benchmarks to measure ROI before critical projects proceed.

Furthermore, Warner is asking Newstrom to use his experience working with IT firms to encourage growth in the state's digital-based economy. The state collaborates with the private sector, Congress and local governments to create an inviting environment for young IT firms statewide, not just in the northern tier near Washington, D.C.

It's not just plans and policies, but also achievements that make Warner stand out. The state's Taxation Department won numerous awards for its innovative tax revenue system, which is run in partnership with a private-sector firm. And the state has one of the few successful e-procurement programs in government, which has already processed $1 billion in purchases electronically.

Warner sees the opportunity to do more.

"There's a tremendous potential to harness technology, and Virginia made great strides," he told Government Technology last year. "So there is a good foundation upon which to build. But there is a long way to go."

Fortunately for Virginia, they have a governor who is moving in the right direction.

-- Tod Newcombe, editor, Public CIO

Jesse White,

Secretary of State, Illinois

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, now in his second term, created the office's first online services. CyberDrive Illinois, the secretary of state's Web site, offers an impressive array of services -- it issues state ID cards, vehicle license plates and titles; registers corporations; enforces the Illinois Securities Act; administers the Organ Donor Program; licenses drivers; and maintains driver records.

The Illinois Secretary of State's Office may provide more direct services to citizens than any other public agency in the nation, and since White took office, many are now available over the Web.

White is also the state librarian, and oversees the Illinois State Library and literacy programs. As the state archivist, he maintains records of legal or historic value, and spearheaded a new library initiative geared toward "setting at-risk youth on the road to success."

Dubbed "Project Next Generation," the initiative combines education, technology and mentoring to improve life skills and technological know-how of junior-high-aged children. Through numerous library sites in the state, sixth- through ninth-grade students have the opportunity to learn to use the Internet, scanners and digital cameras.

"Today's 13-year-olds will work in jobs that don't exist now," said White. "In their generation, technology will be a necessary means of communication, as well as a vital tool in their search for employment. By empowering students with technology and interpersonal skills, Illinois libraries will positively influence the next generation."

For more than a decade, White has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to harnessing technology to provide better service to citizens. Before taking office as secretary of state, he was recorder of deeds in Cook County, Ill. In the nation's second largest recorder's office, White spearheaded an officewide automation program that brought state-of-the-art technology to facilitate new services, allow easier access to records and speed the recording process.

In 1995, the Cook County Recorder's Office linked its files via computer with those of the DuPage County Recorder's Office, reportedly marking the first time two counties linked their offices through computer access.

-- Blake Harris, contributing editor

Judi Zito


Miami-Dade County, Fla.

Judi Zito has been CIO for less than a year, but she's been around Miami-Dade government for 21 years. She was previously director of Miami-Dade's e-Government Department, and was appointed to that position in January 2002. She managed the county's Web portal, GIS, countywide information systems development and maintenance activities, and the supporting application architecture.

Zito initiated several projects to transform the way residents and businesses interact with Miami-Dade government online -- including a centralized payment