February 29, 2008 By Jim Meyers
Becoming CIO of the Florida House of Representatives in November 2006 was like coming full circle for Scott McPherson, a Florida native who was elected to the House at age 25. Since then, he's been a legislator, political consultant, technology expert and disaster recovery authority.
McPherson has been a technology and communications consultant for 19 years, and has written a weekly technology column that's appeared in numerous major newspapers. He was also director of IT for the Republican Party of Florida. He led the state's Y2K preparedness effort, which was the largest IT project in Florida's history, and won several awards. He led the state's successful revitalization of its partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. He headed the state's cyber-security effort, and then was appointed CIO of the Florida Department of Corrections.
Now in addition to being CIO for the Florida House, McPherson is nationally recognized as an expert in preparedness for influenza pandemics.
Obviously McPherson also likes working in government. "To me, it's a very rewarding experience - the fact that we're able to actually implement change, implement efficiencies, and try to help people."
That desire to help motivated him to learn as much as possible about influenza pandemics. "Something inside of me said, 'I'm an expert in disaster recovery. I'm an expert in contingency planning. I just ran one of the largest projects in the state's history. I can certainly understand and recognize when there's a risk,'" McPherson said. It's a risk he felt compelled to investigate. His blog on the subject, is a key resource for many.
Should a pandemic occur, IT continuity would be a huge factor, McPherson said. Much of society depends on digital technology. "If you have any disruption in that ability to move those ones and zeroes in cyber-space, you're going to have a calamity," he said.
Although he's accomplished a lot, McPherson is most proud of the Y2K success, knowledge from which has helped Florida's efforts in information security, homeland security and pandemic preparedness. It's symbolic of McPherson's career. He's done many things over the years, but they all fit together.
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