Profile: Amber Pittser

Name: Amber Pittser

Title: IT management specialist

Organization: U.S. Army

Age: 27

Industry: Defense/aerospace

30-second biography: Shortly after graduating from Oklahoma State University, Pittser was selected to join a Civil Service leadership development program sponsored by the Army, where she has worked on a broad range of projects. For example, she spent eight months on a project with Network Infrastructure Services & Operations-Pentagon, in Arlington, Va., assessing the Pentagon's network and reporting on improvements to its infrastructure. Next, she was sent to Camp Ederle in Vicenza, Italy, to develop fielding plans to relocate several key collaboration systems used by soldiers deployed in Afghanistan.

For the past year and a half, Pittser has worked for the CIO of the Army in the IT Governance department. Her office acts as the CIO's conduit to the rest of the institutional Army and is responsible for ensuring that ongoing IT transformation efforts throughout the Army are both properly managed and support overarching Army strategy.

Current project: I am working to institute IT portfolio management throughout the Army in order to enable leadership to more effectively prioritize our IT needs and better allocate the $7 billion Army IT budget. We are now focused on objectively looking at all Army IT systems, identifying redundancies in system functionality, and migrating these systems to enterprise-level tools. This has the potential of saving millions of dollars while providing an optimal set of IT solutions to support operations.

Who in the technology industry most influenced your career? Col. Luwanda Jones, one of my former supervisors, made a lasting impression. She has an innate ability to bring people together to solve tough issues in the complex and often confusing world of Army IT, and her passion for public service is contagious. She has taught me that technical expertise is only half of what it takes to be an effective manager. You must also have the ability to motivate your staff and gain their trust and respect.

The technology you can't live without: The Internet, more than anything else, has made my life much easier. Nearly instantaneous access to a wealth of information 24/7 is something I can't live without.

Most critical technologies for IT this year: From the prospective of someone working in the defense IT industry, a key critical technology is the wireless sensor. Expanded use of sensor technologies in combat zones will result in better situational awareness for our soldiers and allies, make our targeting systems more accurate, and ultimately save lives.

The best thing about today's technology: Today's advancements in technology have given people with disabilities the ability to live fuller lives and achieve things we never thought possible even just a few years ago.

The worst thing about today's technology: Some people have simply forgotten the importance of human-to-human interaction. Sometimes face-to-face meetings are more effective than collaboration through e-mail or other electronic media.

Technology can . . . advance the human race.

Book most recently on your nightstand: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell

Favorite Web sites: dcist.com

mashable.com

google.com

ITtoolbox.com

topix.net

What sets you apart? I'm driven to challenge the status quo, and I am committed to finding new ways to increase efficiency in Army operations while streamlining its information management processes.

Read an Extended Profile of Amber Pittser

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