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Trending 40: Federal Innovators & Entrepreneurs

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    Trending 40: Federal Innovators & Entrepreneurs

    The most innovative private and public sector people disrupting the way government functions.

    1 of 28

    Jonathan Aberman, founder/chairman, TandemNSI

    Jonathan Aberman, founder/chairman, TandemNSI

    Organization: TandemNSI, launched two years ago, connects national security program managers from agencies like DARPA, DHS, Office of Naval Research and DIA with entrepreneurs. Community has grown to over 3,000 entrepreneurs and federal program managers. The organization is funded by Virginia and Arlington County.

    Innovative project: Demystifying and facilitating the connection that doesn’t currently exist and needs to exist nationally. Now more than ever, both for economic development and national security, entrepreneurs need to be connected with agencies.

    Inspiration for innovation: Enjoy doing fun things that matter.

    Why this career: Grew up in family businesses—grandparents owned furniture store and worked as tailors; parents had a fishery and art store. Career includes working as an economist, investment banker, lawyer and venture capitalist. Learned enough and had enough competencies to own a business and be successful.

    Hometown: Philly Why DC: Came to attend GW and become a politician. (A taste of fundraising cured that idea.)

    First job: Pharmacy stock boy. Free time: Play guitar in local band called Two-Car Living Room and co-host Left Jab Radio, a talk radio show on Sirius XM.

    Family: Married 14 years; two adult children.

    Favorite vacation spot: The Big Island, Hawaii

    Bucket list: Be a TV talk show host.

    Daily habit: Start each morning checking email and tech pubs and tweeting articles of interest (@jaberman).

    Startling fact: Dropped out of high school junior year. Graduated on time by attending night school.

    15 of 28

    Chris Howard, federal VP, Nutanix

    Chris Howard, federal VP, Nutanix

    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: 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: Love to see something that saves the government money on a daily basis

    Why this career: Father was in tech, always loved technology and an IT career seemed natural

    Grew up: Father was in the military, so grew up all over. Moved to Virginia in high school

    First jobs: Erol’s Video

    Free time: Family, sports, kids events, skiing and summer boating at family house in Lake Anna

    Family: Married 10 years, two kids (9 and 7) and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

    Favorite vacation spots: Costa Rica

    Bucket lists: Visit Australia

    Daily habits: Exercise

    Startling facts: In prime, could dunk a basketball while only 5'9" tall

    26 of 28

    Andrew Chang, co-founder, Eastern Foundry

    Andrew Chang, co-founder, Eastern Foundry

    Company: Accelerator, co-working space (21k SF) and marketplace for tech companies interested in federal government work. Organization has evolved from its launch in December when it was a co-working space for government contractors. It’s now at capacity with 52 companies and has a waiting list.

    Innovative project: Launching Foundry Cup, a business challenge competition, in June, to find innovative solutions for PTSD for veterans.

    Innovation inspiration: While at Endgame, he saw the challenge of bringing Silicon Valley-type innovation to the government.

    Why this career: While an Army intel officer, realized that the military wasn't getting the best cutting edge technology on the front lines and wanted better technology for national security.

    Grew up: LaGrange, GA.

    Why DC: To work for Endgame’s federal division.

    First job: Dad paid a nickel for every pine cone retrieved on five-acre property.

    Free time: Travel

    Family: Goldendoodle puppy named Teddy.

    Favorite vacation spot: Greece

    Bucket list: Run a marathon.

    Daily habit: Walk Teddy three times per day.

    Startling fact: Loves country music.

    25 of 28

    Holly Stone, president, Stone Security Engineering

    Holly Stone, president, Stone Security Engineering

    Company: Small, woman-owned consulting firm launched in 2008, specializing in protecting people and properties from accidental and manmade hazards. Most of the work is focused on explosions from terrorists or industrial accidents. Primary clients are DOD, State Department and GSA, as well as the United Nations and other international NGOs, transit organizations and developers of major urban projects.

    Innovative project: Helped write GSA’s recent blast engineering standards, used by all project managers.

    Innovation inspiration: Very invested in protecting people doing good work. Also inspired to look around and see where there’s a need and to come up with a solution.

