Outstanding Contribution to ACM Award
USA - 2010
For his executive leadership over a decade (1989-1999) that transformed ACM into a financially sound, globally respected institution and for his foresight in implementing programs that continue to sustain ACM today.
Much of the way ACM operates today is rooted in the decade that Joseph S. DeBlasi served as its Executive Director (1989-1999). Under his leadership, ACM was transformed from a society dependent on revenue from a declining external source to a financially viable organization that established reserve funds for continued program support, promoted revenue sharing among SIGs and other ACM groups, and established sources of funding from industry in support of ACM programs. DeBlasi also laid the foundation for ACM headquarters to be viewed as the central hub of the organization, empowering and inspiring a staff of professionals to develop many of the products and services appreciated today by members worldwide.
DeBlasi was one of the champions of the Association's premiere product: the ACM Digital Library. Indeed, he is credited for constructing one of the first real business plans for a digital library.
He supported the Distinguished Lecturer Program (the precursor of the Distinguished Speakers Program) that provided ACM student chapters with access to outstanding speakers. He made the issues of women in computing a priority by increasing the visibility of female leaders in the field. And he saw unlimited potential in a growing cyberspace. As a result ACM was one of the first scientific organizations to offer permanent email addresses and Internet connectivity services for members.
Moreover, DeBlasi saw the future in students. He took up the fledgling Scholastic Programming Contest and breathed new life into the venture. The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest continues to draw worldwide attention to the Association as well as corporate sponsorship by IBM. The payback to ACM in student membership and global acceptance has been nothing short of remarkable.
ACM is in a far better place to meet the future thanks to the tireless efforts of Joseph S. DeBlasi.
USA - 1999
For extraordinary executive leadership and innovative Internet-based programs that transformed ACM into a powerful international presence in computing.