Matt and Mike talk to two organizers of Drupal4Gov, as well as the project manager for Lullabot's Georgia.gov replatform about all things Drupal in the government.

Govies are people, too!

This Episode's Guests

Nneka Hector

Nneka Hector

Director of web development at DS Federal, which is a government contracting firm specializing in Drupal and web applications. Board member of Drupal4Gov, and co-leads organizers for Drupal GovCon. 

Jessica Dearie

Jess Dearie

 IT specialist at the EPA. Board member of Drupal4Gov, and co-leads organizers for Drupal GovCon. Chief Master Sergeant in the DC Air National Guard.

Darren Petersen

Thumbnail
Technical project manager with years of experience on enterprise-level Drupal projects, Darren also plays a mean saxophone.
Transcript

Transcript

Matt Kleve:
For March 5th, 2020, it's the Lullabot Podcast. Hey everybody, it's the Lullabot Podcast, episode 246. I'm Matt Kleve, a senior developer at Lullabot. With me, as always, cohost of the show, senior, friend and developer, Mike Herchel. Hey Mike.
Mike Herchel:
Hey Matt. Good morning.
Matt Kleve:
Good morning. Glad you're here.
Mike Herchel:
Thank you. I'm glad that you're here too.
Matt Kleve:
We're on the Lullabot Podcast. We talk about all things Lullabot. Lullabot's a strategy and development agency. We do work on the web primarily in Drupal, right?
Mike Herchel:
Yeah, a lot in Drupal.
Matt Kleve:
One thing Drupal has been doing for, I don't know, a dozen years or so, has been government stuff, wouldn't you say?
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. Yeah. There is a lot of federal and state governments using Drupal.
Matt Kleve:
And Lullabot has been a part of some projects that have been doing some government stuff using Drupal, right?
Mike Herchel:
Yap. And we're going to talk a little bit about that today.
Matt Kleve:
We also have some folks who know some more stuff about doing great web projects using Drupal.
Mike Herchel:
Correct. First up, we have Nneka Hector who is the director of web development at DS Federal, which is a government contracting firm specializing in Drupal and other web apps. She is a board member of Drupal4Gov and co-leads the organizers for Drupal GovCon. You can find her @Nneka on twitter, that's spelled, N-N-E-K-A. And the same username on drupal.org. Welcome Nneka.
Nneka Hector:
Thank you. Thank you. Glad to be here.
Mike Herchel:
Thanks for coming on.
Matt Kleve:
Also with us we have an IT specialist at the EPA, board member of Drupal4Gov, and co-leader and organizer of Drupal GovCon. She's a Chief Master Sergeant in the DC Air National Guard. Jess Dearie
n Twitter and jdearie
n drupal.org. Welcome Jess Dearie.
Hello.
Jessica Dearie:
Hi, good morning. Thanks for having me.
Matt Kleve:
Glad you're here.
Mike Herchel:
And we also have a fellow Lullabot here. He is a senior technical project manager. He led the team that migrated around 80 ish Georgia.gov website to Drupal 8. So he's kind of the odd man now working in the State, at the state level right here. You can find him on Twitter as dsayswhat and on drupal.org. Welcome Darren Petersen.
Darren Petersen:
Hey Mike. How are you doing?
Mike Herchel:
I'm doing fantastic. I'm sorry I'm not working on my hourlies or my work right now. He's my-
Darren Petersen:
That's all right.
Matt Kleve:
Yeah. Darren is both of our project managers currently, right?
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. Yeah. We're all on the same project, which is actually kind of fun.
Darren Petersen:
Slamming over on the podcast.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. All right. So, Drupal in government. My experience with Drupal in government has been practically nothing but I have attended Drupal GovCon back in 2018, I believe. And since you both of Nneka and Jess are organizers, let's maybe start with Drupal4Gov. What is Drupal4Gov? How does that relate to Drupal GovCon? And maybe just give us the overall history of the organization.
Jessica Dearie:
Sure. Drupal4Gov is actually a nonprofit organization that kind of serves as the group behind all of the events. A lot of people know us for Drupal GovCon. We're one of the largest, if not the largest government tech conferences East of the Mississippi I heard. And so we have about 900 people come every summer for three full days of sessions and training. We recently added a full day of training that leads into the conference. But in addition to Drupal GovCon, we do monthly webinars, we've partnered and tried to participate with Drupal global training days that offered I think quarterly now. So, we try to get into lots of different spaces and serve those that work in government. Whether you're a government employee or simply supporting government work. We face some challenges in getting access to information and training so we try to kind of fill the gap, and that's kind of what Drupal4Gov does and Drupal GovCon is just one of the big ways we do that.
Mike Herchel:
Just while we're in the beginning of the podcast, Drupal GovCon is coming up in July this year, correct?
Nneka Hector:
Yes. July 29th through the 31st.
Mike Herchel:
Jess, you work at the EPA. Does the EPA ... I'm assuming the EPA runs Drupal? Is that right?
Jessica Dearie:
We do. The public website, epa.gov, is currently running Drupal 7 and preparing to move to Drupal 8. I manage a internal Drupal project for the Office of Research and Development. Our internal intranet is actually lots of different things but part of the work that I've been able to do with Drupal has led to a pilot where we are considering testing Drupal as an intranet solution as well that would be agency-wide. So I see a lot of Drupal adoption and people really being sold on Drupal and what it can do compared to some of the other technologies we've explored.
Mike Herchel:
Got you. Are there any specific challenges that the EPA faces relative to maybe you would guess the other organizations, nongovernment organizations, have?
Jessica Dearie:
I would say it's not so much specific to Drupal necessarily but I think what we have and the challenges that we face is unlike a lot of other commercial industries, we don't necessarily have staff that have all of the different expertise and specializations, in say, UX and content strategy and developers. We, sometimes, have one or two people that fill all of those roles. And so what Drupal is helpful in is helping to kind of bridge the gap in that it solves some of those things out of the box for you that the community itself really does come alongside you and help move your projects forward because it can provide some of that support that you may not have locally or internal to your agency. I'd say that's one of the big things.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. That totally makes a lot of sense. Jumping back to Drupal4Gov, how long have you been involved with that?
Jessica Dearie:
I want to say it's ... Oh my goodness, I think it's coming up on nine years now, maybe even 10.
Mike Herchel:
Wow.
Jessica Dearie:
Yeah. I started with Drupal in late 2009, early 2010. Before we had Drupal GovCon, it was called Global ... Something like Drupal Government Days I think is what we called it. And so I got sucked into doing a session at one of those one day events and that's kind of how I got hooked in and decided that what that organization was really doing was really important and that it was really helpful for me on my projects and I wanted to be able to make sure that that was something that I could be a part of. And since then, we've grown from one day of 30 people in one office building to this large three-day event at NIH. It's been pretty exciting.
Mike Herchel:
So, NIH is the National Institute of Health. Is that correct?
Jessica Dearie:
Yes.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. Cool.
Matt Kleve:
So, how long has the EPA been on Drupal? If it's Drupal 7 it's been at least a couple of years.
Jessica Dearie:
I believe it was about five years ago that it started the process and it took several years to get everything moved over because even then, the EPA public site was not only on one environment. So, every program office and region, and sometimes suboffices were all kind of running their own thing. So, it was not just a technical let's move to Drupal, it was let's bring everybody together into a single system at the same time.
