Montana CIO Dick Clark has announced his intention to retire from his position effective Dec. 31. In an email to colleagues Dec. 10, Clark expressed appreciation for a supportive team that was vital to his successful seven-year run at the State Information Technology Services Division.
“As a team spanning the division, the Department of Administration and state government as a whole, we have accomplished our mission of providing the information technology services necessary to support the citizens of the state of Montana in an exemplary fashion,” Clark said.
In an interview with Government Technology, Clark pointed to many key projects as indicative of the collaborative philosophy he’s espoused during his tenure in Montana. But it wasn’t always an easy sell.
Clark recalls attending an industry event five years ago, talking to colleagues about opportunities to collaborate. At that point, other state budgets were still flush with cash. His persistence paid off, and several major multi-state initiatives gained him much acclaim within the state CIO community.
Perhaps most notable is a multi-state GIS cloud storage project, aggregating data from Montana, Oregon, Utah and Colorado. Montana is also working with Oregon on a collaborative disaster recovery effort, and has recently entered into a mutual assistance agreement with the Idaho Tax Commission that would keep taxation functionality intact in the event of a natural disaster.
Efforts like this, and many others, have earned Clark industry recognition including the Meritorious Service Award from NASCIO and as a 2012 Top 25 Doer, Dreamer and Driver award from Government Technology.
“Collaboration is the direction states are going in," Clark said, "and I think we were a big part of that discussion as we started to move forward."
Clark spent a total of 34 years with the state of Montana, where he began by breaking down tires for the Montana Department of Highways in 1978. Clark is looking forward to taking some time off, but intends to stay engaged in IT policy in the state.
When asked about advice he would pass on to his successor in the CIO office, Clark laid out specific policy priorities that should register on the new appointee’s radar. Check back with Government Technology for Clark’s insights on key IT policy priorities for the state going forward.