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December 3, 2008
Jones Lang LaSalle


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We asked Karen Evans for her greatest accomplishment in 5 years as Administrator of e-Gov and IT at OMB and her answer was: “That I’m still married.” And here we thought she was going to talk about cyber security. “When so much of your life is dedicated to your job, it can be difficult at home, so when my appointment ends I plan to retire and spend some time with my husband and two teenagers,” says Karen, whose to-do list includes reading Dean Koontz novels and beating her daughter at Guitar Hero (no small task).


So now the question: Will Karen end up as an EVP at a big contractor or start a consulting business? “I speak my mind freely and that would probably get me in a lot of trouble in the business world; plus they are more worried about profits and earnings while I’ve spent my career managing projects” says Karen.  She has been waking up at 3:30 each morning to make the two-hour drive from her home in West VirginiaWe can barely roll out of bed at 6:30, so we appreciate she is ready for some time off.


As you can see from her office, Karen is spending her last few weeks on the job prepping her records for Obama & Co., along with status reports of ongoing government IT projects. “We’ve done great things implementing IPv6 and that is one area I strongly encourage the next administration to pursue, because the possibilities are limitless,” says Karen, who was CIO at the Dept. of Energy before being tabbed by Clay Johnson for her current post in ‘02. “We just took our department picture with President Bush and to have him thank me for the work I did for this country in front of my family was just amazing. I never thought I’d be in a role like this,” Karen tells us.

Technology at the Smithsonian?

Earlier this week we met Smithsonian CIO and prominent Washington hockey mom, Ann Speyer. Ann tells us her she is busy creating a digital Smithsonian using technology to make collections available online anytime to everyone at all the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, nine research centers and the National Zoo. This vision to digitize and integrate search capabilities is thanks (indirectly) to her little hockey player. “I was helping my son do a school project on Northeast Woodland Indians and I made him use the Smithsonian site instead of Google, but could not find the right museum for our search—and I work here!” Ann says.


Ann tells us less than two percent of the Smithsonian’s more than 137 million items are on display at any given time.  Items like the Hope Diamond, the Star Spangled Banner, and the Spirit of St. Louis (above) are seen by every school-age child in the Metro area on school trips – not to mention throngs of out-of-towners. “Along with all the backroom IT, I want to further the Smithsonian’s mission and make these items available online for the entire world to view wherever they live, work or play,” she says.


Here’s Ann in the Smithsonian’s data center in Herndon. She grew up in Bude, Mississippi with a population of 1,000— “only if you count all the dogs and cats,” she says. Ann started her career at General Dynamics, developing onboard navigation systems for jets and training F-16 fighter pilots. (“I was the original Kelly McGillis,” Ann says to all the Top Gun fans.) She went on to work for KPMG, Andersen Consulting, Litton PRC, and PeopleSoft (creating their federal consulting practice) before heading up business technology at HHS. She came to the Smithsonian in ’05 as CTO, before becoming CIO the next year.

Students In Need of Cash

Instead of getting Mom a macaroni necklace this holiday season, cash-strapped college students can now go to ZippyJobs.com to earn some extra dough. We recently met co-founders Jason Panda and Jai Hokimi, whose site lets students (and only students) search for internships and part-time or one-time work near their school. “There are so many places to find jobs once you graduate, but we wanted to create a place for students to earn money when they need it most,” says Jason, a lawyer by trade, originally from Brockton, Mass. Jai was an exec at Blackboard, before meeting Jason through a mutual friend.  They started the business earlier this summer. Jai, a father of two, says, “We’re at 12 schools in the metro area and plan to take this nationwide.”

David Stegon is at AFCEA’s Air Force IT Day today. He’ll be the one with the camera making jet noises. Send story ideas to David@Bisnow.com

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