    Why this career: Started working with FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Program, which was perfect dovetail into working on the other side of the equation to prevent disasters.

    Grew up: San Diego

    First job: During college, worked for a housing developer in California.

    Free time: Walk dog, read and being outdoors.

    Family: Married over a year; one English Staffordshire Terrier.

    Favorite vacation spot: Toss up between Prague and Belize.

    Bucket list: Horseback riding in New Zealand.

    Daily habit: Read the New York Times.

    Startling fact: Didn’t learn to ride a bike until college.

    24 of 28

    Bob Eisiminger, CEO, Knight Point Systems

    Bob Eisiminger, CEO, Knight Point Systems

    Company: Service-disabled, veteran-owned business, launched in 2006, that provides technology and consulting to the federal government, state and local agencies, and commercial enterprises.

    Innovation project: Developed Horizon, a hybrid cloud solution that allows customers to connect cloud environments and share resources among multiple data centers. It’s helping government agencies expand current technology into the cloud for more processing power, software applications, security, storage or communications when needed—without spending extra money.

    Innovation inspiration: Have always looked for ways to get things done more efficiently. Starting as a kid delivering The Washington Post to working in an ice manufacturing plant, to everyday interactions.

    Grew up: Moved around until Dad, an Army officer, retired from Fort Meade, MD.

    Why DC: Graduated from US Military Academy in ’88 and found way back to the area.

    First job: Washington Post paperboy—received an award for delivering every paper during the blizzard of ’79.

    Free time: Golf and supporting local teams—Redskins, Orioles and Maryland basketball.

    Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere with sun and golf.

    Bucket list: Go to a Super Bowl if the Redskins ever make it back.

    Daily habit: Catch someone doing something right.

    Startling fact: Dad left for Vietnam the day after I was born.

    23 of 28

    Julie Lenzer Kirk, director, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Economic Development Administration, Department of Commerce

    Julie Lenzer Kirk, director, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Economic Development Administration, Department of Commerce

    Job: Working with the Secretary of Commerce, the White House and the Economic Development Administration on policies and programs to support the innovation economy and create more jobs.

    Innovative project: At start of position, office had been empty for a year. In six months, grew the team to six people. One of the first projects was soliciting nominations for the National Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship—175 people applied for 27 spots. Also worked on the $15M Regional Innovation Strategies grant program. The program received 241 applications, partly because the team restructured it to include a broader, diverse community. Had to reach across the federal government to get help reviewing applications.

    Innovation inspiration: Always had the GSD mantra. With the perspective that nothing is impossible, innovation comes.

    Why this career: Studied computer science in college. Left IBM in ’95 to launch a software company (at least half the product code was written by Julie). Felt that entrepreneurship was freedom and the ability to be your own master.

    Grew up: Dallas.

    Why DC: Was a summer co-op student at IBM.

    First job: Worked in a grocery store fish market.

    Free time: Learning to play electric guitar and scuba diving

    Family: Two daughters, both in college, and two cats.

    Favorite vacation spot: Home on the Eastern Shore.

    Bucket list: Go on a Mediterranean cruise.

    Daily habit: Morning meditation and prayer and filling gratitude jar.

    Startling fact: A 52-inch wide fat head of the Incredible Hulk sits in her office. It was a gift by staff at Julie’s one-year anniversary with the message “Keep breaking through the red tape.”

    22 of 28

    Pam Hird, USDA project manager

    Pam Hird, USDA project manager

    Agency and job: Responsible for collecting all data for US agriculture producers through surveys. Transitioned 3,200 field interviewers from paper collection to mobile device collection. Now working on creating a user-friendly form that anyone can fill out.

    On the job: Five years.

    Innovative project: Oversaw project to bring the first iPad to the federal government. Field interviewers use them to collect data from surveys. Team also developed a cloud-based platform for storing and accessing surveys. Over 3,200 people were trained in three days to use the new devices.

    Innovation inspiration: Have a knack for looking at processes and figuring out how to automate them. "Amazing to think where we are today is light years away from where we were five years ago."

    Why this career: In college, started in business and accounting, took a computer class on a whim. The logic of it made sense to me.

    Grew up: Falls Church and West Virginia.

