IT leaders of California government joined at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento, Calif., from Feb. 25 to 26 to network, listen to talks on public IT administration, and to be recognized for their leadership and dedication to technology in government.

The California Public Sector CIO Academy 2014 concluded with an award ceremony in which two individuals were given awards for CTO of the Year, two were recognized with Hall of Fame awards for their careers, and 30 more individuals were awarded with a California CIO Academy IT Leadership Award.

The CTO of the Year Awards went to Richard Rogers, chief of the Infrastructure Services Division of the Employment Development Department (EDD), and to Barney Gomez, CTO for the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

Rogers was recognized for his leadership overseeing one of the state’s largest computing and network infrastructures. Rogers led a massive infrastructure change since 2008 that responded to budget constraints and a need to serve a record number of unemployment and disability applicants.

Such changes to his agency’s infrastructure include the addition of the Automated Collection and Enhancement System (ACES) in 2011, an integrated replacement for a segmented legacy system dating back to 1986. He oversaw the deployment of a new client database in 2011 that replaced a 30-year-old system; the Disability Insurance Automation Project in 2012 that allows customers, medical providers and employers to submit claims and associated data through an online system; and the UI Modernization Project in 2011, a new and integrated continuing claims system for the Unemployment Insurance call center staff and users.

Rogers led a migration of critical systems to a new data center, and played a key role in designing the architecture for the department’s centralized document imaging center.

In 2013, Rogers oversaw the deployment of an enterprise-wide identity management system that supports concurrent access by 45,000 customers. Rogers is frequently called upon to participate in statewide initiatives such as enterprise procurements, and statewide shared solutions.

Gomez was also awarded CTO of the Year for his work overseeing more than 600 IT staff and the technology of a department with 8,000 total employees as CTO and Assistant Deputy Director of the IT Services Division of the Department of Health Care Services. Gomez was a key figure in many large projects, including such consolidation projects as the absorption of the California Department of Mental Health, and the Department of Alcohol and Drug Program IT operations and systems.

Gomez changed the culture of DHCS by encouraging staff members to search for innovative solutions that would improve service, make operations more efficient, and reduce costs. Under Gomez’s leadership, the position vacancy rate in his agency fell from 7.1 percent to 3.9 percent in 2013. Gomez oversaw the adoption of service virtualization, lowering costs and reducing risk for the department. A new capacity management system to allow infrastructure and applications to be comprehensively reviewed was also among his achievements.

Under his leadership, the department saw a consolidation of its email system into the California Email System, new cloud services, the retirement of aging SAN storage for mission critical applications, the deployment of network access control, virtual desktops, and the deployment of the Every Woman Counts mobile app, an app with health and wellness tools for the public.

Though his efforts, Gomez also reduced enterprise debt of the department by approximately $1 million in three years. He projects that over the next three years, he will be able to save the department an additional $2.8 million.

Two Hall of Fame awards were also given. One went to Carlos Zamarripa, a retired official for the Franchise Tax Board who served as director for the Tax Systems Modernization Bureau, project director for Enterprise Data to Revenue Project, and project deputy director for the California Child Support Automation System.

Zamarripa’s 35-year career assisted in managing taxes for one of the world’s largest economies and transforming the state’s child support system. 

The second Hall of Fame Award went to Clark Kelso, a receiver for California Correctional Health Care Services. Kelso has more than 15 years’ experience in all three branches of government, including service to the California Judicial Council and Administrative Office of the Courts, where he worked in support of court unification; the Department of Insurance, where he replaced Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush, who abruptly resigned amid allegations of corruption; and as California's CIO, where he turned around the state's troubled information technology program.

Kelso has a reputation for independence, integrity and commitment to his work as a change maker in government.

California’s government is large and among it, 30 more individuals were recognized for IT leadership. They are:

  • Trevor Bailey, Systems Software Specialist III, Department of Human Resources, Information Technology Division
  • Nick Dressler, Manager, Corrections Applications Solutions, CDCR, EIS
  • Bertha MacDonald, Senior Information System Analyst (Supervisory), Infrastructure Management Unit, CDCR, EIS
  • Jason Chapman, Senior Information System Analyst (Supervisory), Desktop and Preproduction Support Unit, CDCR, EIS
  • Sara Mitchell, Technology Services Section Chief, State Controller’s Office
  • Kristine Dudley, Assistant Deputy Director, SAWS Consortia Management, Office of Systems Integration
  • Patty Lower, DPM III – EBT Asst. Project Director, Office of Systems Integration: Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), Office of Systems Integration
  • Steven Smith, Systems Software Specialist II Supervisor, Department of Health Care Services Information Technology Services Division
  • Skip Campbell, Chief, Systems Development and Support Branch, Air Resources Board, Office of Information Services
  • Cathy MacRae, Chief, Operations and Support Branch, Air Resources Board, Office of Information Services
  • Jan Yoshioka, Data Processing Manager II, Application Development Manager, EDD, Information Technology Branch
  • Martha Ruiz, Data Processing Manager II, Lottery
  • Roger Scott    Manager, Business Intelligence & Data Services, FTB
  • Margaret McCormick, Manager, Development Team, FTB
  • Jared Johnson, Manager, Network Operations, FTB
  • Thom Pryor, Manager, Specialized Systems Development, Information Services, Department of Finance
  • Susan Davis-James, Chief, Information Technology Consulting Unit, Department of Finance
  • Olaf VanArdenne, Chief of Client Technology Services, Department of Water Resources
  • Phil Minas, Chief Information Officer, Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Teresa Gonzalez, Staff Information Systems Analyst, Department of Water Resources
  • Don Davis, Senior Technical Lead, California Natural Resources Agency
  • Hsiao-Hua Huang, CAD Technical Lead, CalFire
  • Cheryl Dobbins, Data Processing Manager III, Department Health Care Services
  • Merry Lee Croslin, Data Processing Manager II, Department Health Care Services
  • Lorenza Pennington, Data Processing Manager III, Department Health Care Services
  • Ben Word, Chief Enterprise Architect, Department Health Care Services
  • Cynthia Guest, Data Processing Manage IV Information, Technology Management Branch, Department of Health Care Services
  • Deepa Pochirju, DPM II, Department of Health Care Services, Office of HIPAA Compliance
  • Dason McJimsey, Data Processing Manager III, California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), Information Technology Services Branch
  • Chris Riesen, Assistant Division Chief Technology, Information & Business Advancement, California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), Information Technology Services Branch