On Jan. 15, 2013, Washington Governor-Elect Jay Inslee named Michael Cockrill as the state’s new CIO, replacing Bharat Shyam, who resigned in December.
"Michael Cockrill is a fantastic choice to be the next CIO of Washington state," said Shyam, who is assisting in the new CIO's transition. "It sets up a new tradition of people from the Seattle area technology community going into public service and contributing to making our society better."
Cockrill, a technology entrepreneur, has had a successful career in Seattle’s tech start-ups -- he co-founded the photo-sharing site PhotoRocket and Atlas Networks, which provides Triple-Play services to consumers and small business, according to a press release from Inslee's office. He also was a key member of the executive team of Qpass Corp., a pioneering company in the field of mobile commerce, and has held management positions with Microsoft. Cockrill currently is an associate partner at Auxin Partners, a Woodinville, Wash., firm that works to commercialize intellectual property portfolios.
"Michael’s experience creating and building companies shows he understands how to marshal innovation and deliver on the promise of technology,” Inslee said in a prepared statement. “With the rapid pace of technological change, we need someone like Michael who understands that change without substantive improvement won’t advance our efforts to make government more efficient, effective and transparent.”
Cockrill brings a deep knowledge of technology and software and how they interact with people, Shyam said. "He asks a lot of great questions and digs deep, is skilled in understanding and applying technology, and is a great communicator."
Cockrill begins on Jan. 23, 2013.
As CIO for Washington state, Cockrill will oversee the state’s strategic vision for IT, a key part of Inslee's efforts to bring fundamental change to state government, and is responsible for evaluating state agencies’ IT spending, establishing IT standards across state government, and evaluating major technology projects.
"I have had the rare opportunity to spend several hours with my predecessor in this role, Bharat Shyam," Cockrill said. "It is clear to me that I am ‘standing on the shoulders of giants.’ For the last 13 months, Bharat has been a great asset to the state. My first goal will be to continue the work that he has started as I come to an independent understanding of needs of the role."
Jessica Mulholland served as the Web editor of Government Technology magazine from October 2012 through September 2017. She worked for the Government Technology editorial team for nearly 10 years.