a law degree from American University and started his career as a private practice lawyer with newly elected Congressman Alan Grayson.  He then went to the Justice Department's Bureau of Prisons as a legal counsel, and after a brief stop at the NIH, eventually moved up to be Justice's procurement executive. The father of two spends his time with his wife and kids (his daughter plays travel soccer and basketball and his son is into tennis and soccer) and watching the Caps.

Kennedy Center's Tech Guy

With the Kennedy Center Honors last night, we figured it was a good time to meet CIO Alan Levine, who has headed up IT for more than 10 years at the nation's center for the performing arts. "When something goes wrong, it is obvious to thousands of people, so we are constantly checking out our systems because the show must always go on," he says. Alan also handles typical backroom IT and is currently implementing applications to help collaboration like Microsoft's Sharepoint.


Alan grew up in New Jersey where his parents performed in community theater. "I was more interested in the lights and effects than being on stage," says Alan, who put himself through the New Jersey Institute of Technology (he studied engineering) by designing lighting for plays. He started doing work at the McCarter Theater in Princeton at a time when theaters started using more IT. "I was able to really marry my two loves," says Alan, who came to the Kennedy Center in 1997. Alan spends his down time traveling and taking pictures (his office is filled with great ones) with a trip to Tanzania being his favorite, although he'd still like to visit China and India.

What's Working in Government

We recently met CGI's Andrew McLauchlin, who's heading up the company's Initiative for Collaborative Government that's analyzing (along with GMU, MD and Hopkins) the top challenges facing government and industry, along with providing solutions how to fix them. "One of the main purposes of the Initiative is to get government, industry and academia talking to each other and pass their thoughts on to the new administration to give them a head start," says Andrew. So what is working? Andrew mentioned a CGI program in Virginia where the state invested in broadband in rural areas to create jobs. As a result, CGI now has some 230 employees at a new facility in Lebanon, Va., performing software development, keeping jobs here in the U.S. rather than sending them offshore. Since the boss hates when we write long, check out more here.

David Stegon spent the weekend helping his girlfriend paint a bedroom, so he'll likely punch the first person he sees wearing a winter lilac (that's purple) shirt. Send painting tips and story ideas to David@Bisnow.com.

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