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Archive for September 16th, 2008 The 09.16 Marty Wagner update

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I know many of us keep Marty Wagner in our thoughts.

New readers to the Dorobek Insider may not know about Martin Wagner. It is a story that I have been following closely and Wagner is somebody who somebody that the government IT community is keeping in its collective thoughts.

If you don’t know Wagner — I know him as Marty — he is the government IT thinker. As I said earlier this year at FCW:

Wagner has a remarkable combination of talents and skills — he is remarkably honest, and yet never comes across as arrogant, prickly, or in people’s face. That gives him a remarkable ability to question people on issues, and yet not make them defensive. Yet through his questions and by pressing them, he spurs people to go beyond where they could have gone otherwise. He thinks, ponders, and he puts those thoughts into action. Heelicits loyalty, and he builds teams.

So if you don’t know him… get to know him.

Unfortunately, on July 6, Wagner fell off the roof of his Arlington, VA house and has essentially been in a coma since then. Back in July, I wrote how Wagner was only the latest illustration that there is, in fact, a community.

And Wagner’s case has also illustrated the power of the Web to bring people together — and share information.

The family is using a wonderful Web site called, part of Steve Case’s Revolution Health initiative. Care Pages lets people get updated on the status… and I was actually getting a bit concerned because there hadn’t been an update in awhile. But… just as I was getting worried, there was an update…

Martin continues to make some small improvements that are noticeable to visitors and, we hope, are an indication of more to come. The removal of his arm splint and, last week, his cervical collar are definite steps in the right direction. His therapists have focused on helping him develop neck control. This helps since he has been turning his head from side to side for the past few weeks. He is doing well on breathing on his own with histrach plugged. He is building up his endurance and is expected to soon be fully weaned off the trach tube in his throat. He will probably move to a different floor at the Woodbine facility, since he will no longer need supervision by respiratory therapists. His beard is now gone and he looks a lot more like his old self as a result. Small but clear movement on his left side now routinely includes the leg and foot. Staff and visitors alike note that he often seems to track his left eye to voices and commands. Nothing is 100% consistent, however, and his alert periods come and go. He needs a lot of rest in order to heal. His nurses are trying hard to combat the bed sores that come from ten weeks of coma in bed. To the many of you who have visited Martin, thank you so much. The encouragement your presence gives him is highly valuable to his recovery. I also appreciate the observations you provide in emails and notes in his guest book–they help us monitor his condition.

Please keep Wagner in your thoughts. It really does help the family. And it is particularly important now. There was almost too much attention immediately following Wagner’s accident — the family was overwhelmed. But your thoughts now — just a simple note — would be greatly appreciated, I am convinced.

I will continue to be a funnel. You can send something to me at Federal News Radio. The address is here:

Christopher Dorobek
for Martin Wagner
c/o Federal News Radio 1500 AM WFED
3400 Idaho Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016

I’ll make sure it gets to the family.

And our thoughts are with Wagner’s wife and kids. Hang in there!

Written by cdorobek

September 16, 2008 at 11:00 PM

Posted in Circuit

Tagged with , The Estrin interview on innovation

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Judy Estrin, author of "Closing the Innovation Gap"

Judy Estrin

I have been going on and on about our interview with Judy Estrin, who was part of the team that actually created the Internet and is author of a new book, Closing the Innovation Gap: Reigniting the Spark of Creativity in a Global Economy. We got to have Estrin on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris today — and she was great. In fact, if there was an issue, we just didn’t have enough time. We could have spent an hour with her.

I’m not sure why I failed to mention it previously, but… my step-father worked for Estrin way back in the day on a start-up company, Bridge Communications, which was eventually bought by Cisco. Small world.

Federal News Radio PM Internet editor Dorothy Ramienski was good enough to pull together a story based on the interview. You can hear the interview for yourself there. Or you can hear the interview here [.mp3].

Next week, we’ll try and get folks from The Center for the Study of the Presidency on to talk about their report about innovation — and what the presidential candidates aren’t saying about it.

Written by cdorobek

September 16, 2008 at 8:28 PM

Posted in Technology

Tagged with , , Graves the new DHS deputy CIO

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Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller has confirmed that Margie Graves is the new deputy chief information officer at the Homeland Security Department.

The Homeland Security Department has named Margie Graves as the new deputy chief information officer.

In her new role, Graves becomes the highest ranking career employee in the CIO’s office and will take over for current CIO Richard Mangogna when he leaves office in January.

A DHS spokesman confirmed Graves will take over for Charlie Armstrong, who became the Customs and Border Protection CIO in June.

Graves has been with DHS since 2003 and in the office of the CIO as the director of the DHS enterprise management business office since 2004. In that role, Graves helped establish enterprise strategies for providing IT services, such as porfolio management, across all of DHS.

This is one of the biggest jobs in government — leading DHS through it’s very first transition from the Bush administration to the Whomever administration.

I’m not sure I know Graves… and I can’t even find a photo of her online, let alone a bio. It’s a big gig.

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September 16, 2008 at 6:44 PM Report urges candidates to focus on innovation

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Regular readers know that I’m fascinated about innovation, particularly in the rhelm of science and technology. It is an issue getting a lot of attention these days. In fact, it is largely the basis of NYT columnist Thomas J. Friedman’s new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America.

The Center for the Study of the Presidency — to be honest, a group that I had never heard of before — has put out a report focusing on presidential leadership in the areas of science and technology. (I found the study — and the group — through an article in New Scientist headlined, McCain vs Obama: Who will end the war on science. And yes, I will read just about any magazine!)

CSP Releases Report on Presidential Leadership to Ensure Science and Technology in the Service of National Needs

The role of science and technology assets is often overlooked as an element of national power. Many of the major policy challenges confronting the next President—energy resources, nuclear proliferation, climate change, environment, health-care, food and water, security, and economic prosperity—require scientific advice or guidance for successful strategic resolutions. The Center’s issue group on Presidential science and technology assets has released a new report urging both Presidential candidates to beginpre -election planning to ensure science and technology governance assets for cohesive and informed policies and effective policy implementation.

Read the report here [.pdf]

To be honest, I haven’t had a chance to read the report. (I don’t often recommend reports or books that I haven’t read — well, I try not to.)

I have been racing through another book on innovation because this afternoon on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris [3-7p ET on 1500 AM in DC or anywhere at ] we will be talking to the author of a book on innovation. The book is Closing the Innovation Gap: Reigniting the Spark of Creativity in a Global Economy, by Judy Estrin.

I’ve been racing through the book so I can be prepared for the interview. Estrin actually was part of Vint Cerf’s research team that literally invented the Internet. Talk about innovation.

The book is not about government’s role specifically, of course, but she does talk about the role of DARPA and makes a case for long-term thinking that can spur innovation.

Estrin will be on early — in the 3p ET hour — and then the interview will be posted online.

I’m also working to get the folks from the Center for the Study of the Presidency on… to continue the theme.

As they say, stay tuned.

Written by cdorobek

September 16, 2008 at 10:07 AM