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Leaders in Mission Partnerships: The 2020 GTSC Award Winners

The past year has been one to forget, for so many reasons, but it is also one to remember for sheer determination and teamwork in the face of adversity. More than ever before members of the Government Technology & Services Coalition have shown tremendous support and understanding as we navigate our “new normal.” The GTSC awards a select number of exceptional members each year — members who take their time, resources, and devotion to mission to give back to our organization.  We could not thrive, grow, and serve the homeland security community without them.   Whether it’s representing our non-profit to assure that the perspective of small businesses are included, responding to national emergencies like the COVID pandemic, or working to make the procurement and acquisition process better, these companies have notably succeeded in business, they have given back to our community to help all of us thrive and serve the homeland mission better. We are extremely proud and honored to announce our annual GTSC Member awards:

GTSC Small Business Member of the Year

This award is presented annually to the GTSC Member that exemplifies exceptional quality and ethics for the federal government, a commitment to GTSC’s small business members and advocacy on behalf of our community.

Winner: Amivero

Olivia Trivisani Bowker has led Amivero to tremendous success through her commitment to excellence, experience across the homeland enterprise, and her commitment to GTSC. Olivia started Amivero just two years ago and since then has leveraged her tremendous experience across the homeland security enterprise and depth of knowledge across homeland security mission spaces to build a successful company that is serving the DHS mission and has given back to GTSC every step of the way. From offering volunteer assistance for events and activities, sponsoring events when COVID-19 hit income, to reaching out to offer her assistance throughout, she has proven an outstanding member and leader.

Her knowledge, experience and impressive network has also supported GTSC’s primary goal: the mission. She has improved interagency knowledge transfer, built a strong human center and data-driven culture, and has connected people within the homeland security mission space to other areas that resulted in creative and outside-the-box solutions.

Amivero has been heavily involved in the Unified Immigration Portal, which is truly achieving mission and bringing value from across different DHS components and making a real impact. Her ability to make the connections and use her personal network to hire the right people with the right skill sets to accomplish the mission has been a true testament to her, and to the exponential growth Amivero has experienced in their first years in business! Olivia is very active within GTSC, in the homeland security marketplace overall, and prominent in her LinkedIn/social media presence where she is also a great advocate of GTSC. We are proud to award Small Business of the Year to Olivia Trivisani Bowker, CEO at Amivero!

GTSC Mid-Tier Member of the Year 

The Mid-Tier Member of the Year has contributed positively to increase the opportunities, ideas, and understanding of the mid-tier companies in the federal market. Coined “other than small,” these companies are often “punished” for their success. GTSC’s Mid-Tier Member of the Year works on market solutions, creative market partnerships and increased options for growth.

Winner: Dev Technology Group

GTSC is extremely proud to name Dev Technology Group, a Woman Owned Business, as GTSC’s Mid-Tier Member of the Year. DevTech is the stuff dreams are made of for both the homeland security mission and GTSC! CEO Kendall Holbrook has been an exemplary member, joining the organization and jumping right in with ideas and actions on how to build a path for mid-tier companies in the DHS market. She developed the ideas, a white paper, and even a coalition of companies to bring forth new, exciting ideas and reinvigorate the conversation around how the homeland security market can continue to encourage and develop excellent small businesses that – through their success – have grown to “other than small.” Given many government programs are aimed at helping the very small, not enough attention is given to ensuring that the government is served by the successful and competent companies that grow to mid-tier. We nurture the success and then should benefit from it – and that is the nature of the work of GTSC’s Lion’s Den!

Kendall was working on these issues before joining GTSC – and came aboard in part to develop her aims with GTSC’s Lion’s Den because her successful leadership was taking the small company to success. And she was thinking “then what”?

In addition to providing thought leadership around this long-term market challenge, Kendall also provided all of the GTSC membership an invaluable service by representing GTSC on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s weekly, then monthly, calls on COVID-19 response, covering the evolving landscape for contractors, the plan to “reopen” and bring people back to the workplace, and informing all of us of their strategy and thoughts in a weekly column for our members. She carried our input to others at DHS, she shared the ideas and innovations other companies were using to navigate COVID-19 when it first hit, and she committed her time and efforts to communicate with us and work with leadership to ensure that the concerns of our members were heard by DHS. When crisis hit GTSC, Kendall ran to us, not away. We cannot be more thrilled to recognize her work and commitment as GTSC Mid-Tier Member of the Year!

GTSC Mentor of the Year

Mentor of the Year is awarded annually to the GTSC Mentor who has worked to increase members’ understanding of the homeland and national security market, increased business opportunities for small companies through formal and informal mentoring, and engages with GTSC to promote an innovative, robust, and fair market for all.

Winner: Northrop Grumman Corporation

GTSC is blessed with numerous mentors who work with us to help small businesses understand the complexity and layers of homeland security and who support the organization to ensure we can maintain a robust exosphere of excellence. For the second time in GTSC’s history, our Mentor of the Year is Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC) showed exemplary commitment to our organization, its needs, and its expansion during this particularly difficult year. Their financial support was tremendous but more importantly the NGC staff – across the homeland security markets AND the IRS market – were mentors to the organization, to other companies within it, and to GTSC’s leadership. Many do not understand the impact COVID-19 had on memberships, sponsorships, and advertisements in 2020. NGC did. They were one of the first to reach out to provide their support to ensure GTSC survived any drops in revenue, provided staff and ideas on how to maintain an active array of programming, and continued their commitment despite the numerous changes and delays caused by the pandemic.

