Over 460 members of the region's technology community came together on April 13 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner for a Titans breakfast featuring Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector at Amazon Web Services (AWS), a global cloud computing leader.
In her introductory remarks, Carlson discussed how AWS' early advancements in cloud computing in Greater Washington have paved the way today for innovative cloud adoption by the public and nonprofit sectors. Carlson explained how cloud is enabling unprecedented opportunities for information sharing across government agencies in intelligence, healthcare and more. These new collaboration opportunities, she emphasized, are enabling public agencies to accomplish their missions more effectively and serve citizens better.
Innovation will depend on a highly-skilled tech talent pipeline, shared Carlson, and the Greater Washington region is well-equipped to handle these talent demands with its highly-skilled Veteran and student populations. Carlson explained how AWS is engaging Veterans in its talent pool, offering programs that enable Veterans and military spouses to gain hands-on training, skills translation and mentoring. In fact, AWS has set a hiring goal of 25,000 Veterans and military spouses by 2021.
Carlson also underscored the importance of partnerships between the private and academic sectors in driving the talent pipeline. She shared how AWS' partnership with Virginia Tech in cybersecurity and its apprenticeship program with Northern Virginia Community College in cloud computing are serving as industry examples. Carlson also noted how engaging with students earlier in STEM, especially girls, will be critical for building tech talent.
Carlson went on to discuss policy's pivotal role in innovation, calling for policies at the federal and state levels that spur entrepreneurship, improve IT modernization and make information sharing easier. According to Carlson, such policies will give the U.S. a competitive edge. In closing, Carlson identified some of the latest trends transforming tech, including the Internet of Things and connected devices, machine learning and artificial intelligence. She emphasized how these trends are spurring innovation for the public good – and fueling the need for more talent.
During a Q&A session with the audience, Carlson gave additional perspective into legacy IT and navigating the federal cloud acquisition process, the importance of teaming with small businesses and startups to deliver public services, and the exciting implications of cloud and machine learning in areas like healthcare.