    Why DC: Opportunity to head up something exciting at the agency HQ.

    First job: Shampoo girl at a beauty salon

    Free time: Travel, reading, TV, hiking, and raise and show champion Golden Retrievers.

    Family: Significant other; two adult children; three Golden Retrievers.

    Favorite vacation spot: Crested Butte in Colorado, NC beaches, Virginia Beach and anywhere in Europe.

    Bucket list: Visit New Zealand.

    Daily habit: Walk a few miles with dogs.

    Startling fact: Was born in DC.

    21 of 28

    Zachary Hanif, director of applied data science, Novetta

    Zachary Hanif, director of applied data science, Novetta

    Company: Data analytics company helping national security, intel and private-sector customers protect their networks. Role is to make sure Novetta products are sensible, scale well and that the data they collect and analytics they perform are accurate.

    Innovative project: Novetta’s Cyber Analytics product, which allows customers to capture huge quantities of network information at extremely high volumes, store it and perform analytics.

    Innovation inspiration: Known for a long time that career would focus on cybersecurity. Wanted to work on products that empower people in their jobs and cutting the time they spend fixing datasets or weeding through huge sets of logs.

    Why this career: Grew up with computers and knew early on that people who worked well with computers had an advantage. Been lucky to have mentors who have taken career path seriously.

    Grew up: Moved around, lived in Atlanta before DC.

    Why DC: Job with Endgame; East Coast is biggest hotbed of talent and domain expertise.

    First job: Sold uniforms for private schools while in high school.

    Free time: Rock climbing and cooking

    Favorite vacation spot: Seattle

    Bucket list: Parachuting and hang gliding

    Daily habits: Exercise for an hour or two.

    20 of 28

    Anup Ghosh, CEO, Invincea

    Anup Ghosh, CEO, Invincea

    Photo: Second from left, on a Napa Valley trip with friends.

    Company: Cybersecurity firm launched by Anup in 2009 that stops advanced threats against corporate networks.

    Innovative project: Through Invincea Labs, developed innovations for USG, primarily funded by DARPA. One recent innovation was developing a distributed network of sensors for nuclear radiation detection that can be worn by first responders.

    Innovation inspiration: Government has had a long history of inspiring tech innovations that produce multibillion-dollar commercial markets. Threats to national security and the commercial sector inspire Invincea to develop a new generation of advanced security technologies for the computing infrastructure.

    Why this career: Was trained as an engineer—PhD in electrical engineering from UVA.

    Grew up: Born in Raleigh, NC, but moved around. Ended up in Worcester, MA.

    Why DC: Fell in love with the area after moving to Virginia for UVA grad school.

    First job: Paper route and mowing lawns.

    Free time: Avid reader of health-related books, go to the gym, bicycle and golf.

    Family: Married 20 years; one son (15); brother in NJ and dad in NC.

    Favorite vacation spot: Outer Banks, NC

    Bucket list: Play golf on the old courses of Scotland, Ireland.

    Daily habit: Gym workout; bike to work 7 miles some days.

    Startling fact: Follows a strict Paleo diet.

    19 of 28

    Adam Vincent, CEO, ThreatConnect

    Adam Vincent, CEO, ThreatConnect

    Company: Helps security teams at Fortune 500 companies and government agencies aggregate threat data into a single platform, no matter the source. It then provides a place to analyze the data and lets users take action to block malicious activity and protect their networks.

    Innovative project: Recently launched free edition of ThreatConnect to help government efforts to encourage sharing of threat intelligence with and between private and public organizations.

    Innovation inspiration: Companies like Salesforce.com that have disrupted the business world. Hopeful that ThreatConnect can do the same for the security industry.

    Why this career: Was a dreamer from an early age and had dozens of ideas for products by college. Mother was a nurse and single mom, so had to work hard to overcome the situation. Enlisted in the Air National Guard and worked as an aircraft mechanic through college, where a passion for network security started.

    Grew up: Catskill, NY Why DC: After college, left job as airplane mechanic and took an entry-level job in DC.

    First job: Carvel and McDonald’s at a NY state thruway rest stop. “Still cringe when I see buses pull up.”

    Free time: Outdoors, family, being on the water and home improvement.

