From the Desk of Mark Amtower
I have been in the government market since the early 1980s. During that time I have seen hundreds of people make significant contributions to this market that go largely unsung. I have also seen some garner kudos that were at best undeserved, at worst stolen. While I cannot rectify all that has gone on, I can dedicate a page at this site for some of those who may have been overlooked. Others honored here may not have been overlooked, but have also contributed to something more than their own coffers, something to the community at large or to our collective experience. Many of them continue to do so. I will also occasionally single out organizations deserving or recognition.
This Hall of Fame showcases those people and organizations that have truly made significant contributions to the government market community over a long period of time, or perhaps helped create a significant impact in a short period of time. Some may be retired, but they are not and should not be forgotten. While I may accept suggestions, initially I will be the final voice as to who gets in. Somewhere down the line I may select a small committee to help me with the selection.
The 2007 inductees to the Government Marketing Master Government Market Hall of Fame are....
Anne Armstrong, now 20 years into this market, she entered as associate editor of upstart Federal Computer Week in 1987. Without a doubt, Anne is one of the brightest and most influential people in the market. Having served as associate editor, editor, editor in chief, publisher and now Group President for 1105, Anne has helped build one of the most viable brands in the market - Federal Computer Week.
Tom Hewitt, best known as founder of Federal Sources in 1984, has probably done more favors than anyone in the history of our market. While advising many of the most successful firms throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Tom always found time to help friends in need. Whenever a key exec was between positions, Tom would print up some FSI business cards for them and make it look like they were FSI business development folks, all the while helping them find that next great job. He and partner Bob Dornan also started the now iconic Outlook conference ˆ the first (and still best) of the federal IT budget conferences.
Karen Kennedy, founder of KSK advertising and one of the first ad agencies to specialize in the government market. Karen, with her raspy voice and strong point of view, was a force to be reckoned with. Though small in stature, Kennedy was big with ideas and always fun to watch.
Phil Kiviat, partner at Guerra-Kiviat. His career spans 4 decades, starting inside government at FEDSIM in the mid 1960s. A real-time techie, Phil authored books and his Kiviat graph is still used as a performance tool. After leaving government, he held positions at Sterling Software, among others. Perpetually active in the association arena (IAC, ITAA AFCEA, and others), Phil has won numerous awards, given hundreds of presentations, and deserves kudos from all. He is also a real gentleman and a heckuva nice guy.
Valerie Perlowitz, co-founder of Women in Technology, founder and president of Reliable Integrations Services (1988), Valerie remains a beacon for women entrepreneurs everywhere. Tall, blond and brassy, Valerie is among the most capable people in the market.
Dan Young, president of Federal Data from the mid-1970 until the early 1990s, and mentor to more CEOs than anyone else in the market. I met Dan at an IAC event where we were sharing the lunch table that faced the audience. I know why he was at that table, but I still wonder about how I ended up there, sitting next to Dan. He turned to me and asked what I did, and that started a friendship that is still cooking. Dan ran one of the most efficient companies in the history of our market, and the retention rate (except for those who left to become CEOs elsewhere) was extraordinary, and the average employee stayed over 11 years.
Dendy Young, a student of Dan Young, and a great entrepreneur and channel master. Founder of Falcon Microsystems, former CEO and Chair of GTSI, Dendy has also helped mentor a generation of leaders in our market. Someone once told me that Dendy has the uncanny ability to pay 110% attention to anyone he is with, regardless of what is going on around them. It always feels that way to me when I get to spend time with him.
I am not done. I was advised that this next category would be viewed by some with disdain. I hope this is not the case, and if it is, it will be those who either have not had great assistants or by those who still believe little people do not need to be acknowledged. Both of those views are myopic.
A great admin can make an average exec look pretty good. A great admin can also make a very good executive look great. When you have great admins working for great bosses, extraordinary things happen. Barbara Holland and Barbara Samakow are two such people.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Barbara Samakow since the late 1980s while she was working with Dendy Young. It is difficult to say how much Dendy would have accomplished without the ever-present and very capable Barbara Samakow. As keeper of both the rolodex and the calendar, she kept Dendy properly armed and aimed at all times. After Dendy sold Falcon to GTSI, Barbara did a brief stint with Eva Neumann at ENC, but when Dendy took over the helm at GSTI about 15 months later, Barbara was there.
I met Barbara Holland about the same time, when she was working at FSI for Tom Hewitt and Bob Dornan. While FSI was in the early stages, Barbara was one of those keeping everyone going in the right direction at the right time. She does the same thing now at FSI, though with Bill Gormley and Joe Caggiano.
Companies do not operate of their on volition. While the vision may come from above, keeping everyone on the same page and moving in the right direction(s) is a job that requires great skills, massive patience, and the ability to handle bothersome people with tact and finesse. And these people often get overlooked. Not here.