There are a lot of awards out there. One of the more prestigious of those awards is the John J. Franke Jr. award, given out by the American Council on Technology and the Industry Advisory Council (ACT/IAC) each year at the Management of Change conference.
Ira Hobbs, the former Treasury Department CIO and the 2003 winner of the Franke award, did a remarkable job setting the tone. (Hobbs so often does a remarkable job setting the tone.) Hobbs noted that he had the pleasure of working forFranke while he was at the Agriculture Department. Franke had battled with cancer, but “he did so in a way that gave strength to other people dealing with the same disease.”
Hobbs noted that Franke made mentoring a priority. When Hobbs as a presidential management intern and Franke was the assistant secretary for administration — “back when they were God like figures” — Franke would invite the interns to a regular lunch and he would talk to them about their experiences and challenges. Hobbs noted that the room was filled with people were were trying to make it in the world, andFranke — in words and in actions — illustrated that strong leaders focus on the people who help you be successful.
Karen Evans, the former administrator of e-government and information technology at the Office of Management and Budget and the 2008 Franke award winner, noted that Johnson had helped with many of the big initiatives, even incorporating security provisions into the Networx telecommunication contract.
Johnson called the recognition a “tremendous honor” and the culmination of a 34 year government career. “This symbolizes what we have accomplished together.”
The award is presented each year in memory of John J. Franke, an Assistant Secretary for Management in the Department of Agriculture under President Reagan, and later the first Director of the Federal Quality Institute. He started as a successful small businessman in the State of Kansas, served as County Commissioner in Johnson County, and later moved into regional government in Kansas City. Mr. Franke died in 1991 after a courageous battle with cancer.
Mr. Franke is remembered as an appointee who recognized the key role of information systems in the management of government, and his interest in the information management community extended beyond his own work. He encouraged his managers to take an active role in government-wide organizations such as ACT, participated in conferences to learn how information systems could help make government more effective, and challenged those in the field to do things smarter and faster.