    Family: Married eight years, three children (4, 22 months and 6 weeks), and dog, Fresno.

    Favorite vacation spot: Maui

    Bucket list: Year-long family boating adventure to the Caribbean for winter and NY’s Hudson River for summer.

    Daily habit: Try to brighten someone’s day with a smile and a warm hello.

    Startling fact: Career in computers started in telemarketing. Learned about selling to people on the phone, but then started doubling as a network administrator after seeing a need to share prospects and opportunities with other sales people.

    18 of 28

    Andy Black, CEO, Navanti Group

    Andy Black, CEO, Navanti Group

    Company: Launched by Andy in 2008, Navanti solves big data challenges in developing countries where data and transparency can help government and commercial clients operate more effectively and thus stimulate economic and political development. Navanti gathers proprietary data sets from researchers, crowdsourcing and open sources.

    Innovative project: Used gamification with youth to promote constructive activism and peaceful development in an underprivileged part of Kenya. Thousands of people got involved and left a lasting impact.

    Innovation inspiration: As a researcher, saw important decisions being made in places like Africa with data from the British and French colonial era. Knew there was an opportunity to do things better.

    Why this career: After 9/11, got involved with the Centre for the Study of Terrorism & Political Violence, a prominent security studies think tank. Got hooked working on projects covering Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia.

    Grew up: On a farm in central Pennsylvania.

    First professional job: Digital Sandbox, supporting DHS with development of a risk-based resource allocation methodology using background in anti-terrorism.

    Free time: Hiking, climbing, diving, golf, biking and ultimate Frisbee.

    Family: Married, one daughter (born last year) and dog named Domino.

    Favorite vacation spot: Marrakech, Morocco.

    Bucket list: Climb Kilimanjaro.

    Daily habit: FaceTime with family when traveling.

    17 of 28

    Jake Cusack, managing partner, CrossBoundary

    Jake Cusack, managing partner, CrossBoundary

    Company: Frontier market investment firm in DC, NYC, Nairobi and Dubai. CrossBoundary, co-founded by Jake four years ago, focuses on investment advisory and has an investment fund for solar energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Innovative project: Works with USAID, DOD and international development agencies in areas like Afghanistan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Haiti to spur private investment in sectors like healthcare, agribusiness, energy, and information and communications technology. Firm also recently began financing rooftop solar for businesses in Africa.

    Why this career: Gained a passion for working in conflict zones and developing countries as a Marine Corps officer, leading a sniper platoon and working in intelligence in Iraq and other locations. Became interested in the role of the private sector in foreign policy and how it could create economic opportunity in fragile places.

    Grew up: Grand Rapids, MI

    First job: Sold homemade granola to neighbors at age 7. Even had a marketing sheet comparing prices against Cheerios and Swiss Museli. Tasted good but didn’t look good. Business folded at age 8.

    Free time: Skiing, climbing, and signing up for marathons and then feeling relieved after canceling a few months before the race.

    Top 5 vacation spots: Cambodia, Argentina, New Zealand, Cape Town and NYC.

    Bucket list: Learn how to cook.

    Startling fact: Oldest of seven children. “Big families are basically the best thing ever.”

    16 of 28

    Rob Palmer, acting deputy executive director of enterprise system development office, DHS

    Rob Palmer, acting deputy executive director of enterprise system development office, DHS

    Job: Supports the delivery of enterprise IT services to DHS. Job provides opportunities to rethink tech on a daily basis and to work with talented innovators.

    On the job: Current position one year and at DHS since 2012.

    Innovative project: Supported development of a protection profile for all federal agencies to vet the security of mobile applications, making it easier and safer for agencies to develop and use mission-critical mobile apps.

    Innovation inspiration: Mission. Changes in IT allow people in government to better understand their agency’s mission and technology’s role in improving the way people perform their jobs.

    Why this career: Always had an analytical and systems-oriented mind. Also, grew up around military installations. Developed deep respect for people in the military and wanted a career to support defense.

    Grew up: Born in Takoma Park, MD

    First job: Odd jobs at a nursing home.

    Free time: Sons’ many sporting activities, golf and play flag football in a national travel league.

