For three years now, IBM Z has been a part of the IBM Champion program which recognizes innovative thought leaders in the technical community and rewards their contributions by amplifying their voice and increasing their sphere of influence. IBM Champions are enthusiasts and advocates: IT professionals, business leaders, developers, executives, educators, and influencers who support and mentor others to help them get the most out of IBM software, solutions, and services. IBM Champions demonstrate both expertise in and extraordinary support and advocacy for IBM technology, communities, and solutions.
I am pleased to announce that in our third year, we have been able to announce our program's first IBM Champions Lifetime Achievement award. This award recognizes an IBM Champion who stands above their peers for service to the community. Over multiple years, these IBM Champions consistently excel and positively impact their community. They lead by example, are passionate about sharing knowledge, and provide constructive feedback to IBM. It comes as no surprise for those who work closely with the IBM Champions that our first Lifetime IBM Champion for Z is none other than Dusty Rivers!
Although IBM Z has been a part of the program for just three years now, Dusty has been an IBM Champion for the last 11 years! He has spent over a decade advocating for the mainframe platform within the IBM Champion program among many other user groups and communities. As director of Z systems at GT Software, Dusty works with global companies to API-enable their IBM Z systems. Dusty is also an active member in the broader Z Community. As a project manager for SHARE, he enjoys being involved with the community, track planning and was even awarded the Best of the Best for his session on APIs this past year. Dusty is also active in mentoring the New to Z community, a panelist for many TechU sessions and a passionate IMS user and advocate.
Dusty is the epitome of the IBM Champion program and all it aspires to be. I am so happy and proud to announce Dusty as our first Lifetime IBM Champion for Z. Please join me in thanking, Dusty, for all he does for the IBM Champion community as well as the IBM Z platform!