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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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
From terrorism to the homeland security business enterprise, for over 20 years Kristina Tanasichuk has devoted her career to educating and informing the homeland community to build avenues for collaboration, information sharing, and resilience. She has worked in homeland security since 2002 and has founded and grown some of the most renowned organizations in the field. Prior to homeland she worked on critical infrastructure for Congress and for municipal governments in the energy sector and public works. She has 25 years of lobbying and advocacy experience on Capitol Hill on behalf of non- profit associations, government clients, and coalitions. In 2011, she founded the Government & Services Technology Coalition, a non-profit member organization devoted to the missions of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and all the homeland disciplines. GTSC focuses on developing and nurturing innovative small and mid-sized companies (up to $1 billion) working with the Federal government. GTSC’s mission is to increase collaboration, information exchange, and constructive problem solving around the most challenging homeland security issues facing the nation. She acquired Homeland Security Today (www.HSToday.us) in 2017 and has since grown readership to over one million hits per month and launched and expanded a webinar program to law enforcement across the US, Canada, and international partners. Tanasichuk is also the president and founder of Women in Homeland Security, a professional development organization for women in the field of homeland security. As a first generation Ukrainian, she was thrilled to join the Advisory Board of LABUkraine in 2017. The non-profit initiative builds computer labs for orphanages in Ukraine and in 2018 built the first computer lab near Lviv, Ukraine. At the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, she worked with the organization to pivot and raise money for Ukrainian troop and civilian needs. She made several trips to Krakow, Poland to bring vital supplies like tourniquets and water filters to the front lines, and has since continued fundraising and purchasing drones, communications equipment, and vehicles for the war effort. Most recently she was named as the Lead Advisor to the First US-Ukraine Freedom Summit, a three-day conference and fundraiser to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of Ukrainian war veterans through sports and connection with U.S. veterans. She served as President and Executive Vice President on the Board of Directors for the InfraGard Nations Capital chapter, a public private partnership with the FBI to protect America’s critical infrastructure for over 8 years. Additionally, she served on the U.S. Coast Guard Board of Mutual Assistance and as a trustee for the U.S. Coast Guard Enlisted Memorial Foundation. She graduated from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Citizens’ Academies, in addition to the Marine Corps Executive Forum. Prior to founding the Government Technology & Services Coalition she was Vice President of the Homeland Security & Defense Business Council (HSDBC), an organization for the largest corporations in the Federal homeland security market. She was responsible for thought leadership and programs, strategic partnerships, internal and external communications, marketing and public affairs. She managed the Council’s Executive Brief Series and strategic alliances, as well as the organization’s Thought Leadership Committee and Board of Advisors. Prior to this, she also founded and served for two years as executive director of the American Security Challenge, an event that awarded monetary and contractual awards in excess of $3.5 million to emerging security technology firms. She was also the event director for the largest homeland security conference and exposition in the country where she created and managed three Boards of Advisors representing physical and IT security, first responders, Federal, State and local law enforcement, and public health. She crafted the conference curriculum, evolved their government relations strategy, established all of the strategic partnerships, and managed communications and media relations. Tanasichuk began her career in homeland security shortly after September 11, 2001 while at the American Public Works Association. Her responsibilities built on her deep understanding of critical infrastructure issues and included homeland security and emergency management issues before Congress and the Administration on first responder issues, water, transportation, utility and public building security. Prior to that she worked on electric utility deregulation and domestic energy issues representing municipal governments and as professional staff for the Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce. Tanasichuk has also worked at the American Enterprise Institute, several Washington, D.C. associations representing both the public and private sectors, and the White House under President George H.W. Bush. Tanasichuk also speaks extensively representing small and mid-sized companies and discussing innovation and work in the Federal market at the IEEE Homeland Security Conference, AFCEA’s Homeland Security Conference and Homeland Security Course, ProCM.org, and the Security Industry Association’s ISC East and ACT-IAC small business committee. She has also been featured in CEO Magazine and in MorganFranklin’s www.VoicesonValue.com campaign. She is a graduate of St. Olaf College and earned her Master’s in Public Administration from George Mason University. She was honored by the mid-Atlantic INLETS Law Enforcement Training Board with the “Above and Beyond” award in both 2019 – for her support to the homeland security and first responder community for furthering public private partnerships, creating information sharing outlets, and facilitating platforms for strengthening communities – and 2024 – for her work supporting Ukraine in their defense against the Russian invasion. In 2016 she was selected as AFCEA International’s Industry Small Business Person of the Year, in 2015 received the U.S. Treasury, Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization Excellence in Partnership award for “Moving Treasury’s Small Business Program Forward,” as a National Association of Woman Owned Businesses Distinguished Woman of the Year Finalist, nominated for “Friend of the Entrepreneur” by the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Military Spouse of the Year by the U.S. Coast Guard in 2011, and for a Heroines of Washington DC award in 2014. She is fluent in Ukrainian.

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