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Mark Gordon: One of Government Technology's 25 Doers Dreamers & Drivers

"Outsourcing is beginning to flourish, and it's because of new public-sector leadership"

This is an excerpt from the 2006 "Government Technology's 25 Doers Dreamers & Drivers" an annual tribute to those individuals who are redefining and advancing technology's role in government and society.

In 2005, Mark Gordon and his team of attorneys logged lots of frequent flyer miles. Gordon's Chicago-based law firm Gordon & Glickson -- which specializes in advising government jurisdictions on technology contracting -- worked with San Diego County, Calif., and Virginia on blockbuster outsourcing deals.

San Diego County, which has practiced large-scale outsourcing since 1999, awarded its outsourcing contract extension to a completely new IT provider. And Virginia's state government started down the road of outsourced IT infrastructure and management.

These two events represent the culmination of outsourcing taking root in the public sector over the last 10 years, something Gordon has watched from the beginning. Outsourcing is beginning to flourish, and it's because of new public-sector leadership, according to Gordon.

"In Virginia, San Diego County and other places, a group of leaders came into offices that were willing to make technology a priority matter," he said. "These kinds of transactions are high profile. They take a lot of energy, and these governments need to be willing to put that kind of energy and resources into these projects for them to live."

It's a far cry from the early days of outsourcing, Gordon said, when such deals raised significant ire and were hotly contested by unions and state legislatures.

"In many respects, our law firm got involved in the public sector because it was trying to import the experiences of the private sector," Gordon said, noting that his attorneys are more than partners with government clients. "We're members of a team, and in my world, that's a big deal. It's not that you can't be hired to provide expertise on an issue, but the value proposition is so much more powerful when you're part of a team.

"Teams form," he continued. "They don't pop up. Real teams get built over a common mission, a common understanding, good relationships and trust. We don't own the market on any of those virtues, but we like to think we portray them."