One could argue the stakes have never been higher for the government IT community.

The rapidly tanking economy has sent states and localities scrambling for automation that can reduce operating expenses or produce new revenue - as long as that new technology costs next to nothing to deploy. Self-service social benefits systems are being tested like never before, as unemployment rises and jobless citizens turn to government programs for assistance. And there's wide speculation that technology will play a significant role in the Obama administration's economic stimulus spending, which could open the door to smart infrastructure investments and other innovative projects - but only if those dollars are spent wisely.

Who will tackle these issues and dozens of others like them? Tech-savvy policymakers, visionary state and local CIOs, and forward-thinking agency managers. In short, people very much like those honored in our 2009 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers issue.

Since 2002, we've dedicated the March issue of Government Technology to 25 people who cut through the public sector's infamous barriers to innovation - tight budgets, organizational inertia, politics as usual, etc. - to implement changes that reshaped government operations for the better. Our 2009 Top 25 list is no different. These are people who took the lead on using technology to solve problems, meet evolving expectations, and of course, operate more efficiently.

How did we choose these particular 25 people? Given the fact that there are tens of thousands of public officials across the country doing valuable work, we arrive at our Top 25 somewhat subjectively - but not without significant consideration. GT's editorial team and our corporate colleagues at Government Technology Conferences and the Center for Digital Government collectively interact each year with a huge number of public-sector professionals. We've worked personally with many of the individuals on this year's Top 25 list. We believe they're people whose accomplishments deserve and demand recognition. This year, we also recognized two Internet entrepreneurs from the private sector who had a huge impact on President Barack Obama's use of Web 2.0 tools during the 2008 campaign.

As we endure a year fraught with challenges, a clear vision and leadership on technology issues may be more important than ever before. We're confident that our 2009 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers are prepared to answer the call.

 

Steve Towns  |  Executive Editor