Mike Herchel:
So I bet that wasn't political at all, right?
Jessica Dearie:
There were some challenges.
Mike Herchel:
I know, like forcing or asking people to switch platforms can be kind of a big ass.
Matt Kleve:
Sure. Even a company the size of Lullabot, changing your chat messaging software is a big deal so your whole website is probably a big deal too.
Jessica Dearie:
There was a lot to it but we had a lot of folks still on Static Html so it was a real improvement for a lot of folks.
Matt Kleve:
Yeah. That's a big win.
Jessica Dearie:
The people who had gotten a little bit more advanced and done a little bit more, for those folks I think it was a little bit harder. And not just technically, it also helped with a more defined content strategy and the messaging of the agency being consistent. So, there were a lot of nontechnical wins that I think people have since realized too.
Mike Herchel:
That does make a lot of sense. Yeah. And things like that kind of bring the benefit of Drupal as far as standardization of the content types and the content strategy and things. It's very valuable.
Matt Kleve:
Darren, you brought 80 something sites from Georgia State government together. Did you see any of that working with all these different sub organizations and standardizing everybody and the challenges that might have come with that?
Darren Petersen:
It's an interesting question. I think in the course of time that I was working with Georgia, one of the things we found was that state governments, and I would assume even at the federal level this was probably true as well, there's different governance models for how the websites in a large organization are being managed. And so, for example, the State of Massachusetts has a mandate that everybody has to be on their Drupal platform. So every agency is all on the same I believe it's a single Drupal incidence and getting to know the folks from mass.org sort of was really instructive.
Darren Petersen:
Over at Georgia, they don't have that kind of a mandate. And so, their agency, Digital Services of Georgia really works on sort of the good will and the offerings that they can provide to people. We sort of say they have ... It's all carrot, no stick. They don't have any way to force people to behave in a certain way or to adopt the platform or whatever. So the politics of that, of course are really different depending upon that governance model. But largely it was a very smooth rollout from a tactical standpoint and Digital Services of Georgia worked really, really hard and the team deserves all the credit for being able to take the process of engaging all those agencies for the 70 or 80 sites that they launched and working them through a process of content audits and trying to fit all the content, like the driver safety group versus the human services or Department of Revenue, whoever it might be, all into the various content types and making the content model that we've come up with in Drupal 8 really work for them.
Darren Petersen:
So it was a long process and an intense one in that the migration had to happen in sort of short order. We have this treadmill that we were on of migrating sites and then giving them to Digital Services of Georgia to go demo them for their respective agencies and making adjustments and then eventually moving to launch. We had this pretty tight time windows to do all of that. So, it was very exciting indeed but we did it. As of January, we launched all the sites and I believe the homepage for Georgia.gov is going to launch in the next couple of months so yeah.
Matt Kleve:
Very good.
Mike Herchel:
Got you. And the homepage for Georgia.gov has like a beta URL, is that correct?
Darren Petersen:
Yeah, pilot.georgia.gov is where it's at now but the full rollover, which is going to take them all the way off of Drupal 7 is still coming up soon.
Mike Herchel:
Interesting. Okay. So ...
Matt Kleve:
Nneka, you do a bunch of government work at the federal level. Can you tell me maybe what requirements might exist for a government project, a federal project? What are the specific challenges to government work?
Nneka Hector:
I work across many different agencies managing so I do see a lot of different challenges that they work with. Like one of the main ones I see is actually finding the talent to actually implement and sustain some of these Drupal websites that have been built. So we work with them closely to kind of find a talent and then properly place them in these agencies so that they can continue to develop and maintain those sites.
Matt Kleve:
Maintenance is always a challenge, it doesn't matter what website you are. That's the less fun job but certainly most important I think.
Nneka Hector:
Yes. And also, managing their content, by the way compliance is another big and important item when you deal with government websites. You have to ensure that not only people who can read and see, that others can kind of take in and consume the content that exist on these websites. These websites should be accessible to all.
Mike Herchel:
Section 508, that's part of the American Disabilities Act. Am I remembering that properly?
Nneka Hector:
Yes. It is.
Matt Kleve:
And if you want to run back, we have a couple of Lullabot podcasts where we go into some pretty great accessibility topics. Right Mike? That's been like, I don't know, a couple of dozen ago but you can look back in the archives. They're there. I promise. And they're good.
Nneka Hector:
And also, just understanding that when you write for citizens, that your content should be clear and easy to understand, which includes like your user interface. So clear, concise, UI/UX so that users can find what they need. Often times, when people go to government sites, they're looking for a particular item. So, a lot of our clients are having issues. A lot of the older sites that they work with, the UI isn't that clear so we come in and provide a clear user UI interfaces. And that could involve a lot of different ways from usability testing to get that information you need to provide that clear, concise UIUX.
Mike Herchel:
How long have you been doing government websites? And did you move up from doing non-govie websites? And as a further question on top of when you're talking about non-govies, do you refer to them as Muggles?
Nneka Hector:
I've never heard of Muggles.
Mike Herchel:
Muggles. It's a Harry Potter term.
Matt Kleve:
I think we can say commercial. That would be a good way to phrase that.
Jessica Dearie:
We govies are people too. [inaudible 00:15:05]. Govies are people too.
Matt Kleve:
I think Mike was trying to say you are magic people though, and that's okay.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah.
Jessica Dearie:
Okay. Well, that's all right then I guess.
Mike Herchel:
You're wizards.
Nneka Hector:
So I've been in the government space for probably 10 years. In a prior life, I actually was a COBOL developer for eight years. So the best blessing was that they fired me and they enabled me to kind of delve into the realm of web development where I worked at agencies, marketing agencies. But then I just decided to take an opportunity with a government consulting firm probably eight years ago and I have continued down that path working with government agencies to give them and provide good websites, clear and concise websites for the government.
Mike Herchel:
Cool. How long have you been involved with Drupal4Gov?
Nneka Hector:
About five years ago, I started with one of the companies that I work for. I gave a presentation at the Drupal GovCon. And again, talking to others because it's a great networking event and I got pulled in deeper where I started doing trainings on Drupal development and how to set it up. And then I got in deeper and then I got involved in the [inaudible 00:16:45] contribution and then was more responsibility with working with the volunteers, onboarding them because for the Drupal GovCon, it is 100% run by volunteers. And now, I'm a co-organizer with Jess. It's a labor of love.