    Family: Married two years; two sons (12 and 14); and a Great Dane.

    Favorite vacation spots: Amalfi Coast, Italy and Spain.

    Bucket list: Learn to fly and to electronically mix music…”not at the same time.”

    Daily habit: Tell wife and kids how much they’re adored.

    Startling fact: Mildly terrified of public speaking and spiders.

    14 of 28

    Dave Gwyn, federal VPs, Nutanix

    Dave Gwyn, federal VPs, Nutanix

    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: Disrupting the status quo.

    Why this career: 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: Father was in the foreign service and lived all over, including California, Laos, Mexico and Thailand. Went to high school in Rockville, MD.

    First job: McDonald’s, manned the grill.

    Free time: Tennis, family, kids sports (soccer, baseball, karate), skiing, snowboarding, and beach house in Ocean City, MD.

    Family: Married 15 years, four kids (14, 12, 10, 1) and half Beagle, half Border Collie.

    Favorite vacation spot: Boca Raton, FL

    Bucket list: Attend Wimbledon with family.

    Daily habit: Coffee (for past 17 years, will only drink first cup out of a yellow mug)

    Startling fact: Turned 50 and daughter turned 1 in same year. Will be putting a kid through college at age 70.

    2 of 28

    Kris Collo, president/CEO, MicroPact

    Kris Collo, president/CEO, MicroPact

    Company: Enterprise software company; founded by Kris 18 years ago; 225 employees; revenue projected to increase 60% this year; software allows agencies to rapidly develop and deploy case management systems. For example, DOJ uses the software to track the background investigations of its personnel.

    Innovative project: Developing the Naval Justice Information System—an enterprise system supporting the entire life cycle of criminal and military justice cases in the Navy and Marine Corps. The work is for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

    Inspiration for innovation: Natural curiosity about everything. Always ask “why” and then challenge processes that have been around for decades.

    Why this career: At age 9, father brought home first computer and haven’t been able to put down technology ever since.

    Grew up: Loudoun County—parents were first-generation immigrants from the Philippines.

    First job: Server at I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt.

    Free time: Spending time with kids and consuming newspapers, magazines, and everything about the history of things around the world.

    Family: Four children (ages 12, 10, and 4-year-old twins).

    Favorite vacation spot: Las Vegas.

    Bucket list: Get a degree—made a promise to mom after skipping college to launch MicroPact.

    Daily habit: Start and end the day catching up on world news.

    Startling fact: Didn’t have any formal training in technology, business or finance.

    13 of 28

    Gwynne Kostin, director, Digital Government, GSA

    Gwynne Kostin, 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.

    12 of 28

    Anil Karmel, founder/CEO, C2 Labs

    Anil Karmel, 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.”

    11 of 28

    Geof Barrows, founder, Centeye

    Geof Barrows, founder, Centeye

    Company: Makes vision-based chips, hardware and technology to allow small "nano" drones (size of your hand) fly in near earth environment without using GPS. Company has been focused on R&D since its 2000 launch and has the Air Force and DARPA as customers.

    Innovative project: Made small, high-performance camera an IoT application that counted cars as they drove by and posted the results online to see the busiest points of the day for that particular street. Team also works with biologists studying how insects fly and perceive objects and used these insights to enable drones to do things like detect and avoid obstacles and hover in place, even in the dark and without GPS. And they worked on the Harvard Robo-Bee project, a five-year program to make a robotic bee. Team successfully made an eye weighing 50 milligrams that flew on an early Robo-Bee prototype.

    Innovation inspiration: "Insects can fly around and perceive the environment and do it with such a small brain. If they can do it, why can’t we copy it?"

    Why this career: Childhood idols were Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison. Always liked to make things.

    Grew up: Father was in the Air Force, so all over, including Germany. He eventually retired in the DC area.

    First job: Doorman at Fair City Mall movie theater in Fairfax City.

    Free time: Walks in the woods, going on long drives through the hills, spending time with family, including precocious 3-year-old son, and listening to music.

    Family: Married 11 years and son (3).

    Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere on the Mediterranean Sea.

    Bucket list: Make Centeye’s technology come together and seeing a million copies of it working flawlessly.

