Federal Innovators: Part III
They are changing the way the government uses, shares and protects data. Read on to learn more about this set of federal innovators (and check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our series). And then join us for our Federal Entrepreneurs and Innovators event on June 11 to honor all of them.
Founder/CEO, C2 Labs
Company: Launched a little over a year ago, C2 Labs is a cloud security and services company that partners with commercial and government customers as they evolve to a cloud-connected enterprise.
Innovative project: Provided USAID a cloud readiness assessment with short, medium and long-term recommendations across business, technical and security areas in about 10 weeks. The agency is now moving forward.
Innovation inspiration: Understanding government's challenges as a former insider. Previous job was creating new technologies at DOE/NNSA’s Los Alamos National Laboratory and DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (US nuclear weapons branch of the government) as the deputy CTO.
Why this career: Technology was baked into DNA at age 8. Dad brought home the first IBM PC in mid-'80s and wanted to understand it. Took it apart and asked dad (an accountant at the time) a million questions. In college, had opportunity to play with world’s first web browser (NCSA Mosaic), which was written by a classmate at the University of Illinois.
Grew up: Chicago suburbs
Why DC: Came three years ago to serve as NNSA’s deputy CTO.
First job: Park sweeper at Six Flags Great America. Used money to buy a 14.4k modem.
Free time: Tinker with tech, avid wine and food enthusiast, and travel.
Family: Engaged to be married May 30 and three kids (15, 13, 4).
Favorite vacation spot: Bali, Indonesia
Bucket list: Travel to every continent and ideally every country.
Daily habit: Gets centered with a daily devotional with fiancé.
Startling fact: Huge Star Trek aficionado—“love seeing how science fiction is now becoming science fact.”
Director, Digital Government, GSA
Job: Works with agencies across government helping them build an any time, anywhere, any device government through services, communications, webinars and training. The role involves sharing the way agencies are growing their digital presence so that other agencies aren’t having to reinvent the wheel.
On the job: 6 years
Innovative project: As part of the digital strategy, in one year introduced government-wide digital analytics to provide better customer experiences; introduced Sites.USA.gov, a content management system so agencies could quickly build websites; piloted a micro-tasking platform to link innovators to digital tasks; and launched crowdsource testing programs to test apps on different devices.
Innovation inspiration: “The better functioning we can make government and meet the needs of the citizenry, the stronger our democracy.”
Why this career: Came from a liberal arts background, with a general studies degree from the University of Michigan. Been building a career by pivoting, but areas of new tech are really interesting. “A curious mind can go far.”
Grew up: Detroit, within a mile of Eminem.
First job: Worked in a record store in high school. Had to do inventory every week and loved seeing what sold and what didn’t. It was an early introduction into data analytics.
Free time: Cook and post food porn photos on Instagram.
Family: Married, two adults sons and 80-pound hound dog (with his own Tumblr).
Favorite vacation spot: Nantucket
Daily habit: Track calories on MyFitnessPal app
Startling fact: Came to DC with $1k and a car but no job or place to live.
Dave Gwyn and Chris Howard
Federal VPs, Nutanix
Photo: Chris Howard
Company: 5-year-old hyperconvergence company that replaces need for independent servers, switches and storage. IT departments can run workloads in simpler, more efficient systems, allowing for easier and faster data center consolidation. San Jose-based company has over 1,000 employees, over $300M in revenue, doubled in size in the last year and has a valuation of $2B. Federal team is based in DC and handles 125 federal customers, including DOD, FBI and CMS.
On the job: Both since 2012.
Innovative project: Providing 3,300 virtualized desktops to the National Guard and taking advantage of a government energy savings program to fund the project from the money saved by eliminating desktop computers and their maintenance and service.
Innovation inspiration: Chris—love to see something that saves the government money on a daily basis; Dave—disrupting the status quo.
Photo: Dave Gwyn
Why this career: Chris—father was in tech, always loved technology and an IT career seemed natural; Dave—been geeking out since high school and majored in computer science at the University of Maryland. Started as a programmer, then a consultant, and eventually sales.
Grew up: Chris—father was in the military, so grew up all over. Moved to Virginia in high school; Dave—father was in the foreign service and lived all over, including California, Laos, Mexico and Thailand. Went to high school in Rockville, MD.
First jobs: Chris—Erol’s Video; Dave—McDonald’s, manned the grill.
Free time: Chris—family, sports, kids events, skiing and summer boating at family house in Lake Anna; Dave—tennis, family, kids sports (soccer, baseball, karate), skiing, snowboarding, and beach house in Ocean City, MD.
Family: Chris—married 10 years, two kids (9 and 7) and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel; Dave—married 15 years, four kids (14, 12, 10, 1) and half Beagle, half Border Collie.
Favorite vacation spots: Chris—Costa Rica; Dave—Boca Raton, FL
Bucket lists: Chris—visit Australia; Dave—attend Wimbledon with family.
Daily habits: Chris—exercise; Dave—coffee (for past 17 years, will only drink first cup out of a yellow mug)
Startling facts: Chris—in prime, could dunk a basketball while only 5'9" tall; Dave—turned 50 and daughter turned 1 in same year. Will be putting a kid through college at age 70.