Jessica Dearie:
Yes it is.
Mike Herchel:
I really salute both of you for organizing. Organizing is a lot of work and just from the one time that I've been at Drupal GovCon, it was an enormous event. It was wonderful, it was huge. It was obviously very well run. Have you attended Darren?
Darren Petersen:
Yeah. I was at the last two years and I spoke this last July when I was there. And it's fantastic and well organized. An amazing event. So, for all the listeners, if you haven't been, it's totally worth the trip.
Matt Kleve:
So if you do government websites and Drupal, you should definitely show up this July.
Mike Herchel:
But the topics are not necessarily government related. My understanding, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that it's called GovCon just so the government workers can better sell it to their bosses. Am I completely off base on that?
Jessica Dearie:
No. You are absolutely correct. It is amazing how simply throwing the word government into the name of a training or event, increases your odds of getting approvals to go. So, that kind of goes back to why we say govies are people too. There's a lot of the same information that we need that you need because we do similar work, but then there are little nuances. Security-based things or other specific things that are unique to government and we make sure we cover those. But it is by no means a government only event. You can be a nonprofit or commercial industry and still get a lot out of the conference.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. The topics seem to just be kind of very normal ish Drupal Con topics. Lots of fun and development, backend development and everything in between.
Jessica Dearie:
That's what we shoot for, yeah.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah.
Darren Petersen:
In the course of sort of looking at GovCon the last couple of years as an attendee and then as a speaker, that it is mostly ... Yeah, it's like any other great Drupal camp and that you're going to be talking about whatever is new in Drupal and there's going to be technical topics and stuff. I think there are places where it does get a little bit unique is that the private sector doesn't have the same ... They don't have a requirement to do accessibility or they don't have a requirement to deal with the certain kinds of ... Like Nneka was describing, there are some distinctives about these government sites and higher ed and government sort of share that same set of demands. Like you have to make your websites accessible. Everybody should do that even in the private sector so you're going to get good content around those distinctives as well. But it really is just a great general [inaudible 00:19:50] that too.
Nneka Hector:
And we try to have a wide array of topics from [inaudible 00:19:59] community to content strategy to DevOps performance and security, to site building. So we try to have something for everyone, and even project management. So everyone in a way getting something.
Jessica Dearie:
I think also kind of what makes us unique is our session selection team also tries to make sure we get speakers from government. So even though the topics that they may be discussing may be relevant to everybody, there might be some nuances about having dealt with that specific issue in government that they can address. And so, we do provide an opportunity for government community where even if it's not always in the session, it might translate to [inaudible 00:20:43] where people can get together who work in government and sort of share strategies for success.
Nneka Hector:
And one of the things that I'm really excited about is the code contribution where we actually ... And it's more than contributing. It's allowing people to kind of learn Drupal in a space that's kind of safe where you can learn how to code contribute and setting up, understanding the basics and get. And so, that is actually one of the areas of the Drupal GovCon that I enjoy running.
Jessica Dearie:
And I would say that one of my favorite things too is the training that we're able to offer. To be able to have one full day where we have four or five different training sessions as well as training throughout the event, especially for government folks. To even just get approval to spend $500 to go to a class, there are some people who say it's the level of effort to do the paperwork just isn't there so they don't do it. And so this is just a great opportunity where we allow attendees to come in and get access to that training through the generous offerings of our training sponsors. It's just a real value-add that I think people who don't work in government may not realize. To us, it's a lot more than just saving our agency $500, it's saving hours and hours of work to process paperwork to get approval to go in the first place.
Nneka Hector:
Yeah. Free. So, I don't know if we mentioned that, that it's free. So, thank you sponsors.
Mike Herchel:
So, how do government or federal, I guess really any type of government, what organizations make the decision to choose Drupal? Has there been evaluations? Do they look at other federal websites and say, "Well, you're using Drupal, I'll do Drupal." Is it like some fancy salesperson from Acquia or something coming in and selling them on it? Or how exactly does that work?
Nneka Hector:
I think it happens a number of ways. I think government agencies do their research. They often, before they even decide to release a bid for work, they do research in the form of request for information where they kind of put their fillers our and provide a problem and ask the community for a solution. And so based upon that, and also they see what other people are using within the government. A lot of other government agencies are using Drupal so they see the benefit of it.
Matt Kleve:
I guess, maybe what this comes back to ... Well, who on the call was at Drupal GovCon San Francisco?
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. So I was at San Francisco.
Matt Kleve:
Anyone else? No.
Nneka Hector:
No.
Matt Kleve:
Okay. That goes back to-
Darren Petersen:
I was not.
Matt Kleve:
April 2010. I've googled it. I've looked it up so I'm cheating.
Mike Herchel:
All right.
Matt Kleve:
I was trying to remember exactly what it was. And yeah, one of the key notes was a person from the new media team at the White House. They were talking about the newly released whitehouse.gov. One thing I've heard since then is that ... I mean, it was probably a couple of years after that, was ever since White House rolled out their website on Drupal, it was one of those things that nobody gets fired for choosing Drupal anymore, which I think is great for Drupal. And I think Drupal has really kind of evolved from that point and really makes a good tool for government websites. So it's a good fit and there's kind of the history there, maybe. Is that kind of what gets people going in that direction?
Mike Herchel:
I would say there's kind of a history but it was also kind of Drupal at that point ... That was Drupal 6. Drupal at that point was in a really good place to take over for these websites. And I think when whitehouse.gov ended up choosing it, it was a logical choice. And also, just in case you don't know-
Matt Kleve:
Was it though? Was it? I think Drupal was a fairly scrappy opensource project. I mean, there were a lot of big sites going in that direction at that point but I think the tide turned with that decision.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. It could be. It definitely didn't hurt things.
Matt Kleve:
Agree.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. And if you're not aware, whitehouse.gov is no longer on Drupal.
Matt Kleve:
Yeah.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. Whitehouse.gov, for those that don't know, is on WordPress but it's kind of my understanding that they also kind of simplified the content architecture and don't have as much features on the website but ...
Jessica Dearie:
I was going to say, when the White House went to Drupal, I can say that definitely in conversations I had with other federal agencies about choices, the fact that the White House went was definitely a big part of the consideration, and that it opened the doors for, "Hey, if it's good enough for the White House, more importantly, if it's secure enough for the White House, then it absolutely should be secure for us." So, security is a big part of it and sometimes selling opensource, an opensource as being secure, can sometimes be a challenge in government. And so, I think when the White House went that route and then also started touting the use of opensource, that kind of created a shift and you saw a lot of people move in that direction.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. And the White House team for a while was contributing back to Drupal, which was pretty amazing.
Matt Kleve:
Is there sharing among government organizations who might be solving the same problem within Drupal?
Jessica Dearie:
We are trying. I would say that it does not come naturally necessarily. Some of it really is reaching out. I would say when I first got started with Drupal, the fact that there were people out there in this community who knew how to do stuff and that they were willing to not only tell me about it, but hold my hand, show me how, give me code and not charge me anything for it, was a real unique experience. And so certainly, what I am finding is especially those who have been in the Drupal community for a while, we all kind of realized how abnormal almost it is in government to be able to have this type of sharing, but I've seen it really change a lot in the last couple of years. It's one of those things for folks that as they come into it, I've had to really encourage and say, "No, embrace this community. Talk to people. Ask people. Everybody wants to see this product get better."
Jessica Dearie:
And even in my own projects, I started to approach things with some of the contract support I have, is we don't write a single line of custom code without confirming that there's not something out there in the community that already solves the problem or hey, maybe it solves 85% and we contribute back to that module to get it across the finish line. Like, let's take that attitude first rather than, "Oh, let's just develop something custom that works for us." And that's a real shift, I think, in thought process.
Nneka Hector:
I agree. But you definitely have to have those champions in that agency who understand the value of the community that is Drupal and want to get involved and contributing back. I have one client who actually believes in that so it's actually a good ... I think it's a good feeling to have that.
Mike Herchel:
Is it difficult to get government organizations to contribute back opensource code?
Nneka Hector:
I think it is.
Matt Kleve:
Are there restrictions in place or just a culture that causes that problem?
Jessica Dearie:
Both.
Nneka Hector:
Yeah. It may be the culture. But just wrapping your brain around the Drupal architecture and understanding how the community works and getting involved in the community, even as a non-government person, it can be difficult. So, I think along with the barriers that come with government, being a government employee, just the barrier of contributing back can be a big learning curve. And correct me if I'm wrong, Jess.
Jessica Dearie:
No. I think that's definitely true and I think some of it also is just an educational component of understanding what you're authorized to do. And that it's something that is okay and educating, even if you yourself understand why it's legal and is not only a good thing to do but the right thing to do. Selling your management here on why it's okay that is completely opensource, that I can share my code base with not only other federal agencies but just people in general. Sometimes it's simply an educational component of people understanding what the law actually is, what we're allowed to do and how it can still be safe to do it.
Matt Kleve:
Are there restrictions in place? Like Jess for you, at the EPA, does the EPA say this is what's okay and what's not okay or are there federal mandates that say this is not okay? I'm trying to understand.
Jessica Dearie:
Yeah, so there is actually, believe it or not, there's an OMB, Office of Management and Budget mandate that says that all federal agencies have to make their custom-developed code available for government-wide reuse. That's kind of what it says you have to do. What's missing sometimes is how? How do I do that? What's the best way to do that? What is the security implications for the system that I use that code for? That's where it starts to get more complicated. So, you're starting to see more public code repositories for federal agencies but it's still a learning curve.
Matt Kleve:
I guess within Drupal, how do you define what custom code is? Is your theme custom code? I mean, I would guess a custom module would be custom code. You could draw that line in a lot of different places.
Jessica Dearie:
That's part of it. It's very gray and so figuring that out is sometimes difficult. I would say essentially anything that you write yourself, to me falls under the umbrella of custom-developed. Now, if I, I don't know, write a patch that gets contributed back to a community module, yes. Then I don't have to release that separately. It's rolled into that contrib module. But if I was to write a custom module to perform a specific thing, in theory, I would argue that I should be making that available. How and the intricacies of it get a little bit more complicated. That's part of why I think the adoption is still somewhat slow, is people figure out what exactly do we mean by custom? How much of it have to go? How does it get released? But things in Drupal, custom modules, themes, that's a little ... Maybe.
Matt Kleve:
Yeah.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. I would argue that themes are very tailored to their content types and the particular website that they're built on, at least within Drupal. And ...
Matt Kleve:
Is YAML custom code?
Mike Herchel:
No. No because you didn't write it, it's generated.
Matt Kleve:
Okay. So CSS isn't but SAS is? I'm having too much fun. We're on the Lullabot Podcast and we're talking Drupal in government with a couple of folks from Drupal4Gov and a Lullabot project manager who's done some Drupal government work. Coming up right after the break, we're going to talk a little bit about security. It was mentioned a little bit but we'll delve into it and things that need to go into security when running a government website and also a few other fun questions dealing with government working, coming up right after this.
Mike Herchel:
Hey, it's Avi from MidCamp. How are you doing Avi?
Avi:
I'm doing great. How are you guys?
Mike Herchel:
Pretty good. So hey, I hear you have a conference coming up.
Avi:
We do. It's MidCamp in Chicago. March 18th through the 21st.
Matt Kleve:
I remember some, I don't know, almost 10 years ago, when we were in Chicago in March and they dyed the river green.
Avi:
They do. It's super amazing. The Saturday before camp, they dye the river green. It's Saint Patrick's Day in Chicago. It's a huge festival. There's going to be parades, there's going to be the river dying. We're going to work on organizing some trips to get people out for that if they come in early.
Mike Herchel:
Nice.
Avi:
Our tagline this year is come for the river dying and stay for the community.
Matt Kleve:
That'll be fun. So what are you expecting at the camp?
Avi:
Wednesday the 18th, we've got patrons and a couple of summits. Thursday and Friday, we've got a lot of great sessions that are all picked and accepted and up on the website. And then Saturday is our contribution day. We've got some socials going on too, we got a game night on Thursday that's always super fun so it should be a great time.
Mike Herchel:
Cool. Well, thanks for coming on and telling us about it.
Matt Kleve:
What's your website again?
Avi:
The website is midcamp.org. We've got ticket info up there, sponsor information and all of the sessions and details. So, come along down.
Mike Herchel:
Welcome back to the Lullabot Podcast. We're talking about Drupal in government.
Matt Kleve:
I've got a couple of quick questions Mike. The first to Jess and Nneka. When I hear the phrase close enough for government work, does that apply?
Jessica Dearie:
Well, no. I want to say no.
Matt Kleve:
I didn't think it was fair but yeah.
Jessica Dearie:
It's not fair. I mean, are there are sacrifices we have to make sometimes because we just have to call it sometimes, yes. But I like to think that our standards are just as high as those in the private industry, sometimes higher and it's just project by project base calls, right?
Matt Kleve:
Sure. So, as far as getting stuff done, is there a bunch of red tape when working at the federal level?
Nneka Hector:
There can be. There are different processes that they are putting in place. And I think the time that you wait and implement, projects may be slower. So yeah, there are some things.
Matt Kleve:
Okay.
Mike Herchel:
Now, I've heard stories before where someone wants to install a module and they get pushed back from management saying, "Well, what are the security implications of this module? Can you go ahead and write up a document saying this, that and the other?" Is it to that level or can I just go ahead and install, I don't know, Webform or whatever other module I want?
Nneka Hector:
I think it varies from agency to agency. I think you have some who are more flexible than others.
Mike Herchel:
Got you.
Jessica Dearie:
And even within each agency so it all depends on who you work for and how they feel about it and how much they know and understand. I've worked on projects where I can install modules that's fine but yet to use the exact same technology for a different project, we have to go through a process of getting an APT, an authorization to test, and then on top of that, an authorization to operate. And all of what is involved is in making that happen. So, it's not always consistent.
Mike Herchel:
That's sounds like a lot of fun Jess.
Jessica Dearie:
So much, so much.
Mike Herchel:
Cool. So you mentioned security. Websites, we don't want them to be hacked and I think that's probably one of the reasons that government agencies tend to use Drupal because Drupal has typically a good security record.
Nneka Hector:
Yes. So it comes on many different levels, whether it's like access and providing secure passwords to the server level where you have SSL authentication and other items at that level to ensure that you aren't hacked. And so, some of the agencies that I have, they run monthly scans and you have to address at a certain level, at least the mediums enacts to ensure that that server and that web application remains running.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. That's a whole stack. It's not just Drupal.
Nneka Hector:
Yes, absolutely.
Matt Kleve:
Jess, I think we mentioned earlier that whiethouse.gov was a big target but I'm sure the EPA, there might be people shaking their fist at the EPA as well, so security is something that-
Jessica Dearie:
I would argue that there are people shaking their fist at pretty much any agency that you can think of at any given time for any variety of reasons. It's one of the great things about America, everybody has their own individual thoughts and opinions about things and they feel them strongly.
Matt Kleve:
And half of them are wrong.
Jessica Dearie:
Yeah.
Matt Kleve:
No, no, no.
Jessica Dearie:
Half of them are wrong at any given time. So, yes security is a real issue and I think even some of those agency or tactical-based sites that we don't think of being at risk, they are. They are. So while we kind of groan sometimes about having to get through those serious security gates, they are important and it is something that it is a real risk factor that we really have to consider.
Nneka Hector:
Especially in our current climate, I've seen them blocking IPs from certain ... Where they see requests coming into the server from a specific country, I see them blocking IPs or asking us to block those IPs. So it's becoming even more important.
Mike Herchel:
I can see that. There's a lot of botnets that will try to take your website offline and things like that. Darren, Georgia.gov, I'm sure there was maybe a number of security requirements as you were migrating those sites.
Darren Petersen:
Yeah. So we had ... As we've been saying, in Drupal itself there's a layer cake of different implementations as well existing in that infrastructure context that has different layers. We're primarily focused on the code that we're writing and the modules that we're choosing. So when we built out the GovHub platform for Georgia, we instituted some things right out of the box like code standards that were automated and checking our code as we were committing it into the repository and refusing to let us check it in if the modules we were using were insecure or out of date.
Matt Kleve:
Automated and somewhat annoying. Yeah.
Darren Petersen:
Yeah, right. Matt knows about this. But that would give us an initial amount of coverage right at the moment that we're writing our own code or picking modules. And in the same way, we had Drupal modules like SecKit and various kinds of password modules that would help us to secure them at the level of ... Like at the policy level within Drupal. What kind of passwords can you set? Things like that.
Darren Petersen:
And then above and beyond that, we went through and had a code audit from another partner agency from Palantir who also works with Georgia. So they came in and looked at everything we did and thankfully gave us a clean bill of health and all that good stuff. But it's really important at the level, the custom code that goes into a site and they also had to pick choices about what hosting they were going to have. They're hosted on Acquia largely because Acquia had the kinds of certification that allowed them to feel safe in the hosting platform than maybe other Drupal hosts that private sector folks can work with who maybe don't have those certifications or ratings, and therefore are not really a choice for a government site. So, all of that stuff was part of the project.
Matt Kleve:
Sure. Even our workflow Darren, if I write a code, somebody else is going to have to read that, review it and approve it before I can merge that into-
Darren Petersen:
Yeah.
Matt Kleve:
Yeah.
Darren Petersen:
That's definitely a team thing and we have a large enough team on the Georgia project that for sure we were looking at each other's code all the time before we ever got to the QA process.
Mike Herchel:
How large was that team?
Darren Petersen:
We had I would say four or five backend developers in the hottest part of the project as we were pushing towards the biggest set of features for the MVP. That was through the fall of 2018 and into spring of 2019. And we probably had three or four front-end developers. We had some rotation in and out but any given time, it was probably eight developers plus there had been architects and contact strategists and myself as a project manager all through all of that.
Darren Petersen:
And then, of course, the Digital Services of Georgia team that was part of this had lots of folks that were working on content and agency, interacting with all of them to get ready to be able to move their sites over plus tactical and testing and all kinds of other stuff. So, the total number of faces we would see on any given call might have been as high as 20 some guys. But the core developer team was probably closer to 10.
Matt Kleve:
One of the thing I thought of Darren is our extensive task batteries actually a security measure as well to ensure that your code is doing what you think it's doing.
Darren Petersen:
Yeah, absolutely. Right. Yeah. And so we were writing automated tests around any custom code that goes into a Drupal site. It's super important but it's also super frustrating because you spend a lot of time writing and maintaining tests that mostly the bug don't tell you that anything is wrong. So it feels like you're spending more time and more money maintaining the test suites and maybe they're giving back. Except when it does catch something, which it did for us on the Georgia project a couple of times and the test would fire and we would see that there was an error and we saved ourselves downtime or some embarrassing bug that was for crosspollination from one limitation to another. So there is value in them but it's always a balancing act.
