Suma Nallapati Suma Nallapati, Colorado's new CTO Facebook/Colorado OIT

Colorado Chief Information Officer and Secretary of Technology Kristin Russell has a new secret weapon, and her name is Suma Nallapati.

With 17 years of experience working in technology fields, and a master’s degree in nuclear physics, Nallapati entered the public sector for the first time on Feb. 24, taking on the state's chief technology officer role.

Nallapati said she’s excited to apply her skills and knowledge to a position of public service for the state, especially because it’s something she has wanted to do since she was a child growing up in India.

“My dad, who’s my hero, he was in the public sector all his life, he served the people of his state in a similar role,” Nallapati explained. “So I was very motivated with the sense of gratitude that people showed with everything that he did; he came home extremely satisfied with what he was doing, and that motivated me from a very young age to do something that’s meaningful to people, that has an impact on people.”

Previously, Nallapati was assistant vice president of service delivery for Catholic Health Initiatives, a not-for profit health system where she helped patients through her work.

“My specialization is in radiation physics and isotope technology and we had a lot of projects around nuclear medicine, especially as related to cancer,” she explained. “Nuclear medicine is used in treating cancer, especially the throat cancer studies we were doing at that time, so I was again very passionate about helping through medicine and education. I think nuclear medicine is extremely powerful.”

And now in Colorado, she said she hopes to support the work that Russell has been doing -- and to help all citizens.

“Secretary Russell is a visionary. I hope to develop her vision,” she said. "She has the technology roadmap in place. It’s a matter of acting on it and increasing government’s effectiveness and efficiency when it comes to technology.”

Having only been on the job a few days, Nallapati said she is still getting her bearings, but within 30 days, she will map out a strategy for her plans in Colorado. The technology areas that interest her most, she said, are the big trends of social media, mobile computing, data analytics and cloud computing. “It’s important,” she said of technology. “You have to take the best of everything and create a value stream for your customers.”

When it comes to work, Nallapati said she’s passionate about collaboration and breaking down silos to “get things done.”

“Leadership should be about empowering your employees to give their best,” she said. “I believe in empowering your teams to do their best; you’ll get leaders from every corner, and you’ll be surprised.”

Colin Wood Colin Wood  |  Staff Writer

Colin has been writing for Government Technology since 2010. He lives in Seattle with his wife and their dog. He can be reached at cwood@govtech.com and on Google+.