Honoring Federal Technology Trailblazers
4 minutes

Honoring Federal Technology Trailblazers

An Interview with Troy Schneider, President of GovExec 360

Dec. 6, 2023

At GovExec's Evening of Honors Gala on April 24th, 2024, Nextgov/FCW and Government Executive will recognize the leaders at all levels who have gone above and beyond to achieve the government’s critical mission. During this celebration, we will recognize the Federal 100 Award winners and Government Hall of Fame inductees. Troy Schneider, President of GovExec 360, graciously answered our questions about what makes this event so special, nominations, and why you should team up with GovExec for this event.


Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Troy.

Every year, GovExec’s Evening of Honors promises to be the most prestigious night in government. Can you tell us how GovExec consistently fulfills that promise, and what’s in store for 2024’s celebration?

Schneider: The Evening of Honors really is a singular moment in the federal government community because it’s focused entirely on celebrating outstanding individuals from across that network. The Federal 100 Awards recognize those who had an outsized impact in the previous calendar year, while the Government Hall of Fame showcases a select few for their career-spanning accomplishments. There’s a strong emphasis on technology and innovation, particularly with the Fed 100. But technology is now woven into virtually every public sector mission, so this really is a whole-of-government celebration.

I’m especially excited about this year’s event. For starters, it’s being held at The Anthem – the amazing music venue at The Wharf in Washington, D.C. So we have more capacity, which is great after having to turn away would-be attendees and sponsors each of the last two years. And it’s just a beautiful venue for this event, with – as you might imagine at a concert hall – great acoustics for both the stage presentation and the networking conversations.

We’re also working hard to streamline the 2024 event program to ensure that our winners are the focal point, and that more of the evening is devoted to meeting, talking with and celebrating them directly. For those who attended Federal 100 galas pre-COVID, look for a similarly succinct stage program at the 2024 Evening of Honors.

Why should we carve out time to submit nominations for the Federal 100 Awards?

Schneider: So much of the conversation around government is negative, while most of the great work and positive accomplishments occur outside the spotlight. The Federal 100 Awards are that rare opportunity to give government’s unsung heroes the recognition they deserve.

And it’s not just for the winners themselves. We can all benefit from learning more about these innovators and the change they’re driving. More often than not, there are others wrestling with similar challenges in other corners of government. A Fed 100 winner’s story can be the inspiration, and even the roadmap, for others.

How are these winners selected, who selects them, and what makes a good nominee?

Schneider: We recruit a panel of judges – C-level leaders from both government and industry – who usually have been Fed 100 winners themselves at some point. We choose those judges carefully to ensure they have first-hand knowledge from across the federal IT community as they review and discuss the nominees. Then the selections are entirely up to the judges; Nextgov/FCW and GovExec do not have a vote in those deliberations. That judging process really is the “secret sauce” and one of the big reasons the Federal 100 Awards carry so much significance in our community: winners are nominated by their peers and chosen by some of the most accomplished and respected leaders in this space.

To be eligible for a Fed 100 Award, you have to have made a substantial positive impact at the federal government level in the previous calendar year (2023 for the nominees being submitted between now and year-end). And those accomplishments must be clearly tied to the nominees themselves. We know that no one flies truly solo, but these are not team awards. The judges are looking for the individual change agents who are truly driving these efforts.

Who can submit a nomination? Do you have any tips on how to make a nomination stand out?

Schneider: Anyone can submit a nomination. There’s no limit on the number of nominees you can put forward, so we encourage you to nominate early and often!

As for making your nominations stand out, here are a few tips:

  • Be specific. Our judges want to see clear examples of the impact each nominee has had. Saying someone “transformed X business process” doesn’t carry nearly as much weight as showing how they “cut delivery time from 90 days to 12” or “saved $12M by modernizing X business process."
  • Stress the impact. Process and culture are important, but our judges look for individuals who are clearly making government work better. Nominations that spotlight those results consistently float to the top.
  • Assemble a strong slate of supporting nominators. Each nomination must have a primary nominator, and can have up to five supporting nominators. You don’t need six nominators to have a compelling nomination, but judges do note when there are individuals from different organizations and/or different roles vouching for a nominee. When the sole nominator is from the nominee’s marketing department, the suspicion is that it's mainly a promotional effort.
  • Pick the best possible nominee for a particular initiative. While we encourage multiple nominations, many organizations will nominate several individuals for essentially the same project or accomplishment. That effectively signals to the judges that none of the nominees was the true driver of the work in question.

What kind of audience does this event draw? Have there been any particularly notable attendees or honorees in the past few years?

Schneider: The Evening of Honors draws top leaders from across the federal community – both government officials and industry executives. Frances Collins and Anthony Fauci attended two years ago; Chris Krebs was honored the year before that. And virtually every year brings members of Congress, agency CIOs and CTOs, and CEOs from the top federal contractors.

Last year, we welcomed over 550 guests from across the public sector to the National Cathedral, including 70 of the 100 Federal 100 Award winners and six of the nine Hall of Fame inductees.

How can businesses partner with GovExec for this event and why should they?

Schneider: For starters, everyone in this community should be looking to nominate the individuals who are going above and beyond to make our government work better. The Federal 100 Awards are a community-wide effort, and our judges need input from all corners!

Additionally, a wide range of sponsorships are available for the 2024 Evening of Honors, including exclusive networking opportunities with the who’s who in government tech, table sponsorships so your brand is at the center of the action, and high-visibility programs that pair the largest federal event in 2024 with broad digital reach. It really is all-encompassing. If you want to stand out in the federal technology arena, this is the most important place to be in 2024.

It’s a unique opportunity to raise your organization’s visibility among the essential decision-makers in the federal sector, to align with that community’s most respected awards program, and to connect face-to-face with other leaders and change agents.

Do you have a favorite moment from previous celebrations?

Schneider: It’s a different anecdote every year, but there’s always a common theme: it’s the joy that you see when an unsung hero gets the recognition they deserve. Sometimes, it’s the winners themselves who are beaming or cheering, but more often it’s colleagues, a family member, or a mentor. I’m not a particularly sentimental person, but I’ve yet to get through this event without tearing up at some point.

Do you have anything else to add?

Schneider: Just that you should mark your calendar now and be sure to join us!


For more information about the Evening of Honors, nominations, or how you can team up with GovExec, contact Solutions@GovExec.com.

We look forward to seeing you at GovExec’s Evening of Honors on April 24th, 2024 at the Anthem in Washington, D.C.!

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