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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - May 3, 2006 - The Network Professional Association® (NPA) recognized six individuals as the Association hosted its fifth annual Awards for Professionalism ceremony at Interop 2006, which took place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada USA. The awards program, in cooperation with Interop, honors individuals for their outstanding achievements within the international network computing industry. Each winner received a specially designed personalized trophy.

As an annual event the awards provide needed recognition for outstanding individual professionals in the network industry. Award recipients are recognized for valuable contributions, their continued focus on networking and professionalism, and the respect of their peers. An industry panel of judges is convened to review award submissions and make recommendations for recognition. Through an annual mutual relationship with Interop, the NPA enhances the prestige and visibility of award winners while continuing the awards as a standard ceremony at this definitive annual networking event.

Ted Thompson of the American Red Cross (San Diego, California) was selected for the Best Networking Professional Career Achievement Award. It is not often that a non-profit organization like the American Red Cross has an information technology professional with the innovation and skills of Ted Thompson combined with the drive to put his skills to work for the good of the community instead of the business world and his own profit.

Matt Sharkey of GRG Consulting Engineers (Maitland Florida) was selected for Most Innovative Networking Project or Implementation, Corporate Fortune X. With over 200 employees in GRGCE’s 5-site system, the Help Desk mirrors Sharkey’s personal philosophy that no problem is too big or small. His extensive research ensures that processes, technology, and people work efficiently. He has encouraged personal and corporate-wide learning by placing an emphasis on continuing education, both through gaining additional certifications himself and teaching classes to the staff on a regular basis.

Elisa Henry of NextLevel Internet, Inc (San Diego, California) was selected for Most Innovative Networking Project or Implementation, Corporate Small Business. Elisa was selected for her leadership to allow NextLevel Internet to exceed service expectations and set the industry standard for mission critical Internet service. Her client work for Golden Hour Data Systems, Inc. exemplifies the importance of mission-critical Internet availability requiring managed T1’s, DS-3’s and co-location. The Golden Hour refers to the critical 60-minute period after a traumatic injury. When an injured patient is in an ambulance or helicopter, the patient’s information goes into a hand-held computer with real-time wireless uplink to a database. Emergency rooms then have access to the patient’s medical information on arrival. Even a few seconds of downtime could have catastrophic effects on their business.

Steve Delahunty of Booz Allen Hamilton (McLean, Virginia) was selected for Top of the Mark Award – Volunteer. An avid advocate of the IT professional, Steve's work in the NPA has been key to the survival and growth of this professional organization. He is helpful and available at all times whether for a consultation for management or a supporting opinion for an entrant into the industry. Steve has positioned himself to leverage his skills and experience for the betterment of the network computing professional. His industry volunteer efforts include contributions as an invited member of the Network Computing Magazine Editorial Advisory Board, invited member of the Rochester Institute of Technology Academic Curriculum Advisory Group for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and efforts for various other technology panels and groups. Steve serves as the Vice Chair for the Network Professional Association. He is a Senior Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton, a global strategy and technology consulting firm.

Tim Powers of the University of Alaska Southeast was selected for Most Innovative Networking Project or Implementation, Education. Tim was involved in the development and delivery of a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Networking, a hands-on degree providing students the opportunity to learn the hardware and software design, theory, and implementation of LANs and WANs and to then actually build the networks from the ground up using the facilities of a $200,000 equipment lab of routers, switches, hubs, wireless access points and repeaters, servers, and computers. Extending the program via distance learning to remote (slow dialup) areas of Alaska has proven challenging but overcome using a remote lab. Tim has established Tech-Prep programs with high schools across the state allowing students to complete the first two years of study while still in high school, earning both college and high school credits.

Dan Wygant of Trideum (Fayetteville, Tennessee) was selected for Most Innovative Networking Project or Implementation, Government. Dan was involved in creating SmartClient and ClickOnce programs to work with C#, ADO.Net and SQL Server Database Applications. He also had contributions to the network professional community through his participation in Culminis, Windows Customer Experience and the local Windows community including the founding of the Huntsville VS.Net Users Group.

In keeping with the network and professionalism themed event, the attendees were provided an enthusiastic presentation from Chris Henley of Microsoft. Chris engaged the Interop theatre audience with a discussion of issues facing the network professional in today’s fast-paced information technology industry.

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