Infrastructure: Modernization

Infrastructure: Modernization

Infrastructure: IT Modernization
Infrastructure: IT Modernization
Event builder display intro
Virtual Event

Telework induced by the COVID-19 pandemic forced federal agencies to pivot their IT modernization strategies. In 2021, emerging technologies like 5G and new approaches to IT like Agile are shaking up the way agencies tackle modernization. This event will draw insight from agencies and federal IT leaders at the cutting edge of IT modernization trends.

February 25, 2021
11:00 am - 1:00 pm EST
Virtual event
Register Now
Laptop showing IT Modernization on screen


Software AG Government Solutions
Dell Technologies



Jeff is an accomplished Enterprise Architect with over 28 years’ experience with the focus areas of Strategy, Methods and Tools. At Software AG Government Solutions, he advises customers and agencies on the implementation of Alfabet to support Portfolio Governance and Rationalization, and speaks frequently on effective approaches for digital business transformation. He has worked in numerous industries including Federal and State Governments, Defense, Telecommunications, Automotive Manufacturing, and Financial Services. His broad experiences help to shape the sharing of best practices throughout the Federal and State Government.

Principal Systems Engineer, Software AG Government Solutions

Congressman Gerald E. “Gerry” Connolly is serving his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia’s 11th District, which includes Fairfax County, Prince William County, and the City of Fairfax. Prior to his election to Congress, he served 14 years on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, including five years as Chairman. Throughout his career, protecting and growing Northern Virginia’s economy has been his top priority.

In Congress, he has played a key role in securing federal dollars for transportation improvements in Northern Virginia, including completion of the Fairfax County Parkway, widening the Prince William County Parkway, providing ongoing support for Rail to Dulles, and securing the annual federal commitment of $150 million for the regional Metro system.

Congressman Connolly is a senior member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and serves as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations. In this role, he is responsible for shaping government-wide policy for a broad range of issues, including federal workforce and federal agency oversight, federal procurement and information policy, national drug policy, regulatory reform, the United States Postal Service, the United States Census Bureau, and the District of Columbia.

He also serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Using his extensive background in foreign policy, including as a senior staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has become a leading voice on foreign assistance reform, war powers, embassy security, and democracy promotion abroad.

Congressman Connolly co-authored the bipartisan Issa-Connolly Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), which was signed into law in 2014, and represents the first major overhaul of the federal laws governing IT management since enactment of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. In 2016, he passed the Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act, which allows temporary employees of land management agencies to now be eligible for civil servant positions. He also helped pass the Telework Enhancement Act, which requires the federal government to increase the use of telework by federal employees to ensure continuity of operations by federal agencies during emergency situations, enhance recruitment of a quality federal workforce, reduce traffic congestion, and improve the region’s air quality.

Congressman Connolly received an M.A. in Public Administration from Harvard University in 1979. He received a B.A. in Literature from Maryknoll College in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

He resides in Fairfax with his wife Smitty and has a daughter Caitlin.


Mahtab Emdadi is an accomplished federal business leader and strategist who was named Rising Star for 2019 by FCW. In her role as Civilian sales director with Dell Technologies, Mahtab and her team deliver mission critical solutions and emerging technologies across Homeland Security Components. With a decade of sales and management experience, Mahtab is building a stronger workforce through Dell’s Diversity and Leadership Acceleration Programs.

Mahtab is a member of the advisory committee for the Homeland Security and Defense Forum. She received her master’s degree in leadership from Georgetown University School of Business and her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of West Virginia. Mahtab volunteers with D.C. charities, such as the Walk for Freedom and the USO. She is an advocate for putting an end to human trafficking and supporting the victims. Mahtab volunteered as a teacher in an underprivileged school in rural South Africa.

Besides spending time with family and her Peloton, Mahtab enjoys the theater, reading, and travel.

Regional Sales Director, Dell Technologies

George Linares is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). As CTO, George serves as one of the Agency's principal officials responsible for information technology (IT) at CMS. George advocates for enhancements to CMS IT and information technology practices to maintain cost-effective offerings, with an emphasis on the ever evolving and maturing of CMS’ technical environment.

Additionally, George fosters and enables the introduction of innovative technologies in the areas of Service-based Architectures, Enterprise Shared Capabilities, Cloud Services and Data Analytics, and practical opportunities to balance program needs with technology advancements.

George has worked at CMS since 2003, assuming the responsibility of various roles, including Technical Advisor and Application Architect. Prior to joining CMS, George worked as a software developer in multiple industry settings where he implemented several banking, manufacturing, and financial IT initiatives. George also served in the U.S. Army and he earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Towson University.

Chief Technology Officer, CMS

A member of the Senior Executive Service and FEMA’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Mr. Ted Okada is responsible for leading the technology strategy and direction for a wide variety of mission, business and enterprise systems, providing guidance, advisory services as well as investment and change management planning. Under his leadership, he has aspired to drive FEMA towards the ethos of an “expeditionary start-up organization” by leveraging a broad range of continuous improvement initiatives involving open data, geospatial technologies, cyber security, as well as a whole community approach to interoperable communications in the event of a disaster.  

Mr. Okada is the creator and executive sponsor of OpenFEMA—a project that ensures FEMA is  providing timely, usable, and accurate information to constituents to enhance and promote a transparent  and collaborative culture within FEMA. This growing open source and digital nature of information sharing and communications were opened up for use by the media, non-profits, and universities  immediately after the Hurricanes Sandy, Harvey, Irma, and Maria disasters that resulted in a number of  outcomes benefitting storm survivors. It has also led to a unified strategy to reduce complexity in FEMA  systems built around simplified web services, built on the same OpenFEMA foundation.  