Matt Kleve:
And I did not, for the record, say something positive about that test sweep.
Darren Petersen:
Yes. But in all of this stuff, security, and even stuff down to accessibility, we wanted to be sure that we were covering well with our automated testing and tools like Google Lighthouse, things like that, that would let us give ourselves a score and make sure that we were doing well every time. So, Georgia has continued to build out automated regression testing and stuff like that so that as bills go out over time and as we continue to add features to the site, that we're really the platform, I should say. That we're all covered. But that's the kind of thing that you would ideally do on a private sector site. This kind of comes back to close enough for government work and whether that saying is really fair, I feel like the standards were much higher on Georgia than they were on many other private sector sites that I've worked on.
Darren Petersen:
In the private sector, you can choose to ignore accessibility or other aspects of security or things like that, which you would do if you're at risk of a lawsuit or whatever else. But because those mandates are around security and accessibility and other kinds of things in government are there. You actually have to do all the right things and hopefully, you add to that the best practices that Nneka was referring to before in terms of clarity for the way that you write for the web. Because a lot of the folks that are coming to these government websites are ... I should say it this way. These websites in the government, at the state and the federal level, are serving everybody, like everybody. And that means people that didn't finish high school, that means people that have disabilities, it means the elderly.
Darren Petersen:
And so, you really do have to write content at a level that anybody can read and you need to provide a IU that anybody can use. And it's really, really important because people are getting services that their life depends on, that their livelihood depends on, from these websites. So it's a really big deal to do it right.
Mike Herchel:
That makes a lot of sense. So, earlier you mentioned hosting and that there were some certifications or ratings or something like that. Can you expand on that? Like was Lullabot involved with the decision-making process of the selection of the host? Do you know what ratings are available and how that factors in?
Darren Petersen:
That was actually a decision that Georgia had made prior to me joining the project. Like I [crosstalk 00:46:04] to security. I feel like maybe I could throw that to Jess or Nneka and they might actually know the kinds of requirements that make up a government hosting platform that will actually pass muster.
Jessica Dearie:
So I would say that the bigger thing is FedRAMP, I don't know if you've heard of that. FedRAMP is essentially a standardized approach to security and so organizations are hosting companies that have been FedRAMPed. There are a lot of federal agencies, at least federally I can say, that would say, "Hey, if it's FedRAMPed, then we'll pursue. If it's not, don't even talk to us."
Jessica Dearie:
So, at least, I think Acquia may be the only cloud-based hosting provider that has the FedRAMP certification. Now, others can get it through third party. I don't know all of the specifics but there's ways that you can still provide a FedRAMPed service, even if you specifically aren't FedRAMPed. I'm not a security expert so I don't want to claim any of that, but then we have cloud.gov which is another environment that agencies can use to move to cloud hosting. But all of the security stuff that's kind of outlined through FedRAMP is really the starting point for most folks.
Mike Herchel:
So that's FedRAMP, F-E-D-R-A-M-P?
Jessica Dearie:
Yes.
Mike Herchel:
Cool.
Nneka Hector:
And AWS also has a platform that's FedRAMP compliant.
Jessica Dearie:
That's right.
Darren Petersen:
I believe at the time that I started working at the Georgia project, Acquia was the only Drupal host that was FedRAMP compliant but I believe Pantheon was working toward it at that time. And a quick web search shows me that their data centers are FedRAMP certified at Pantheon so that may be another option. But of course, your knowledge may vary to your homework, all that good stuff.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. I would encourage our listeners to kind of do their own homework. We don't want to say that one provider does have it.
Matt Kleve:
Darren said it.
Darren Petersen:
The scuttlebutt at the time was that we'd like to be able to consider more options for hosting but Acquia is the one that's definitely certified as Jess mentioned. But Pantheon was making noises like they were heading in that direction too [crosstalk 00:48:18]
Mike Herchel:
Okay. So let's talk about procurement. I heard that it's a little bit different for an agency maybe to get a government business. Nneka, you work at an agency that works with a lot of federal agencies. Can you maybe talk a little bit about that?
Nneka Hector:
Yeah. I think it's all about building relationships. We have a number of contracts so we try to make sure that we do well on the projects that we have and organically grow business from within those. And also, networking is really important because the process to win work within the government is a lot different and lengthy. And you have to respond to RFPs and price accordingly so there are a lot of things that go into winning work within a government agency. It takes a lot of knowing who you want to work for, investigating who are the key players and networking effectively. And if you are already in that organization, then trying to get more work, it's important that you continue to do a good job and organically grow your work within that.
Matt Kleve:
And I'm sure the RFP will have all sorts of things outlined, the requirements for the agency who could fulfill this. And like my cursal designs probably wouldn't necessarily be okay to do the work.
Mike Herchel:
That's actually a pretty good design company.
Matt Kleve:
Yeah. I've heard that.
Mike Herchel:
So are government agencies mandated to post RFPs online? Do they have requirements that ... Like I've seen things before where federal agencies require that all workers are based in the USA. Is that common? Is that a thing?
Nneka Hector:
It is a thing. We have some agencies where we can't hire if you aren't a United States citizen. Then I talk to the other side of that, there are also opportunities for small agencies. For the federal government, they have programs put in place for small business organizations that are primarily set aside, work that's set aside specifically for small to nurture that small business growth. I just think the work to go after that, you have fill out a lot of paperwork which I'm really not privy to. But once you get over that hurdle, I think the benefits are good.
Mike Herchel:
Got you. Darren, were you involved in the RFP process for Georgia.gov and-
Darren Petersen:
I was.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah?
Darren Petersen:
And I don't know a ton about it at the federal level but I do know that there's an approved vendor kind of ... And maybe Jess knows about this, I'll turn it over to her in a second. But for Georgia, we had a request for a qualified vendor basically that we had to go through. And it was a very lengthy process. And once we had reached that status with them, like they did that before they did anything, there was actually a bid for real work. They just wanted to make sure that it was part of the state process to go through and say what kind of vendors are reputable and have been around long enough and have a track record of work and have all the skillsets that we need, all those kinds of things. So having cleared that hurdle, then they issued a request for an RFP or whatever. It was an RFQ, I think request for quote for the work that ended up being the new GovHub platform. And so they actually put out three of them. There was a design and a content strategy and development RFQs that were all put out to the various approved vendors. And we won the content strategy and development size of those.