    Daily habit: Make a morning cappuccino for wife and I.

    Startling fact: Was a member of an African dance troupe 15 years ago.

    10 of 28

    Tom Suder, president, Mobilegov

    Tom Suder, president, Mobilegov

    Company: Launched in 2011, Mobilegov helps government agencies use mobile devices to enhance their mission. For example, the 22-person company provides security and the applications to replace paper-based processes with mobile applications. Revenue is projected to hit $5M this year.

    Innovative project: Mobilegov helped create the idea for the Digital Government Strategy, a plan to make government information and services mobile and make government data available to the public to spur more innovation. Also launched the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center to spin technology out of federal and academic labs for use by other government agencies.

    Innovation inspiration: Mom was a grammar teacher and passed down a love for reading, especially sci-fi stories. "Very cool to play a small part making their advancements happen in real life."

    Why this career: Uncle was a serial entrepreneur and taught Tom basic engineering as a teen.

    Grew up: Aliquippa, PA (near Pittsburgh)

    Why DC: Moved to Vienna, VA, at age 9 after several steel mills closed. Grandfather was based in the DC area at the Pentagon.

    First job: Busboy at a Herndon restaurant and McDonald’s—employee of the year in 1985.

    Free time: Read sci-fi novels and world travel

    Family: Son (16) and daughter (14)

    Favorite vacation spot: Outer Banks

    Bucket list: Son plays high school football, so would like to see him play in college. Daughter is top-ranked soccer player and would like to see her play in the Olympics.

    Startling fact: Near photographic memory for faces, even ones he hasn’t seen in several years.

    9 of 28

    Patrick Stingley, CTO, Bureau of Land Managment

    Patrick Stingley, CTO, Bureau of Land Managment

    Job: Finding the right technology to manage BLM’s 245 million acres of federal land. Some of the technology includes LIDAR (light detection and ranging), communications that can work in the middle of the desert, and drones (imagine trying to manage millions of acres of land in a pickup truck). The IT budget ranges between $120M and $140M.

    On the job: Since 2008

    Innovative project: Developed a plan and cost model that could potentially save bureaus 60% of their IT budgets by embracing more current technologies, including cloud computing.

    Inspiration for innovation: "We’re the government—we should do things better."

    Why this career: Joined the Marines after college and ran an information management system office in Japan. (A quarter of the planet’s data came through the office at the time.) Decided one day to learn to program and taught himself one Saturday. Can program in 12 to 18 languages.

    Grew up: Southern California

    Why DC: "If you want to manage lots of computers, the government is your best chance, and your best chance of doing that is from DC."

    First job: Dishwasher at Officer’s Club in Mechanicsburg, PA

    Free time: Play with computers and currently refreshing Python programming skills.

    Family: Three kids (10, 13, 16)

    Favorite vacation: Rent an RV and take the kids to different places.

    Life goal: To see cloud computing embraced and done well.

    Daily habit: Bike 22 miles to work.

    Startling fact: Co-authored the term "cloud computing," which was inspired by Patrick's work in telecom during the '90s.

    8 of 28

    Nate Fick, CEO, Endgame

    Nate Fick, CEO, Endgame

    Company: Cybersecurity software company that builds easy-to-use, intuitive, open products for commercial and federal customers. Company has had nine consecutive quarters of revenue growth, tripled sales from 2013 to 2014, and is on track to double this year. Endgame has 150 employees and is growing one person per week.

    Innovative project: Solved security problems for the government at a global scale and helped equip agencies against some of the world’s most advanced cyber adversaries. Company's network of global sensors detected Shellshock vulnerability before anyone else.

    Innovation inspiration: Love solving hard problems with creative people, who are willing to think big and fail fast and iterate.

    Why this career: Joined the Marines out of college and was interested in security. Went to business school and focused on early-stage enterprises and worked as an operating partner for Bessemer Venture Partners. Endgame was the perfect intersection of interesting technology, an important mission and early-stage business growth.

    Grew up: Baltimore Why DC: Moved to DC when wife was awarded a White House fellowship in 2008.

    First job: Pool life guard Free time: Spend time with two small kids, running, reading and fly fishing.

