The nominations have been submitted, the votes have been tallied, and our esteemed panel of judges have deliberated for hours. The results? We’re excited to give SysAdmin of the Year honors to Paul Dobbs.

What makes Paul worthy of the prize? He works at the John Howard Society of Durham Region, a nonprofit in Ontario Canada that provides services to nearly 20,000 people per year — and he has a budget of zero dollars per year. Without any annual budget, Paul has increased technology access from 45 computers to nearly 200 computers, from one old NT server to six 2003-R2 servers, unified the network between all offices and reduced Internet costs by more than $6,000 per year.

As Paul has gotten JHS new equipment through grants and funding proposals, he’s put the organization in a position where it can actually give computers away to others; it now donates complete systems to JHS clients who have no financial resources to buy their own.

Paul isn’t the only winner though; here are the other talented award winners:

K-12 Award: In addition to managing a network of 700 computers, Saint Francis High School’s Larry Steinke has also made the entire campus wireless, set up Saint Frances on VOIP phones, installed Smartboards and created a technology committee to review and establish IT plans. Myron Nessan, Saint Francis’ director of finance, says “he does all this with great personality, professionalism and purpose which is appreciated by all he works with.”

DevOps Award: The award for DevOps excellence goes to R.I. Pienaar. He wrote mcollective, a distributed sysadmin framework, runs DevOps meetings in London and is a great contributor to Puppet.

Flying Solo Award: Not too many SysAdmins can say their work saves lives, but Espen Ødegaard can. When the Conficker worm attacked all the workstations as the hospital he worked at, Ødegaard worked tirelessly for three days — by himself — to clean up every workstation. “It is not unlikely that his efforts saved lives,” wrote nominator Odd Henriksen, “considering how little information medical personnel had on their patients while their computers were down.”

Shoestring Budget Award: Alec Cedrone, manager of information systems at Weston Nurseries has saved money on everything from installing Ubiquti Bullet2MP himself to looking to liquidated purchasing options, to choosing OpenDNS for Web content filtering. He estimates his thrifty ways have saved the company almost $35,000.

Neat Freak Award: Given to Kris Wessels, a SysAdmin in the department of computer science at K.U. Leuven in Belgium. Complete photographic evidence of his cabling prowess can be found here.

Disaster Response: While taking a long awaited vacation, Matt Sokolow was texted by his boss. There was no Internet connectivity, no network connectivity at the office — nothing was working. Matt wins the disaster response award for spending three plus hours while on vacation on the phone with a general manager, walking her through everything from restarting a DHCP server to reading error logs to restoring from a backup.

Large Scale Deployment Award: When Dale Hobbs, network administrator for Lush Cosmetics, began to investigate what employees at Lush’s retail stores were looking at online, he realized the bulk of their web traffic was to non work-related sites. The solution was to deploy OpenDNS — at 149 retail locations across the country. The results? A boost in employee productivity, cost savings for the company, and being given the Large Scale Deployment Award.

Paul will receive a pass to The USENIX Association’s 24th Large Installation System Administration Conference (LISA ’10) — valued at approximately $900 — and the other award winners will all be given a $50 cash prize. Special appreciation to our friends at The USENIX Association for providing the grand prize!

Thanks to all who entered and we hope to see you on July 28th at the System Administrator Appreciation Party!

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