Thanks to NGC’s support throughout 2020, GTSC was able to maintain some if its best programming to date, keep our staff, and help us all continue to achieve mission. When times got tough, NGC was there to provide their resources and support to the GTSC community. Congratulations and thanks to an outstanding mentor, Northrop Grumman Corporation!

GTSC Strategic Partner of the Year

The Strategic Partner of the Year is awarded annually to the Strategic Partner who demonstrates a clear commitment to GTSC, contributes significantly to the content and substance of the organization and provides GTSC members with counsel, insight, and resources to perform exceptionally on behalf of the homeland and national security mission.

Winner: Lisa Martin of Embrace Communications

Generally, GTSC’s Strategic Partner of the Year is given to another organization that has worked with GTSC to achieve great things toward achieving the mission for a safer America. This year is no different but the partner selected, Lisa Martin of Embrace Communications, is also a small business member of GTSC! She was selected because she too saw that COVID-19 would considerably change the way nonprofits do business and that the “in-person” event model would not be sustainable at least for 2020.

Lisa reached out to GTSC’s leadership to encourage us to apply for grants, join teams to possibly win contracts, and pursue a completely different but very complementary way to maintain our revenue. We followed this advice and, although we did not win everything, we did team on several opportunities that will help us continue to thrive and serve our mission. For her outside-the-box thinking, and her willingness to guide, critique edit, and assist with execution, we name Lisa Martin of Embrace Communications our Strategic Partner of the Year!

GTSC Strategic Advisor of the Year

The Strategic Advisor of the Year is awarded annually to the Strategic Advisor who works on behalf of GTSC to increase our capacity, membership, and opportunities to bring the innovation, creativity, and solutions of small- and mid-sized companies to the homeland and national security mission.

Winner: Luke McCormack

GTSC has been blessed with a cadre of Strategic Advisors who truly represent the best in the homeland security market. Our nonpartisan advisors represent people who, despite leaving government, have continued to serve our mission and really have their heart in homeland security. This year was an extremely difficult choice. In this tough year so many of our advisors stepped up and came to our aid in times of crisis and we must send a collective thank you to all of them for that.

We wish we could name several as Strategic Advisor of the Year – but, we had to pick one, and that one is Luke McCormack, former CIO of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Luke is a widely known leader and sage  in the community because he spends his time giving back to the community – and roasting us some pretty darn good coffee along the way! For GTSC he has provided counsel to our leadership, referred new members, moderated and contributed to numerous webinars, helped navigate the topics and speakers wanted by our audience, but most importantly Luke recognized that COVID-19 hit nonprofits hard. He knew that organizations like GTSC could get no relief because of our designation as a 501(c)6 not a (c)3.

Luke focused on assisting us to gain new revenue, encouraged new ideas and executions to satisfy market needs, and continued to engage with his government partners throughout what most recently became a crisis year culminating with the cybersecurity attacks on our federal systems. Overall, Luke showed tremendous commitment and contributed his time and advice to help GTSC survive and navigate COVID-19 in the best way possible.

It is true, as we have all learned this year, that in times of crisis you find out who your friends are, who has your back, and who won’t let you fall. Our fantastic members are our backbone and drive us to do more and better than ever before as we move into 2021. We want to congratulate these exceptional leaders for their commitment to us, and certainly to seeing that the homeland security mission gets the best and brightest to serve and protect our nation.

Kristina Tanasichuk
Kristina Tanasichuk is Executive Editor of Homeland Security Today and CEO of the Government Technology & Services Coalition. She founded GTSC to advance communication and collaboration between the public and private sector in defense of our homeland.  A leader in homeland security public private partnership, critical infrastructure protection, cyber security, STEM, innovation, commercialization and much more, she brings to HSToday decades of experience and expertise in the intersection of the public and private sectors in support of our homeland's security. Tanasichuk worked for Chairman Tom Bliley on electric utility restructuring for the House Commerce Committee, represented municipal electric utilities sorting out deregulation, the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C. and ran the largest homeland security conference and trade show in the country. Immediately after 9/11 she represented public works departments In homeland security and emergency management. She is also the president and founder of Women in Homeland Security and served as president of InfraGard of the National Capital Region, a member of the Fairfax County Law Enforcement Foundation, the U.S. Coast Guard Enlisted Memorial Foundation and on the Board of USCG Mutual Assistance. She has an MPA from George Mason University and has attended the FBI and DEA Citizens Academies and the Marine Corps Executive Leadership Program. Most recently she was awarded the "Above & Beyond Award" by the Intelligence & Law Enforcement Training Seminar (INLETS) and was awarded Small Business Person of the Year by AFCEA International. Tanasichuk brings a new vision and in-depth knowledge of the federal homeland and national security apparatus to the media platform.

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