    Family: Married since 2007 and two daughters (5 and 3).

    Favorite vacation spot: Maine coastline

    Bucket list: Ride a bike across the country and hike the Appalachian trail.

    Daily habit: Walk daughters to school.

    Startling fact: People who knew me in the Marines are startled that I run a tech company and people who know me as a tech entrepreneur are startled that I was in the Marines.

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    Dana Marlowe, principal partner, Accessibility Partners

    Dana Marlowe, principal partner, Accessibility Partners

    Company: Makes technology accessible and usable for people with disabilities by auditing products and providing feedback to manufacturers and federal agencies. Launched by Dana six years ago, the firm’s clients include Dell, Amazon, Kodak, the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress and HHS.

    Innovative project: Provides technical subject matter experts to the Library of Congress’ Braille and Audio Reading Download service. The free program provides recorded Braille books and magazines to anyone who can’t read print material. Other work has included making hundreds of HHS documents accessible to people with disabilities and doing a year-long audit of the Library of Congress to see how accessible it is by employees and patrons with disabilities.

    Innovation inspiration: Keeping up with fast innovations in technology so people with disabilities don’t get left out.

    Why this career: Grew up loving sign language and studied it and communications at a technical university. Realized how technology can be a huge game changer for people with disabilities and fell in love with accessibility, which is the "nexus where technology and disability advocacy intersect."

    Hometown: New York

    Why DC: Came after husband lost job in Austin during the tech bust and wanted to be closer to East Coast family.

    First job: Mom-and-pop pharmacy clerk.

    Free time: Listening to indie music, rocking out at concerts and coffee shops with friends, reading, art and travel

    Family: Married 12 years; two sons (6 and 3)

    Favorite vacation spot: Northwest corner of Costa Rica

    Bucket list: Learn to fly a plane and traveling to countries where she doesn't speak the language or know the food on her plate.

    Daily habit: Check in with mom on Facetime or phone.

    Startling facts: Her first boyfriend was the real life Adam Goldberg from the ABC TV show The Goldbergs, rides a motorcycle, and interpreted for Billy Joel in concert three times.

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    Jeremy King, president, Benchmark Executive Search; Co-founder, MissionLink

    Jeremy King, president, Benchmark Executive Search; Co-founder, MissionLink

    Company: Retained executive search firm; team of three; launched in 2007; and focused on senior management and board members for tech companies and government contractors working in national security. Launching a new service to focus on DC area startups for middle management positions and sales and engineering positions.

    Innovative project: Co-launched MissionLink, a five-year-old nonprofit that organizes seven annual events for 60 executives to hear from government officials about navigating the federal landscape. Companies are under $100M in revenue and only the founders and CEOs are selected to attend. Advisory board is a who’s who of former government officials, all tied to innovation. Alumni now up to 300.

    Inspiration for innovation: Recognized a hole in the events market and that smaller companies with great products and services have a harder time finding their way to potential government customers. MissionLink helps government communicate its mission needs and industry communicate its capabilities.

    Why this career: Lifelong extrovert and connector of people. Hometown: Miami Why DC: Moved to Northern Virginia in the early '90s to work on Capitol Hill. Interest shifted to business.

    First paying job: Mowing lawns. Free time: Family, sports (lifelong Redskins fan and recent Wizards and Nats fan), reading and deep-sea fishing.

    Family: Married 13 years; son and daughter (age 12 and 7).

    Bucket list: Attend a Super Bowl where the Redskins are playing.

    Daily habit: Thanking God for being so blessed.

    Startling fact: Would like to spend a week with the crew of The Deadliest Catch.

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    Chris Coleman, CEO, Lookingglass

    Chris Coleman, CEO, Lookingglass

    Company: Cyber threat intelligence monitoring and management.

    On the job: Since July 2013

    Innovation inspiration: The state of the cybersecurity industry and our customers.

    Why this career: Cybersecurity is one of the most critical elements of securing the way people live, work and play. Industry is dynamic and evolving, which offers a continual learning experience.

    Grew up: Moved around, came to DC area in ’94 to help build Integrated Data Systems, which was sold to Mantech in ’03. First job: Aluminum mill outside Gary, IN.

