Eight years ago when we launched our first "Doers, Dreamers and Drivers" issue, we wondered how long we could keep the annual feature going. Our original idea was simple: We would cast a spotlight on 25 individuals who set the standard for using technology to make government work better. Back then, we questioned whether we could find enough innovators to assemble a new list year after year -- especially given the tight budgets, institutional inertia and other roadblocks to change in the public sector.

Now that concern seems ridiculous. We've honored more than 200 people since March 2002. And the hardest part is paring each annual list down to just 25. That alone is a testament to the dedication and creativity of the IT professionals, public leaders, agency managers and private-sector experts who find ways to advance the use of technology in government, even with the deck seemingly stacked against them.

Our 2010 list includes an eclectic and, we believe, inspiring group of men and women.

They lead some of the nation's most innovative IT projects. Los Angeles CTO Randi Levin faced down a wave of controversy to lead implementation of what may be the nation's largest cloud-based e-mail deployment in government. CTO David Fletcher was the driving force behind Utah's award-winning Web site redesign. And New York City Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs, along with her CIO Kamal Bherwani, is using technology to overhaul health and human services programs in the nation's largest metropolis.

Members of this year's Top 25 also are social media pioneers like Steve Ressler, a federal government worker in his 20s who started a social network site for government employees in his spare time that now boasts 25,000 members. And they're tech-savvy elected officials like Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who understand that executive leadership is crucial to technological undertakings.

Most importantly, they were all willing to challenge convention by using information technology in innovative ways that strengthen their organizations and improve the lives of citizens. I invite you to meet all of our 2010 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers.