Business Presentation

About us

For over 17 years, the Government Business Executive Forum (GBEF) remains an exclusive, powerful executive membership organization focused on developing substantive, lasting business relationships between government and industry leaders. Led by an experienced management team with notable accomplishments across public and private sectors, the prestigious GBEF program is unmatched in its ability to build important communication channels between those who make a difference in technology as applied to vital government missions.

Donald W. Upson

Founder and Chairman Government Business Executive Forum, Co-Chair EDGE

Specializing in technology applications to improve government, Don Upson has been a visible and recognized leader in government and business for more than three decades. Today he chairs the Government Business Executive Forum and its flagship conference, EDGE. Together, these constitute the most exclusive and prestigious programs of the government technology and management sectors:

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Dr. Barry C. West

Co-Chairman, GBEF EDGE

President, West Wing Advisory Services

Dr. West is one of the most recognized names in American government technology and management. His career includes service as CIO of the National Weather Service, Department of Commerce, FEMA, the FDIC and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. He is a former President of the American Council on Technology, AFFIRM and an adjunct professor at Georgia State University. While at Microtech, Dr. West supported Microtech CEO Tony Jimenez in the execution of his vision to build a customer-centric innovative business providing the most advanced solutions to complex government mission requirements.

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Michael McCalip

Co-Chairman GBEF 2022

Vice President, Carahsoft

Mr. McCalip is the Vice President at Carahsoft responsible for strategic growth. He is an award-winning business executive with experience across technology and management consulting. Mr. McCalip is a self-driven respected professional known for taking on the most difficult challenges with a history of leading and influencing large workforces, complex operations, and budgets that accelerate performance and improve affordability.

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Jeannette Lee

Co-Chair, EDGE22

President, IIA Technologies

Jeannette Lee is CEO of IIA Technologies and a managing member of LeeJ Equity Partners. Jeannette’s previous company Sytel, an enterprise- IT and security firm, was acquired by a public company TechTeam Global, now a Jacobs Engineering company. Jeannette served on several boards; is an ex-YPO’er and now a member of the Chief Executive Organization. IIA Tech is a mission partner for Energy, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Defense.

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Laura Hudson

Laura Hudson serves as Vice President, Operations for GBEF. In this role, her responsibilities include member engagement and sponsorships.


Laura previously served as an advisor to Secretary Elaine L. Chao at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Prior to her time with DOT, Laura was with the Consumer Technology Association, producers of CES in various roles for almost two decades.


Mary Shea Sutherland

Mary-Shea Sutherland serves as the Director of Events for the Upson Technology Group and EDGE. She brings more than 30 years of successful management, meeting, event planning, and design experience.


Her career has included work in both Federal and State government, including serving on the personal staff of Chairman Tom Bliley, and Governors Jim Gilmore, George Allen, and Bob McDonnell. She has managed events for the White House, the National Governors Association and served as Director of Member Relations for the Republican National Committee where she was responsible for the annual Summer and Winter meetings.


Previously, she was Director of Events for Benedetti and Farris, LLC where she developed and managed events for a variety of clients. Highlights include the Richmond premiere of Warner Bros. Gods and Generals, the annual Leaders in Technology Dinner (2005 – 2020) for the Consumer Technology Association, the Federal E-Commerce Commission events across the country, several Virginia Inaugural Balls, and a multitude of events for political organizations, corporations, and charitable organizations.


Ms. Sutherland is a graduate of the University of Richmond. She is married to Steven Boyd who serves as the Promotions Manager for the Department of Conservation and Recreation for the Commonwealth of Virginia.