November 13, 2009 20:23 ET

2009's Sysadmins of the Year Adulated at Gala Awards Ceremony

The Awesomest of the Awesome

BALTIMORE, MD--(Marketwire - November 13, 2009) -

News Facts

-- BigFix, Inc., organizers of the 2009 System Administrator of the Year contest, revealed the winners of this year's competition at the Sysadmin Rock Fest event held in conjunction with the USENIX LISA 2009 Conference in Baltimore.

-- The 2009 Sysadmin of the Year is Nick Weber. To align with the winner's employer's policies, BigFix will donate the winnings to Hackers for Charity, a non-governmental organization engaged in technology transfer, education, and nutrition programs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

-- Joe Dailey of Ohio University was named the Second Place Winner in the competition, winning a Dell XPS 16 laptop computer plus a copy of Guitar Hero 5, and his choice of a Sony, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, or Microsoft Xbox 360.

-- Barry Fridley of OhioHealth, Noah Meyehans of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, and Jordan Wiseman of Valley Medical Center received honors as Runners Up, each accepting a copy of Guitar Hero 5, and either a Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, or Microsoft Xbox 360.

-- Richard D'Amours of the Edmonton (Alberta) Public School Board was named Public Sector System Administrator of the Year, receiving a plaque commemorating this achievement. System Administrator of the Year organizers created this category to honor public service sysadmins who are prevented from receiving compensation from outside sources.

Winning Entry Highlights

--  Grand Prize and overall System Administrator of the Year Nick Weber:
    "... One of my favorite things that he's done that I still laugh about to
    this day was when we were about to leave on a Friday night. We got a chat
    message from one of our colleagues in the UK stating that a critical
    reporting system... had stopped working. Now at this point he was ready to
    go home and enjoy his weekend with his family but it was already 9:00pm in
    the UK so he was already worse off! So Nick dives in to troubleshoot only
    to find out... drum roll please... it's a French language Windows 95
    machine. Nick is so knowledgeable that the language barrier didn't matter
    to him since he knew just by the look of the error messages what they were.
    After a half hour looking into it he was able to get the system working
    again. Keep in mind this it was also a software program he had never seen
    before either."
--  Second Place Winner Joe Dailey: "Joe is always looking out for the
    customer. I can recall one weekend where he was called to investigate a
    possible server issue that was affecting service for the Ohio University
    Police Department. After investigation of the issue, Joe isolated the issue
    to the OUPD's own application. Although the issue was not related to his
    area of responsibility, Joe drove into work and sat with the customer to
    help isolate the application problem and to understand the issue from the
    customer's perspective. Joe was then able to resolve the application issue
    and return the service to a functioning state quickly... He's the only
    person I know who still drinks Tab! And not just one or two, cases of it!
--  Public Sector System Administrator of the Year Richard D'Amours: "He
    reads and learns faster than Jimmy Page's fingers on the fret-board. He
    absorbs, understands and applies what he has learned faster than a John
    Paul Jones bass line. We've all heard of the three minute song? Well,
    Richard absorbs technical manuals in two-fifty nine!... While Richard was
    ON VACATION in Palm Springs, California, we were hit with a time-critical
    situation. We needed to get a stack of emergency patches out to a subset of
    our machines (about 3,000 of our 20,000) and we needed to do it quickly...
    he responded, "No problem, I'll do it for you, just give me about 15
    minutes." Richard then went to a Starbucks, pulled his laptop out of his
    backpack... and pushed the emergency patches out to all 3,000 machines
    before his coffee had cooled. In less than 15 minutes we were DONE!"

Background and Context

-- The Sysadmin Rock Fest also featured a cake specially created for the event by Food Network "Ace of Cakes" Duff Goldman's Charm City Cakes. Goldman's band ...soihadto... performed live at the Rock Fest event.

-- The 2009 System Administrator of the Year contest was co-sponsored by BigFix, Inc., the League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA) and USENIX SAGE.

-- A panel of judges including AEleen Frisch (author, "Essential System Administration"), Doug Hughes (serial presenter and guru at many USENIX LISA conferences), Ben Kus (founder, BigFix User Group), Thomas A. Limoncelli (sysadmin author,, Johnny Long (founder, Hackers for Charity,, Ryan Russell (author, "Stealing the Network"), Robert Scoble (blogger,, and Amrit Williams (BigFix CTO and blogger,, evaluated entrants and selected the award winners.

Supporting Quotes

David Appelbaum, senior vice president of BigFix, in presenting the awards said: "Tonight we honor the awesomest of the awesome. America's million-strong community of system administrators keeps the wheels of commerce, the gears of government, the turbines of research, and the cool waters of public service advancing ever forward. Every system administrator performs the astonishing on a routine basis. The System Administrator of the Year contest shows where sysadmin leaders are expanding the frontiers of information technology value delivery, security, and public benefit."

Information Resources

--  System of the Administrator of the Year home page:
--  Twitter: @SysAdRockStar09
--  LinkedIn:
--  Facebook:
--  Take it to 11 blog:
--  Charm City Cakes homepage:
--  ...soihadto... homepage:
--  LISA '09 Conference:
--  LOPSA:
--  Hackers for Charity:

About BigFix

Founded in 1997, the BigFix®, Inc. solutions support a global portfolio of A-list organizations in government, finance, retail, educational, industrial and public utility sectors. BigFix revolutionizes IT infrastructure management by replacing fragmented collections of single-purpose tools with the industry's only unified visibility and control architecture that consolidates up to 18 security, IT compliance, decision support, and green computing functions. For more information, visit, follow BigFix on Twitter @BigFix, or stay in touch on the BigFix Facebook page,

Contact Information

  • Nicole Colwell
    Connecting Point Communications for BigFix, Inc.
    Email Contact