Mr. Okada has been with FEMA since March 2012 and previously served as the Senior Advisor for  Technology for the FEMA Administrator. He has over thirty previous years in international relief and  development with a decade in internet services architecture and two technology start-ups. He served as  the Director of U.S. Global Public Private Partnerships as well as Director of the Humanitarian Systems  Group, both positions at Microsoft. In this position, Mr. Okada developed solutions to the world’s most  vexing and least served humanitarian problems. He supported and developed programs in Uganda,  Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Haiti, DR Congo, Albania, Dominican Republic, Kosovo,  Pakistan, Guatemala and the Philippines. With a background in child survival, community health  systems, food security, agricultural extension, and emergency management, Mr. Okada also managed  advocacy programs for refugees during the 1980’s and worked on landmark citizenship legislation.  

While at Microsoft, Mr. Okada led his team in response to the Kashmir Pakistan earthquake in 2005,  humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan, and was part of the rapid deployment team that assisted the city of  Galveston during Hurricane Ike. He is also lead inventor with former colleagues at Microsoft’s Concept  Development Labs on a 2009 US patent filing related to mesh networks in disasters.  

Mr. Okada is a 1982 graduate of Northwestern University with a B.A. in Mathematical Methods in the  Social Sciences and Economics, studying under the late Michael Dacey and Nobel Laureate, Dale  Mortensen. Mr. Okada volunteers at Burke Fire Station 14 in Fairfax County, Virginia, and is a licensed  Extra Class Amateur Radio Operator. While reachable through email, Mr. Okada typically listens on the  Maritime Mobile and National Hurricane Nets at 14.300 and 14.325 Mhz.

Chief Technology Officer, FEMA
Deputy Secretary for Discovery & Affiliate Networks, VHA Innovation Ecosystem Office, VA
Executive Director of IT End User Operations, Veterans Affairs

Army Maj. Gen. Garrett S. Yee is the assistant to the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). In this role, he helps to lead a global organization of 8,000 military and civilian personnel who plan, develop, deliver and operate joint, interoperable, command and control capabilities and a global enterprise infrastructure, in direct support of the President, Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, combatant commanders, Department of Defense components, and other mission partners across the full spectrum of operations.

Prior to this assignment, Yee served as the military deputy to the Army CIO/G-6 and senior information security officer in the Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO)/G6, Headquarters, Department of the Army in the Pentagon.

Yee, a native of Fremont, California, received his commission in the Army upon graduation from Santa Clara University. He later earned a Master of Business Administration from Golden Gate University and Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the Army War College.

Yee’s command and operational assignments include commander, 335th Signal Command (Theater) (Provisional) in Kuwait, where he concurrently served as the G-6 for U.S. Army Central Command and the director of Cyber Information Systems for the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation INHERENT RESOLVE; deputy commanding general for Mobilization, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois; deputy commander, 335th Signal Command (Theater) (Provisional) during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan; commander, 505th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade in Las Vegas, Nevada; commander, 650th Regional Support Group in Las Vegas, Nevada; theater observation detachment officer with the Center for Army Lessons Learned in Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, where he authored a handbook on provincial reconstruction teams; and commander, 3/356th Logistics Support Battalion at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Yee’s awards and decorations include the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal, Parachutist Badge and German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency. He is also a recipient of the National Infantry Association Order of Saint- Maurice and the Signal Corps Bronze Order of Mercury.

Assistant to the Director, DISA
Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Acquisition, GSA



Welcome Remarks


Keynote: Effective Modernization Strategies for Long-Term Efficiencies

Some agencies are farther along in their IT modernization journey than others, but one factor remains constant: technology constantly changes, and innovative methods and technologies threaten to leave federal agencies behind and compromise mission integrity. Congressman Gerry Connolly has advice for federal agencies modernizing their IT in 2021.

  • Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.)

Cloud Solutions to Support Agency Missions

Federal agencies are shifting from legacy IT systems to the cloud, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model for what that looks like. Some agencies want an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud model, some may prefer a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model, and still others may need a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model to meet agency-specific needs. Hear from federal IT leaders about the cloud solutions they’re adopting to ensure maximum mission efficiency while streamlining operations.

  • Jeff Chancellor, Principal Systems Engineer, Software AG Government Solutions
  • Mark Goodge, Chief Technology Officer, DHA*
  • Thomas Guido, Senior Director of SaaS & PaaS Solutions, VA*
  • George Linares, Chief Technology Officer, CMS

Network Modernization and 5G

As the world prepares for 5G, federal agencies need to modernize their networks to support capabilities for the faster speeds. 5G will allow federal agencies to move data closer to the edge, connect more “internet of things” devices, reduce response times and fulfill their missions more effectively. Military and emergency response IT leaders will discuss how they’re preparing their networks for 5G in 2021 on this panel.

  • Mahtab Emdadi, Regional Sales Director, Dell Technologies
  • Ted Okada, Chief Technology Officer, FEMA
  • Ryan Vega, Deputy Secretary for Discovery & Affiliate Networks, VHA Innovation Ecosystem Office, VA

Agile Processes and Human-Centered Design

Federal IT modernization successes rely heavily on being user-friendly and streamlining the agency mission. Some federal agencies are turning to DevOps, Agile processes and human-centered design to shape their IT infrastructure. In this panel, some of the tech-savviest federal agencies like the VA and USCIS will share their secrets for IT modernization.

  • Jack Galvin, Deputy CIO, IT Operations and Services, Office of Information & Technology, VA*
  • Sabrina Parker, DIDit Program Manager, USCIS*
  • Maj. Gen. Garrett Yee, Assistant to the Director, DISA*

Closing Remarks