Three Things You Should Know About the 2019 Top 25

Government Technology’s annual Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers awards honor individuals and teams who are working to make the public sector more efficient, data-driven and equitable for government and citizens alike.

by / March 26, 2019

This issue marks one of the most anticipated of the year for Government Technology readers. For the 18th year in a row, we honor 25 people and teams as our top Doers, Dreamers and Drivers. It’s a list that’s grown to include more than 450 honorees, and we’re anxious for you to get to know the 2019 cohort. There are likely some names you’ll recognize if you follow innovation in the government tech sector, but we also hope there are some faces that will be new to you. 

There are several characteristics that represent many of this year’s honorees.

They’re collaboration-oriented. Nearly every honoree we interview leads with effusive praise for the talented group of colleagues they work with, each worthy of their own recognition. We don’t doubt that in each case, it’s true. But it also underlines something that’s sweeping across government, or at least starting to, thanks to the work of visionaries like the ones we honor in this issue: They’re open and even eager to reach beyond traditional constraints like department, jurisdiction and industry.

For example, CIOs speak often of the need to understand what everyone else in the organization is trying to do before even considering what technology might help them achieve it. They’re building relationships and adding more value as a result. And those relationships extend deeper into their communities than they ever have before.

They’re breaking new ground. People who work in government aren’t working to maximize profits like their counterparts in the private sector. They’re instead focused on providing the best possible service to internal and external customers. But sometimes that means doing things in an entirely new way. Regardless of the organization, upsetting the status quo is hard. There are setbacks, institutional barriers, cultural challenges and more. But the mark of a leader is a willingness to persevere in spite of these, get creative and inspire others to follow along.

A couple of this year’s awardees hold “chief ______ officer” titles that are fairly new in the public sector. But their work is gaining ground thanks to early leaders like Connecticut Chief Data Officer Tyler Kleykamp and Seattle Chief Privacy Officer Ginger Armbruster.

They’re not done yet. As impressive as the body of work of this year’s honorees is, perhaps the most exciting part of publishing this list each year is keeping tabs on what people on it go on to achieve. We selected South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg before he declared his candidacy for president. But regardless of his trajectory on the national political stage, he has set himself apart as an innovative thinker at the municipal level: He introduced a chief innovation officer position, implemented smart sewer technologies and initiated a partnership with Notre Dame to help funnel talent into the city workforce.

The team at Responder Ventures is filling an important role connecting first responders with new technology tools that can make them more effective. It’s a legitimate market niche in the emerging gov tech space with huge growth potential. Who better to help it grow than an investor partnered with a police chief and a paramedic? We look forward to following their progress.

These are just a few of the stories you’ll see in the pages that follow. Click here to view profiles of this year’s class. Congratulations to the 2019 Top 25. 

Noelle Knell Editor

Government Technology editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.