Inauguration's Top Techie


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Actually, he did get home to Anchorage, Alaska for four days at Christmas, where he enjoyed a long overdue visit with his parents. “We think it’s amazing,” said his mother, Susan Rogers. “I feel as though he’s living a charmed life.”

Charmed, perhaps, but not entirely surprising.

Jablonowski grew up with technology in Alaska, where his dad, Dick Jablonowski, founded a business technology company. Mark Jablonowski ran the computer help desk in middle school, and, as a tech expert, was the only student in his high school with a staff ID. Also in high school, Jablonowski worked as IT manager for the U.S. Senate campaign for former Alaska governor Tony Knowles. It was Jablonowski who devised a data entry system for field workers’ Palm Pilots so they could enter data right from voters’ doorsteps.

He was 17.

Mark Jablonowski ’10
Mark Jablonowski ’10

“He’s always been a problem solver,” Rogers said.

Of course, the technology associated with a presidential campaign in 2008 is of another magnitude, and the stakes—and deadline pressures—are exponentially greater. Dick Jablonowski said he appreciates  the complexity of the projects his son has taken on. “A twenty-year veteran would be highly challenged to make all of this stuff happen,” he said.

But happen it has, all building to January 20.

Eighteen months after he joined the campaign, continues to focus on the job at hand,  postponing any decision about his longer-term future. It may include a job in the Obama administration, he allowed, or a job in the private sector. He and an Obama campaign colleague are mulling the idea of a company that would promote democracy in developing nations through software solutions, he said.

“At some point, I’d like to finish college,” Jablonowski said.

But he isn’t worried that he doesn’t know what the future holds. The campaign, he said, has taught him that.

“I used to be a very structured person,” Jablonowski said. “I knew what my plan for the day was, I knew what my plan for the week was, I knew what the rest of the year looked like. I was a little bit uncomfortable just letting things go, going with the flow. But the campaign—you’re so focused on what you’re doing and things are changing constantly—you can’t have those plans. So my norm now is just going with what’s in front of me.”

And, says the young campaign veteran, he has no regrets.

“I want to get back to having a normal life, having a social life, getting an education, keeping in touch with friends and family, which the campaign doesn’t really allow for that well,” he said. “At every point I keep coming back to the fact that it is just such an amazing movement. I can’t see myself getting out of it until it’s over.”

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  • On January 15, 2009, Andy Holleman wrote:
    Very cool. Very true. It fails to capture quite the energy Mark has to jump into something and change it around to his liking or purpose, or that even as an 8th grader he had the understanding to look at a problem, and solve the "larger" problem it represented......"scalable" we would say. It will be interesting to see what the next 20 brings!
  • On January 18, 2009, Tatiana Kowalewski wrote:
    Good for you Mark. You have helped bring back faith in democracy through innovations like yours in the campaign!
  • On January 18, 2009, Anna Craven wrote:
    So wonderful to have someone I know from a younger generation involved in that amazing campaign - Mark is the son of an old friend of mine met in the Pacific many years ago - fantastic story! Congratulations.
  • On January 18, 2009, Joode Weinhold wrote:
    Like Anna Craven I met Mark when we stayed in Anchorage a few years ago as guests of his parents. I remember Mark lent us his car for 2 weeks so we could explore Alaska, which was wonderful of him. I was thrilled to hear of his part in the Obama campaign.
  • On January 19, 2009, Anchorage Daily News wrote:
    From the Anchorage Daily News: HE'S OUR GUY TOO ... Earwigs report the person in charge of Information Technology for the inauguration is a 21-year-old from Anchorage. According to Colby College, where he was a student until taking leave, Mark Jablonowski worked in New Hampshire for the Obama campaign. When they discovered he had gonzo computer skills, they sent him to Chicago, Texas, Pennsylvania and Indiana to set up their online programs. After Obama won the nomination, Jablonowski was named the Obama for America IT special-projects manager. In an organization known for its youth, he was one of the youngest. Now he's chief technology officer for the inauguration, leading the team responsible for communications infrastructure, internal networks and security. Read More: Alaska Ear
  • On January 22, 2009, Jim Gottstein wrote:
    And to think I knew you when . . .
  • On January 22, 2009, Lawrence Buskirk wrote:
    Congrats Mark. That is an amazing accomplishment. From your years at Bowman to working with Obama. That is truly amazing and I am honored to know you. P.S. if Obama needs any Third Mates to drive any ships let him know I need a job. Lol. Keep up the good work.