Nevada Appoints CIO Shannon Rahming

The state's newest IT leader is looking for chances to collaborate as she keeps Nevada's several large, multi-year modernization projects moving.

by / October 16, 2015

The recently appointed Nevada CIO Shannon Rahming is leading big projects across the state and looking for chances to collaborate. Rahming took over as interim CIO in March after the departure of David Gustafson, and lost her interim status on Oct. 8 to become the official replacement. Upgrades to statewide systems, broadband, healthcare and education are among the items on Rahming's agenda.

One of the biggest projects now undertaken by the state is the launch of multi-year modernization for several criminal justice systems, she said.

"We are doing a lot of application stuff, refreshing our internal applications. From the network standpoint, we're putting out a new microwave system to put the new radios in for emergency management that the FCC is requiring," Rahming said.

The state is also upgrading its network backbone to allow greater bandwidth across Silvernet, Nevada's intrastate network. Large microwave towers stationed among the mountains allow government to supply more rural areas with access, but the upgrade will bring greater connectivity to where the bulk of its users reside.

"We're also working on disaster recovery, like everyone else, and continuity of operations," Rahming said.

In the event the state's Carson City mainframe becomes inaccessible, Rahming's office is making arrangements to keep welfare applications and health and human services applications operational by routing them through an alternate mainframe in Las Vegas.

"I think a big portion of the job certainly is to keep the existing stuff working," Rahming said. "But a part of what I believe my job is is to collaborate, not only within the state of Nevada with our employees, but also with other industries within the state of Nevada."

Collaboration has been a trend throughout her career, Rahming said. Before joining the Office of Administration, she spent 11 years with the Nevada System of Higher Education, first with the University of Nevada, Reno, and then as a business analyst for Truckee Meadows Community College. Working with others guarantees the best product possible, she said.

"I think it's very important because we have limited resources, and so if somebody else in a different agency has a large grant, then you can utilize their money and you have the expertise. If you can collaborate, you can get more done," she said.

Recalling her time in education, Rahming cited a project in which collaboration was integral to their success. Seven institutions developed student information systems using Oracle's PeopleSoft platform. By working collaboratively across institutions, the team developed documentation, training and student information standards, and made project decisions.

Beyond keeping things running, Rahming cited the fields of broadband and cybersecurity as being of chief interest to her.

"I'm very interested in broadband, specifically what it can do for health and human services, emergency management and education, especially with healthcare," she said. "We have very rural areas in Nevada and so if we could do some telehealth with them if they don't have care providers that are close to them, if we could help them electronically or on the phone, I think that would be great."

Like many states, Nevada is partners with the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MSISAC), and Rahming says she wants to go beyond just preventing cybercrime by also holding cyberoffenders accountable for their crimes.

"I'm very excited to be here," Rahming said, "and very honored and privileged and look forward to serving the citizens of the state."

Colin Wood former staff writer

Colin wrote for Government Technology from 2010 through most of 2016.