WMD Response Garners 2004 Tech Award

WMD Response Garners 2004 Tech Award

Development of a response tool aimed at detecting weapons of mass destruction and itself, named for one of the world's most deadly vipers, was chosen winner of the 2004 Alexandria Technology Achievement Award.

CoBRA, a Chemical and Biological Response Aid, was developed and fielded by The Defense Group, Inc. located at 2034 Eisenhower Avenue. It's purpose is to provide emergency responders with the interactive tools, guides, checklists, procedures, training materials and wireless reporting capabilities to effectively respond to and manage Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Primarily a decision tool, according to its developers, it is currently in use by federal, state and local agencies as well as private industry to deal with terrorist threats and large scale emergencies.

In accepting the award for his company, Donald Ponikvar, PhD, senior vice president, said, "This is a tremendous honor. I would not have wanted to have been a judge. It was such a good group of finalists."

Both the Redmon Group, Inc., 500 Montgomery Street, and The Templar Corporation, 2800 Eisenhower Avenue, have been finalists for the annual award in prior years, R. Mark McLindon, chairman, Alexandria Technology Achievement Week Committee and master of ceremonies for the awards luncheon, acknowledged.

"It's been a great relationship with the city. And one of the added benefits is to have a good working relationship with the other finalists in our combined efforts to make the country safer. We look forward to further growth," Ponikvar said.

The Redmon Group, headed by John Redmon, president, "has designed and developed an innovative and easy-to-use suite of information technologies called CommuterWare for the transportation industry." It provides seamless access to useful information for both commuters and transportation providers.

Templar Corporation offers advanced and secure information management solutions that allow law enforcement, criminal justice and emergency management organizations to easily and rapidly share critical information, thus improving government's ability to respond to public safety threats. It is lead by Glenn L. Archer, III, president and chief executive officer.

Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille, in announcing the winner, pointed out, "We have had over 150 companies nominated for this award over the past eight years. The products of our finalists not only benefit people nationwide but also right here at home."

Technology Achievement Week started in 1997 as the city's Ad Hoc Task Force on Information and Communication Technologies. The original chair was Vice Mayor Redella "Del" Pepper. Since its inception, finalist companies now total 37 out of the 350 local technology firms employing 12,750 people.

FITTING THE OCCASION, the luncheon's guest speaker was Jon W. Dudas, Acting Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce for Intellectual Property and acting director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [USPTO], which, upon completion of its move to Alexandria, will be the city's largest employer.

As noted by Pepper in her introduction, "He is the President's choice to fill both positions." Appointed January 11, 2002, Dudas has been directly involved in guiding the operations of the $1.2 billion, 7,000 employee agency.

A top priority of his management of USPTO, according to Pepper's introduction, has been his commitment to completing the agency's transition to e-government. "Over 65 per cent of all trademark applications are filed electronically today," she said.

"This [USPTO] is the fifth largest data base in the world. We can now process all our daily paperwork electronically," Dudas claimed. "In the United States we owe much of our success in the technology field to our IT protection systems."

Dudas quoted Stephen Hawkings, one of the world leading technology scientists, in making the point, "The world has changed more in the last 100 years than in any other time in history. It's all because of technology."

Noting that China has the largest trademark office in the world, Dudas stated, "They recognize the United States as the leader in Intellectual Property laws. We are proud of our 200-year-old history helping America become an economic giant."

AS A PRIVATE practice lawyer in the early 1990's, Dudas specialized in intellectual property law that included extensive trademark and copyright work. Prior to his appointment he served as Counsel to the Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property, and staff director and Deputy General Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary.

"We are proud to be part of Alexandria. We have completed the move for 2,000 of our 7,000 employees so far. And, this is our [USPTO] headquarters," he assured the business and governmental leaders filling the Radisson Old Town ballroom last Friday.

Preceding the announcement of the winning finalist, a video produced and director by T.C. Williams High School students, working under the guidance of their teacher, Vilma Zefran, and senior producer Alex Komoroske, was shown highlighting the activities of each company. In addition to Komoroske, the production team consisted of students John Brandon, Emerson Davis, Ally Hodgkins, Will Kuckro, Sarah Low and Eb Moore.

Alexandria Technology Achievement Week is sponsored cooperatively by the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, (AEDP) Inc., Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and the city. They are joined by a host of business, education and government sponsors who were introduced by Dr. Horace Jones, head of Advanced Resource Technologies, as the event's presenting sponsor.

This year's judges were David Speck, Wachovia Securities; Tracy Rookard, City Commission on Information Technology; and Joe Landa, Briar Tek, Inc., 2003 winner. Each year's winner becomes a judge for the next competition.

Joining McLindon on 2004's Technology Achievement Week Committee were Paula Riley, Marc Brambrut and Eric Dobson, AEDP; Mark Jinks, assistant city manager, Fiscal and Financial Affairs and Kendal Taylor, budget analyst, OMB, City of Alexandria; Ken Moore and Barbara Lord, Alexandria Chamber of Commerce; Councilman Rob Krupicka; and Vice Mayor Del Pepper.