President Bush wasn't the only one to leave Washington on Jan. 20. Karen Evans, administrator of the Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), officially ended a long career in government on the same day. Sometimes referred to as the Feds' unofficial CIO or e-gov czar, Evans was in fact a results-oriented IT administrator who had the sometimes impossible task of improving how the world's largest government deployed IT.
Evans did not consolidate data centers, launch spiffy Web sites or announce new customer-oriented online applications. Instead, she improved government by enforcing an enterprise architecture for government IT and setting standards that streamlined how workers identified themselves on the vast networks of government.
Perhaps most importantly, Evans insisted that federal CIOs and agencies justify or jettison redundant IT systems, almost a novelty, given the profligate and wasteful ways of spending inside the Washington Beltway.
Prior to becoming OMB's e-gov administrator, Evans had been CIO for the Department of Energy and was the director, Information Resources Management Division for the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.
In all, Evans worked for the federal government for more than 25 years, with her most lasting legacy coming in the final eight years at OMB. As Wyatt Kash, editor of Government Computer News, pointed out in his profile of Evans, she had one of the most miniscule IT staffs in the vast federal bureaucracy, but probably accomplished more than most.
Now, as Evans leaves, we await her successor, along with the nation's first federal CTO. The times are changing.