Darren Petersen:
And there was another design shop that picked up the design side. So we had to go through all that stuff and it was a ton of work. The good news was, and I can say this without qualification, it was the best written RFP I've ever seen in that they knew exactly what they wanted. They had done all the research, they knew their audiences and they had all the supporting documentation that we could have ever wanted in order to respond well to it. And this is as opposed to lots of other RFPs where they sort of list out a set of bullet points and say, "We want a website." And you know it's going to be a high dollar figure project but you don't have anything to go on. So the epitome of marrying before you date basically.
Darren Petersen:
But this was very much not that. So, all this preparation and all the homework that Nneka was mentioning that folks do, research they do before, they open up these RFQs for the public to respond to, can make it so it's really a rewarding project because you really know what you're getting into and you know what kind of partner you're working with ahead of time.
Mike Herchel:
Got you. So they listen to all the requirements within the RFP of the website so when-
Darren Petersen:
We really knew what we were getting into. Yeah.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. So you could accurately give them a dollar figure as opposed to just shooting in the dark.
Nneka Hector:
Which doesn't happen a lot. You were lucky.
Darren Petersen:
We definitely were lucky, but that's why Digital Services of Georgia have state agencies to watch. I think they just got voted that on Twitter some place. Some agency said, "You need to watch this state agency because they blog, they talk about best practices. They're-
Mike Herchel:
If it's on Twitter, it's real.
Darren Petersen:
I've heard that, yeah. But Jess, there is like an approved status of some kind for the federal government that I've heard about but I don't actually know what it's called. Do you know about that? Can you tell us?
Jessica Dearie:
I don't know specifically status, I do know that the process for procurement varies depending on the size of your project and the dollar figure. And depending on what you're trying to do, you can write a small shorter sort of statement of work where you ideally can get as specific as you need to. And if the dollar figure is under a certain, you can just get some services from companies that are GSA certified. So if they're on the GSA schedule and they respond back saying that they can meet that particular need and a quote that you can select that way versus some of these bigger larger dollar figure contracts that go out through RFIs, RFQs and RFPs.
Jessica Dearie:
And definitely, I have seen some really well written ones and some ones where you're like, "I'm not even sure I know what you want." And you can definitely tell. I've served on, they call them TEPs, Tactical Evaluation Panels. They've put together where people evaluate all of what comes in against the actual statement of work. And there's very specific rule sets and there's a contracting officer who ensures that the people who are on the panel are making decisions based only on what was written and what was requested and you can't take anything else into consideration.
Jessica Dearie:
So there's a very specific legal process that we go through. And even if you're serving on that panel and maybe you know that particular company that put a bid on and you'd really like to be able to select them because you know that they're going to give you what you need, if they haven't responded to the RFP in the way that they're required to or in a very specific way, you can't take that other stuff into consideration. So, it's a unique process.
Darren Petersen:
That actually happens to us at the state level with Georgia where once we had submitted our bids, they brought us ... They didn't brought us, we went to them, I should say because that's real too. But Lullabot went out and met with them and they did I think with all the vendors as far as I know. That they sat down with us and said, "Okay, we have questions about your proposal." And there was a procurement person in the room, which is unusual for private sector kinds of situations. That procurement person had to be at every conversation that we had with them. And as you say, the proposal is the major of what they were making the decision on. So they asked us to amend certain things because in our conversation with them, with procurement present, we were able to articulate what was actually the solution we were planning to deliver, et cetera. They said, "Great. If you can put that in the proposal then we'll be able to review it again."
Darren Petersen:
And so that was definitely part of the process in all those conversations until the point in time where the ink is on the paper. It had to be overseen so that the state funds that we're going to be putting out there are known to be legally procured. So it's an important thing.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. And that safeguards people from giving jobs to their buddies, is my understanding.
Darren Petersen:
Exactly. Tax dollars, you got to be careful with that.
Mike Herchel:
Especially politicians have the reputation of being honest so I don't ... That [crosstalk 00:57:49]
Matt Kleve:
Yeah, it's weird.
Darren Petersen:
That's why we have all these regulations anyway.
Matt Kleve:
So let's talk a little bit about maintenance. Jess, from the EPA's perspective or from your perspective inside the EPA, I suppose, one thing that Nneka brought up was finding people to work on these sites after they're going. Has that been a challenge finding Drupal knowledge to work inside the EPA?
Jessica Dearie:
I would say so. I think it depends on your agency. In some cases, you have federal employees that will work across different agencies. One of the things that I found as unique about the EPA is that a lot of the people that work in the EPA have only worked for the EPA. Because they believe so strongly in the mission of the agency, that's what they're most concerned about and that's why they're there. And the work that they do is based off of the mission as opposed ... So you have people who have been around for a long time, which is great for institutional knowledge but doesn't always allow for sort of newer experiences.
Jessica Dearie:
So, what I find as a challenge within the agency is we don't have a lot of technical feds. We have great project managers and we have strong people who understand the business strategy but when it comes to the technical side, we really do lean heavily on contractors for that level of support. And so you have to make sure that when you're developing products such as Drupal sites, that you think forward far enough about when you stretch into that operations and maintenance phase of, "All right, so the contractor built all of this for us but who's going to help us with security updates and module updates and future releases and enhancements?" That's mostly contractual. And because it's contractual, all of that procurement stuff we just talked about comes into play.
Jessica Dearie:
So, being able to get a couple of good feds who stick around and understand the technology can be really, really helpful but that I think is across government kind of where you face that challenge, is you'll have one or two not teams like you might have in commercial industry.
Matt Kleve:
So, inside of the government, what other types of technology outside of Drupal are being used? What have you run into?
Jessica Dearie:
Oh my goodness, everything. I mean, sometimes what happens is you have the vendors that are really, really good at displaying and showing off their products and you get the right people in front of them and that's how you see adoption, you see ground flow for things. When I started at the EPA in late 2009, we were still running Lotus Notes, if you can even remember what that is.
Matt Kleve:
Lotus email, is that the email software?
Jessica Dearie:
Yeah.
Matt Kleve:
Okay.
Jessica Dearie:
It was but it was also an application development platform and had web front end to Lotus Notes applications as well. So, you see anything and everything. Because often times what happens, and it goes back to that procurement process, is we don't necessarily pick the technology. We say, "We need a solution." And the contractor, the vendor provides the technical solution. So unless you specifically say you need to limit your solutions to these particular technologies, that's how I think how you see all these different types of technology across government because it's based off of how that procurement was written and what that particular vendor brought forward.
Nneka Hector:
I do notice that but I also notice that when you have an agency, they'll stick to a certain stat. So it'll either be that LAMP Stack or the Microsoft stat where they may have pulled in other technologies.
Matt Kleve:
And Nneka, you're talking about an agency meaning a government agency, not a services' agency.
Nneka Hector:
Yes, I am.
Matt Kleve:
Okay.
Nneka Hector:
And I've seen CMSs from WordPress to DotNetNuke. So I've seen a lot with a lot of the clients that we work with.
Matt Kleve:
I haven't thought about DotNetNuke in a long time.
Jessica Dearie:
It's around.
Darren Petersen:
Yeah, yeah. It's still around.
Nneka Hector:
It is still around.
Jessica Dearie:
Are you guys familiar with FITARA? Have you heard that term before?
Matt Kleve:
I have not.
Jessica Dearie:
It's the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act. It was based in, I think, late 2014. But it essentially established overall the process by which federal government would procure IT. And so it forces an evaluation of, "Hey, what other technology stacks is the agency using? If it's different than what we already have? Why?" And that's a real oversimplification but there is a dollar threshold that any procurement for IT services over a certain dollar threshold has to go through what we call a FITARA review. And it helps. I mean, I think CS is another layer but I think it does help an agency, especially an agency that might have a distributed budget really ensure that we're not duplicating efforts that one program office is building a solution that another program office already has. And so that's yet another layer or bureaucracy and legality but I think in that particular one has a good ... It's a good effort. That FITARA process so that's part of it too when you talk about picking your technology.
Matt Kleve:
Nneka, do you have any final thoughts as we point towards wrapping this up? Anything we might have missed?
Nneka Hector:
No. Not that I can think of. It was a good discussion.
Matt Kleve:
Do you enjoy working in government stuff or is that just where you ended up?
Nneka Hector:
Probably a little bit of both. I do-
Matt Kleve:
Well, that's fair.
Nneka Hector:
Yes. I enjoy my client but sometimes you can get caught up in a lot of the mundane waiting and [crosstalk 01:03:39]
Matt Kleve:
I mean, it's got to be kind of fun to, like Jess was talking, get behind an agency that you care about. I mean-
Nneka Hector:
Yes, absolutely.
Matt Kleve:
I find that working at a commercial agency when I'm with a client, that I really outline with their mission. It feels good for me.
Nneka Hector:
Yeah. And I think that's why I continue to work within the government spaces with some of the clients that I do work with. We have some wonderful clients who allow us to work with technologies and make those ... They trust us to make the technical decision, so that's the good thing.
Matt Kleve:
Jess, any final thoughts for you?
Jessica Dearie:
I would say kind of spinning off on your question to Nneka about working in the federal space, I think it has its challenges certainly but I think I like the things that ... I take my role as a federal employee seriously in that it's important to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars, in that everything that we do is being paid for by the American people. And so, if we can, in even a small way, reduce duplication of effort, reduce paying for the same functionality, even just once, then I've saved some taxpayers, of which I'm one, some money. And helping to build efficiency in government. I see certainly, especially with the way technology has taken off in the last 10 years, really strong improvements in government. And even though it may not happen as quickly as we see maybe in private industry, I do think the government is moving and working in the right direction, and it's exciting to be a part of that.
Matt Kleve:
Well, as a citizen with a pile of receipts upstairs that I need to figure out in the next month, thank you. Darren, do you have any final thoughts? Are Mike and I going to fly to DC and start doing a bunch of these stuff or what's going on? Is there something you want to tell me?
Darren Petersen:
I totally agree with what Jess and Nneka were saying. When you have a client who trusts you, whether it's government or not, that's super rewarding. And when that client's doing something for people that's important, that's super rewarding. And having spent 18 months or more now submerged in the State of Georgia's delivery of services to their citizens, it's a great feeling to know that I'm helping somebody figure out more easily how to get to their services that they need, whether it's food stamps or business licenses or whatever else. So that feels really, really different than building an ad supported website that is going to, I don't know, shut TV shows or whatever else we might have a client ask us to do.
Matt Kleve:
Not that there's anything wrong with that either.
Darren Petersen:
Not that there is because entertainment's a thing too. But making sure that people have what they need for their life is kind of a big deal. Yeah, I think it's a great space to have had the chance to work in and I'm hoping to do more.
Matt Kleve:
Yeah, that was actually something that hit me, Darren, was I heard [inaudible 01:06:54] talking about the Georgia.gov project probably a year and half ago and he was getting excited and one thing he said that really kind of hit home was like, "If this website doesn't work, literally people don't eat." Because it was providing a service that was important for food stamps or other support. And that really kind of hit home, the message of what we were trying to do, and that's good.
Darren Petersen:
So, all those best practices that we talk about really, really matter in that context and I'm really proud to have had the chance to work in that.
Matt Kleve:
What do you think of government stuff Mike?
Mike Herchel:
It's kind of daunting. It definitely seems a lot but I agree, it's important. It's one of the most important pieces of work that you could be doing.
Matt Kleve:
Well, thank you Nneka, Jess and Darren. We appreciate you coming on.
Mike Herchel:
Yes. It was a great conversation.
Jessica Dearie:
Thank you.
Darren Petersen:
Absolutely.
Mike Herchel:
And I will hope to see you at Drupal GovCon.
Nneka Hector:
Yes.
Jessica Dearie:
I hope so. Yes.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah.
Jessica Dearie:
And we always look for volunteers so I'll just plug that in there. If you want to be a part of Drupal GovCon, there are lots of ways that people can participate.
Mike Herchel:
And how would they get in touch with you?
Jessica Dearie:
For now, I would say the easiest thing is to shoot us an email at drupal4gov@gmail.com. We'll get you on our list. And as we start to get closer to the event, we can start getting you plugged in.
Matt Kleve:
Nice.

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About host Matt Kleve

Portrait of Matt Kleve
Matt Kleve has been a Drupal developer since 2007. His previous work in the media sparks a desire to create lean, easy to use workflow processes.

About host Mike Herchel

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A senior front-end developer, Mike is also a lead of the Drupal 9 core "Olivero" theme initiative, organizer for Florida DrupalCamp, maintainer for the Drupal Quicklink module, and an expert hammocker