Government Technology’s annual GTC West conference in Sacramento, Calif., concluded Wednesday, Aug. 21. The event featured sessions addressing pressing public-sector IT issues, including mobility, workforce development, citizen engagement and cybersecurity.

Keynote speaker Jefferson "Beak" Howell, a Marine figher pilot who ultimately became director of NASA's Johnson Space Center, talked about his experiences in leading people -- particularly during tough times. Howell was the space center director during the Columbia space shuttle disaster in 2003, an event he described as a "nightmare."

Speaking to a packed house, Howell recounted events ranging from aerial dogfights in the skies over Vietnam to arranging a memorial service, attended by President George W. Bush, for the Columbia crew members. Out of those and other events, Howell developed eight leadership rules, which give straightforward advice like, "People normally live up to your expectations of them" and "Things are never as good or bad as first reported."