Photo-illustration by Sean McCabe.
Our tech scene is the hottest it's been since the dot-com glory days of the 1990s, with big investment by government in IT, surging green-energy programs, growing biotech research, and start-ups such as LivingSocial. Here are the people who are making this region grow.
Gov 2.0 and Politicos
Director, National Security Agency. The head of the Defense Department's cybersecurity efforts, Alexander leads a workforce that includes some of the best mathematicians and technologists on the planet.
Curtis "Bob" Burns
Social-media analyst, Transportation Security Administration. Writing under the handle Blogger Bob, Burns helps pen TSA.gov's official blog, which is regarded as the best in the government and one of the few with both a devoted readership and a thoughtful policy discussion.
Manager, Federal Web Managers Council at the General Services Administration. Working with her colleague Bev Godwin, Campbell is a key player helping to move the federal government online.
US chief technology officer, and Vivek Kundra, US chief information officer, the White House. The two men, both with local ties, are helping the nation spend its $80 billion-plus annual IT budget more wisely and inventively.
Linda Y. Cureton
Chief information officer, NASA. The Howard graduate is a leader in the government's push for cloud computing services.
Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Trained as a mechanical engineer and an expert in explosives detection, Dugan in 2009 became the first woman to lead the Pentagon's elite Clarendon-based technology, Skunkworks.
Chief technologist, Federal Trade Commission. The Princeton computer-science professor and data-privacy expert started earlier this year as the first technologist within Jon Leibowitz's FTC, which is taking a larger role in regulating and policing the Internet.
Chairman, Federal Communications Commission. The appointment of Genachowski, a veteran of the DC venture-capital world, was a signal to techies that the Obama administration was going to elevate and engage with technology policy.
US congressman from Virginia. The ten-term Roanoke Republican is cochair of the Congressional Internet Caucus and a leader on high-tech issues.
Chief technology officer, Department of Health and Human Services. The cofounder of Athenahealth, Park is at the forefront of the nation's discussion about moving health-care information online.
White House director of new media. Since day one of the Obama administration, Phillips has been building an impressive team to bypass the White House press corps and speak directly to citizens.
Senior adviser for innovation, Department of State. The driving force behind much of State's digital-communication initiative and Hillary Clinton's "Net freedom" agenda, Ross cofounded the nonprofit One Economy.
Patrick Ruffini and Mindy Finn
Cofounders, Engage. The two GOP operatives scored big in the fall elections, helping several tea-party candidates to victory. They'll likely be at the center of the Republican 2012 presidential race.
Digital strategist, US Chamber of Commerce. House speaker John Boehner's former top digital strategist is starting a new job boosting business's use of new media.
US senator from Virginia. The former governor and venture capitalist has made technology a centerpiece of his agenda since the beginning of his career, when he made buckets of money helping to launch the cell-phone industry.
Senior adviser to the director for technology and innovation, National Economic Council, the White House. The President's point person on "winning the future," Weiser is a key liaison to the tech community.