Meet the 2020 Incident Commanders

We all work with an IT incident response hero – someone in Support, IT Operations, DevOps, in the NOC or on the SRE team. Someone who deserves to be recognized for their professionalism, their uncanny ability to stay calm, cool and collected under pressure, their skills in collaboration and communication, through even the toughest incidents and outages.

In 2020, BigPanda and Blackrock 3 Partners kicked off the Incident Commander award program, specifically created to acknowledge these heroes.

We recently caught up with our five winners to find out what the last year was like for them. Meet them!

2021 Incident Commander award

Nominate your favorite IT Ops, DevOps, SRE or NOC hero today.

David Levinger

Head of Operations, Machinify Inc

Sharmila S.

Sr Manager, Global NOC – Global Infrastructure Services


Eric Norman

Director Enterprise Operations, IHG

Eric leads operational management of all Intercontinental Hotels Group’s applications and platforms globally (100+ countries, millions of transactions daily, over $20B in revenues). From global operational support and service delivery across data centers, applications support, application build and release, change management, problem management, service desk, incident management, service level management and business continuity. Eric’s superpower is remaining calm under pressure.


Lynn Deppe

Incident Response Manager, Progressive Leasing

Lynn is a tireless Incident Commander. He was brought in to help create a formal critical incident response and RCA process and he ROCKED it right out of the gate. He hit the ground at a dead sprint and transformed Progressive Leasing’s entire thought process around driving to root cause and affecting meaningful change based on data driven analysis of what causes outages.


Jackson Hickman

Manager, IT Service Delivery – Critical Incident & Problem Management Process Owner, Unum

Jackson is wise beyond his years. According to his team, he has elevated the Incident Management team to a new level of success. With his leadership and expertise, the team has gone from strength to strength continuing to meet individual, team, and enterprise goals. The current reduction in critical incidents YoY of 70% would not have been possible without him at the helm. His 24x7x365 support and willingness to adapt to whatever situation is greatly appreciated by everybody at the company and he leads from the front and sets a great example.

Do you know an Incident Commander?

Shortly, you can nominate yourself or someone you work with for the 2021 Incident Commander award! Here’s the profile of the kinds of people we are looking for:

  • They have led a large-scale high-impact global incident with style and grace
  • They have magical powers when it comes to finding the root cause of every problem
  • They need very little information to identify how to bring together the right team to solve issues
  • They are prepared for every situation, even ones no one sees coming
  • They can make an incident disappear just by joining the bridge call
  • They are known company-wide as the “outage-whisperer”
  • They have a discrete “Five 9’s” permanent tattoo somewhere on their body

Nominate a hero for the 2021 Incident Commander award