Last week, the highly prestigious popular vote contest for the 2023 Wash100 Award came to a close and now Executive Mosaic has announced the triumphant winner: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. This year’s competition was the fiercest yet, drawing tens of thousands of submissions and widespread attention from across the federal sector.
Since the end of January, motivated audience members, tireless supporters and enthusiastic bystanders have placed votes for their favorite honorees of the 2023 Wash100 class. These executives are the latest roster in a now decade-long tradition, a careful selection by EM’s discerning voting body in order to coronate the most impactful change-makers in the Capitol region and beyond. Recipients work in or are adjacent to the government contracting industry and must demonstrate exceptional vision, innovation, reliability and more.
Austin’s popular vote win constituted a last-minute surprise that nonetheless proved the intense adulation that exists for his two-year captainship of the Department of Defense. His victory comes after Department of the Air Force Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger captured the public’s imagination with a 2022 popular vote success.
“The Department of Defense is on a two-year winning streak, as the GovCon community continues to enthusiastically come out in droves to support government agency and GovCon ecosystem executives in the Wash100 popular vote competition. This year, we received a surprising and overwhelming flurry of votes in the final hours of the contest that rearranged our top 10 and completely shifted the outcome of GovCon’s most exciting annual race for the popular vote,” said Jim Garrettson, CEO of Executive Mosaic and founder of the Wash100 Award.
“Congratulations to Secretary Austin on a well-deserved win, and thank you to our dedicated audience for your energetic and record-setting support in the Wash100 Award’s tenth anniversary celebration,” Garrettson continued. “Our team at Executive Mosaic has been committed to improving our recognition program year over year, and their dedication has made the Wash100 the most coveted executive award in the industry.”
Austin earned his third consecutive Wash100 Award for advancing a strategy of fortified deterrence, particularly fueled by acquisitions of cutting edge military technologies. He spent the last year ensuring a pipeline of aid to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, among other responsibilities. To learn more about why Austin was inducted to the Wash100, read his profile here.
For much of the race this year, Carahsoft President and Founder Craig Abod sat in first place with a comfortable lead. However, things tightened up in the competition’s late stages, and Abod ultimately conceded to Austin by just nine votes. Abod is a nine-time Wash100 winner and GovCon veteran.
Trailing these two titans in the top five were Booz Allen Hamilton’s Judi Dotson and Steve Escaravage at numbers three and four, respectively, and Microsoft Federal President Rick Wagner at number five. Wagner started the competition in first place out of the gate for two weeks and remained Abod’s toughest competitor for much of its duration. Hats off to all of these fine executives.
Here is the final 2023 Wash100 popular vote top 10:
“As an imperative, we also must recognize Roger Krone of Leidos, who is the only executive in the award’s history who has been recognized for an unbroken streak of 10 years. Krone is indisputably the winningest Wash100 executive in our decade-long history, scoring a perfect 10 out of 10,” Garrettson remarked.
Accomplished leaders such as Iridium’s Matt Desch, General Dynamics’ Phebe Novakovic, Abod and V2X’s Chuck Prow also belong in the upper echelon of Wash100 history, with nine wins each. Veritas Capital’s Ramzi Musallam, Northrop Grumman’s Kathy Warden and Battelle’s Lou Van Thaer are the only three with eight Wash100 Awards.
Thank you to our readership for participating in the 2023 Wash100 popular vote contest! Follow along in the coming weeks as Garrettson and our team pays a visit to each honoree individually to present their awards.