The 7 Most Fascinating Presidential Innovation Fellows

Last week, the White House announced 43 new Presidential Innovation Fellows. These innovators ranged from for-profit, non-profit, and private sector and signed up for 6-13 month “tour of duties” to help improve government.

I took a read of the backgrounds of these innovators and I have to say they are all impressive and fascinating. There are tons of amazing developers, designers, and innovators from across the U.S. especially form Silicon Valley. I’m personally really excited that there is so much interest from talented leaders to serve their country

However, here are my 7 favorite fellows according to my made-up Avengers-style descriptions:

“The Successful Open Data Entrepreneur”Vidya Spandana – So I’m a huge closet fan and Vidya is the co-founder. I’d argue that is one of the first open data companies and she took it from an idea to a multi-million dollar business. She is working at the Millenial Challenge Corporation on Open Data. Check her out on Twitter @Vid_Spandana

“The Rockstar Fed” – I’ve known Sean Herron since he was in college and he is awesome. Most recently, he served as a Strategist in the Open Innovation office at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he spearheaded open-data and open source initiatives for the agency and helped create the International Space Apps Challenge. He is working on Open Data Initiatives at the Food and Drug Administration. Check him out on Twitter @sean_herron

“The Design Guru” I don’t personally know Martin Ringlein but he’s well-known in DC circles as co-founder of nclud, an internationally recognized and award-winning design agency, which was acquired in 2012 by BrowserMedia afterwards which Martin took a position at Twitter as a Design Manager. Always have been a huge fan of nclud’s work, so excited to see that come to gov. Further, my designer took a course of his at General Assembly and said Marty rocks. Check him out on Twitter @smarty

“The Venture Capitalist” Scott Hartley recently served as a Partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, a $2 billion Sand Hill Road venture capital firm he focused on how mobile, social, data, and analytics are disrupting traditional commerce, media, and finance. Prior to MDV, Scott worked at Google, Facebook, and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. That’s pretty much the Internet’s version of the perfect pedigree. Looking forward to seeing his work on Development Innovation Ventures at USAID and you can follow him on Twitter @scottehartley

“The Cool Contractor” There’s a lot of talent in government contractor land and Jacqueline is one of those serving a tour in government. Most recently, she worked for CACI, where she was lead developer on a contract at The Library of Congress, working on projects such as Chronicling America and Jackie is a software developer passionate about human behavior and open data and founded PyLadies DC and Geo DC. She is working on Disaster Response and Recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and you can find her on Twitter @JackieKazil.

“The Restaurant Owner”
How awesome is this? Greag is the owner of Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse a super cool gem in DC that has movies, live theatre, a restaurant, and more. (I guess we know where the PIFs will hang out). Outside, he’s a developer who has worked with VA and NARA. He’ll be working on RFP-EZ initiatives at SBA and you can find him on Twitter

“The API Guru” So Kin Lane literally wrote the book on APIs – it’s called the “Business of APIs” and writes the popular API Evangelist blog. He is working on the VA Modernization initiative and you can check him out on Twitter @kinlane

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