Wednesday, February 20, 2019

It's official: I'm an award-winning technologist

Earlier this month I was delighted to receive the CompTIA Tech Champion Award, "recognizing leaders focused on driving innovation, job growth and advancements for the information technology (IT) industry." There was even a press release and a video!

To put this award in context, CompTIA is the Computing Technology Industry Association:"the leading voice and advocate for..industry and tech professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the world’s economy."

Operating as a a non-profit organization, CompTIA is a major hub for "advancing the tech industry and its workforce" through education, training, advocacy, philanthropy, market research, membership programs, and certifications, like Security+. Since 1993, over two million CompTIA certifications have been earned by IT professionals.

The CompTIA Tech Champion Award is given annually to one member of the US House of Representatives, one member of the US Senate, and one executive from industry who has exemplified leadership in the technology sector.

The 2019 CompTIA Tech Champions are Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ) and me. Former recipients include democratic presidential hopeful Cory Booker (who gave one of the best acceptance speeches I've ever heard).

This year's Awards dinner was held at the 2019 CompTIA DC Fly-In. These annual "fly-ins" are very cool events that bring together - for the purpose of education and lobbying - technology executives, business owners, tech councils and policy makers from across the country. I have attended a number of them, and they are a great way to learn how Washington operates. You meet with agencies heads, commissioners (e.g. FTC and FCC), senators, representatives, and their staffers.

A couple of years ago our fly-in focused its lobbying efforts on a legislative proposal to create technology apprenticeships. Within six months the CHANCE in Tech Act had been drafted and introduced with bipartisan, bicameral support (attracting 46 cosponsors).

Funding for the good work that CompTIA does comes in part from the membership dues paid by tech firms like my employer and I want to thank ESET for supporting CompTIA and my participation on various committees and councils within CompTIA. Naturally, ESET was pleased about the award and put out its own press release.

As for my acceptance remarks, they were far less eloquent than Senator Booker's, but I did get to quote the final paragraph of my 1991 book on computer and network security: “The most cost-effective long-term approach to computer security is [and I still believe this] the promotion of mature and responsible attitudes among [computer] users. Lasting security will not be achieved by technology, nor by constraints on those who use it…Security can only be achieved through the willing compliance of users with universally accepted principles of behavior. Such compliance will [I'm still hopeful] increase as society as a whole becomes increasingly computer literate, and users understand the personal value of the technology they use.”

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