    Free time: Ice hockey, skiing and being active.

    Family: Two children and two dogs

    Favorite vacation spot: Snowmass, CO.

    Daily habit: Coffee

    Startling fact: “I’m very simple.”

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    Cori Lathan, founder, AnthroTronix

    Cori Lathan, founder, AnthroTronix

    Company: R&D company that’s developed tools to detect depression and PTSD; sopite syndrome on Navy ships; and instrumental gloves and tablets for deployed surgeons. 

    Innovative project: Developed DANA, the first FDA-cleared brain health app, which can be used in research, clinical screenings and as a performance testing tool. It was created for the military to detect changes in brain health on the front lines. With FDA clearance, it can be used in theater, in clinics and in homes. 

    Innovation inspiration: Blood pressure, BMI, temperature and other measures can be tracked, but brain health has been ignored. Was inspired to create a technology to asses cognitive efficiency. 

    Why this career: Always interested in technology as a bridge between people and action. Kids with disabilities, astronauts in space and surgeons can reach their goals using technology.

    Grew up: Born in New York; raised in New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania. 

    First job: Babysitter and weed puller

    Free time: Climb trees with husband and spend time with kids.

    Family: Married 21 years; son (9), daughter (12), two cats, one dog, one gecko and many fish. 

    Favorite vacation spot: Anyplace new.

    Bucket list: Go to Burning Man—oh wait, just did that!

    Daily habit: Hit snooze button five times.

    Startling fact: Played rugby in college.

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    James Miller, senior attorney advisor, FCC Office of Engineering and Technology

    James Miller, senior attorney advisor, FCC Office of Engineering and Technology

    Job: Advises on policy issues on cutting-edge tech problems like sharing spectrum between different services and Internet policy. 

    Innovative project: For the last five years, been involved in the Measuring Broadband America program, the first large scale measurement of consumer broadband performance in the US. 

    On the job: Since 2012

    Innovation inspiration: The notion that you can develop acceptable principles based on engineering practices and scientific analysis and the idea you can collaborate for a common goal.

    Why this career: Studied physics and computer science as an undergrad and ended up with an economics degree. Spent time in Japan and Bay area and grew to love computer science as a discipline and liked economics and applied policy analysis. Thought law might offer flexibility to pursue the technical themes and see them in more applied context. 

    Grew up: Small farm town in Kansas

    Why DC: Law school

    First job: Washing dishes at Chinese restaurant

    Free time: Playing music, outdoor activities and serving as Scout Master for son’s Boy Scout troop.

    Family: Married since age 19; teen son and daughter.

    Favorite vacation spot: Yosemite

    Bucket list: Lead a climb in Julian Alps in Slovenia

    Daily habit: Get to the gym to climb

    Startling fact: Dropped out of high school, but went to college through arrangement with school administrators.

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    Geoff Orazem, co-founder, Eastern Foundry

    Geoff Orazem, co-founder, Eastern Foundry

    Company: Accelerator, co-working space (21k SF) and marketplace for tech companies interested in federal government work. Organization has evolved from its launch in December when it was a co-working space for government contractors. It’s now at capacity with 52 companies and has a waiting list.

    Innovative project: Launching Foundry Cup, a business challenge competition, in June, to find innovative solutions for PTSD for veterans.

    Innovation inspiration: Frustration from the effect of long and inefficient procurement cycles on the battlefield and the realization that there’s tremendous opportunity for increased efficiency and reduced costs of services to make the country more economically healthy.

    Why this career: Each experience, from military to academia to McKinsey consultant, helped his ability to see problems and solve them.

    Grew up: Born in California, grew up in the Deep South.

    Why DC: Parents moved to Annapolis while finishing high school.

    First job: Waited tables in a dive bar.

    Free time: Hang out with girlfriend, cook, work out and starting a master’s program in international studies at Johns Hopkins.

    Family: Surrogate father to Teddy.

    Favorite vacation spot: Buenos Aires, Barcelona and Hanoi.

    Bucket list: Start a second company, get involved in politics and learn to fly airplanes

    Daily habit: Watch one mindless TV show

    Startling fact: Was a cowboy in Idaho, helping great uncle with cattle and managing crops.

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