California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, won the IT Champion accolade at the CIO Academy Awards in Sacramento, Calif., Feb. 26. Kennedy joked about her ignorance of the technical details of IT, but she was instrumental in making state IT a major agenda item for Schwarzenegger, according to Teri Takai, CIO of California.

"You are all beneficiaries of what she did behind the scenes," Takai told the audience of state IT employees.

Famously recalled former California Gov. Gray Davis appointed Kennedy to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in 2003. Kennedy said that at the CPUC she "discovered a love of IT." The former-CPUC official revised several of what she considered antiquated IT regulations afflicting the telecommunications industry. When Schwarzenegger appointed her chief of staff in 2005, she brought her interest in IT with her.

"It was embarrassing that we had such an antiquated IT infrastructure in the state, yet we lead the world in so many ways," Kennedy told the crowd.

The event capped a two-day conference called CIO Academy aiming to educate state and local government IT professionals.


Video: Susan Kennedy is honored as the 2009 Technology Champion!

Andy Opsahl  | 

Andy Opsahl is a former writer and features editor for Government Technology magazine.