John Stuart Edwards, a.k.a. Johnny, is an American writer
Johnny was born and raised in Virginia. In January 1961, two U.S. Presidents gave speeches that would set the foundation for Johnny’s values and goals in life.
God, Country, Corps
As an adolescent, Johnny spent most days dreaming in school and did not perform well in the classroom until he attended college. Johnny got into a lot of fights and was suspended from school on at least a few occasions.
Johnny learned to defend himself by kicking and punching a heavy bag hanging from a tree in his back yard. The bag was constructed by filling his brother’s Navy ‘sea bag’ with rocks and bricks. By his eighteenth birthday, the outer wall of the bag had been pounded into sand.
Johnny’s father served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Johnny’s other heroes are Albert Einstein, Spiderman, and General Patton.
During his formative years, Johnny was a student athlete and boxer. Growing up in Richmond Virginia, Johnny worked part time in many entry level jobs – running kool-aid stands, delivering newspapers, shingling roofs, mowing lawns and working in restaurants as a dishwasher, bus boy and cook.
After high school, Johnny went on to work as a ‘selector’ at The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company warehouse in Richmond, Virginia loading trucks with food and merchandise. It was a good union job that his oldest brother Steve once held. The job paid extremely well too! Life was good.
When fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were taken hostage in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, Johnny and his best friends Randall and Chip decided to join the U.S. military to defend the U.S. against terrorists and fight Russians in the Cold War.
Randall and Johnny attended boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina together on the “Buddy Program” and graduated in Platoon 2013.
Honor Graduate LCpl Edwards with Senior DI Gunnery Sergeant Kalnas
MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina
After his first tour of duty at Camp Lejeune and deployment overseas where he was twice meritoriously promoted, Johnny returned to Parris Island as a Drill Instructor in B Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion. At only 20 years old, Johnny was the youngest Marine Corps Drill Instructor as a Sergeant. He was later meritoriously promoted again to Staff Sergeant (E6) two years later at age 22 prior to successfully completing his tour as a Marine Corps Drill Instructor.
In 1984, Johnny returned to the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina where his son Robert was born, and then transferred to the 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa Japan for a few years where his second son, Bryan was born. Johnny was the poster-child for the United States Marine Corps 1985 calendar pictured below, appearing on posters, recruiting literature and in advertisements around the world.
After a whole bunch of other great things and tours of duty including being commissioned an officer, Johnny finished his distinguished Marine Corps career in the late 1990’s with an abundance of medals, college degrees, professional certifications and awards hanging on his walls.
After the Marines, Johnny wanted to get away from the government for a while so he took a job working for America Online (AOL). For several years, Johnny designed, built and led the data analytics and reporting organizations for the new interactive advertising business. Johnny developed creative new ways to collect data, track and measure visitors, impressions and clicks, and helped build AOL’s online brands while driving over one billion visitors to new eCommerce destinations on the web each day.
During his time at AOL, Johnny experienced the speed of true innovation. Each year working there was a dog year – 24/7.
As the first Data Czar for the company, Johnny integrated algorithmic intelligence into the company’s data logging and reporting systems based on business performance questions to derive answers. To accomplish this, Johnny used the knowledge equation he developed and later published in 2004.
When Johnny left AOL in 2003, the online advertising business had grown to more than $2 billion per year in gross revenue and the number of AOL subscribers in the United States hit its peak at just over 26 million customers. Johnny was recognized by the Interactive Advertising Bureau for developing the first industry standards and guidelines for advertising on the World Wide Web.
After the dotcom bubble burst, Johnny began researching software application acquisitions, modernization and development as a Chief Information Officer at MVM Security Services and CGH Technologies; and was Senior Technical Director for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) working at the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Defense, Department of the Army and the Business Transformation Agency as a contractor. In 2007, Johnny was part of the team that received the Computerworld Honors Program’s 21st Century Achievement Award for the Best Data Mart in Education and Academia for his work at the Defense Acquisition University. In 2010, Johnny was named as one of SAIC’s top 100 employees throughout the company (SAIC had 41,000 employees nationwide) and was nominated for the Technology Development and Analysis Annual Achievement Award which is the highest honor that the company bestows for its technical employees. In 2011, Johnny was appointed as Charter Member of SAIC’s Technical Review Board for Homeland and Civilian Solutions.
In late 2011 after leaving SAIC, Johnny created a video to explain his philosophy about how the federal government could modernize legacy information systems and reduce federal technology costs. This was his call to public service. That video, called “HOW TO CUT DEFENSE SPENDING RIGHT NOW” can be watched here.
Making the decision in 2012 to leave the private sector to serve his country again, Johnny became a federal civilian employee working at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, then Department of Labor, and finally at the National Labor Relations Board.
At DHS in May 2012, Johnny was hired as the GS15 lead architect and acquisition lead for the national E-Verify system to lead the modernization of that system for comprehensive immigration reform. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee’s Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration to confirm employment eligibility. E-Verify’s most impressive features today are its speed and accuracy. E-Verify is the only free, fast, online service of its kind that verifies employees’ data against millions of government records and provides results within seconds.
After comprehensive immigration reform legislation stalled in Congress in late 2013, Johnny transferred to the U.S. Department of Labor to be the Director of Enterprise Solutions. At Labor, Johnny executed the acquisition and modernization of all national apprenticeship and grants management systems to comply with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
WIOA consolidated all job training programs into a single funding stream. When Johnny arrived, for example, there were more than seventy stove piped grants reporting systems.
The WIOA legislation was signed into law by President Obama on July 22, 2014. Johnny’s “Green Monster” architecture was approved, acquired and implemented by carefully migrating on-premise hosting of legacy Cold Fusion and Java applications that were scattered across poorly maintained servers and databases, into secure AWS commercial cloud platforms powered by Appian Business Process Management Software that was integrated seamlessly with Apache-Spark and Elastic MapReduce / Hadoop data factories on the back-end.
In April 2016 Johnny transferred again, this time to a small government agency where he was in charge of modernizing all the agency’s case management, imaging, reporting and data warehouse technologies. Johnny led and engineered a major IDIQ technology labor contract acquisition that was awarded in March 2017. During his short tenure at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Johnny exposed more than $10 million in wasteful spending by the CIO, contract fraud at the agency by long-tenured officials, discrimination against Veterans, and tampering with official government records by senior agency officials including the Inspector General and FOIA Officer.
After blowing the whistle and being retaliated against by the NLRB, Johnny Edwards left the U.S. federal government during June 2017 to write and spend more time with his beautiful and talented wife Cathy who is an artist.
Johnny believes the federal government needs more people with integrity who will put the country before their own self interest. Johnny has been successful at cutting information technology maintenance costs from budgets, reforming technology organizations to operate more efficiently, and he has justified many new investments at a lower cost to improve computer systems.
The key to technology reform in the federal government is fostering a workforce that does not fear retaliation for simply suggesting improvements. Federal technology spending is huge, passing $90 billion per year for the first time in 2017. That means the incentives for corrupt government officials to conceal waste, fraud and abuse and retaliate freely against Whistleblowers is so great in federal agencies today that it has totally infected the entire federal enterprise.
Johnny believes the U.S. needs anti-retaliation laws that make the consequences of willful retaliation by government officials, including politicians, so severe that no one in government is willing to risk it. Only then will citizens have an open government that is free from the perils of corrupt federal bureaucrats that destroy people’s lives.
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