Peter Collins Named Texas CIO of the Year

AUSTIN, Texas - Peter Collins, CIO of Austin, was named Texas CIO of the Year in a ceremony held at the 19th Annual Government Technology Conference (GTC) Southwest in January. The award, presented jointly by GTC and the Texas Department of Information Resources, honored Collins for his project management skills and his collaboration with partners throughout the region.

For Collins, the award is one in a string of kudos in recent years, including four awards for leadership and project excellence in the 2007 Best of Texas awards, a program run by the Center for Digital Government.

"What I'm most proud of is the folks I've worked with over

the years," Collins said in an interview after the event. "It's because of their dedication, hard work and trust in me as being a leader through this, and embracing the way I see things need to be done. If I never had the support of the Fire, EMS, Police, Sheriff's Department, I wouldn't be sitting here."

All award nominees were recognized for a job well done. Runners-up included: Shareen Addison, Information Resource Manager for the Department of Disability and Aging Services; Steve Chen, CIO of the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College; Victor Gonzalez, deputy assistant commissioner for Administrative Services for the Texas Department of Agriculture; Dee Meador, IT director of the Texas Workforce Commission; Richard Reynolds, CTO of Bee Cave; and Collin County IT Director Caren Skipworth.

- Emily Montandon, associate editor

Governor to CIOs: Don't Give Up

AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Rick Perry urged public-sector technology professionals to press for innovation despite the sometimes plodding pace of government in opening remarks for the 19th annual GTC Southwest.

"I know a lot of you are swimming upstream when it comes to getting your ideas across. Never accept the status quo," Perry told state and local government IT workers gathered there in late January for the four-day event. Perry said CIOs, IT managers and other technology workers have a difficult but vital task.

"Government is not normally what you think of as agile and fast-moving. But don't give up on implementing your ideas," he said. "You'll grasp the importance of technology before anyone else in your agency."

Perry called innovation a cornerstone of his efforts to keep Texas economically competitive and responsive to the needs of citizens. He pointed to the December launch of the Governor's Competitiveness Council, created to identify impediments to global competitiveness and make recommendations for how Texas can improve its economic footing for long-term success.

State and local government IT professionals will play a vital role in these initiatives by helping public institutions work smarter, and by supporting technology-related projects that draw top business and research talent to the state. Further advancements depend on IT officials' ability to make the case for new technologies and persevere in the face of opposition or bureaucratic gridlock.

"You're the prophets in your organization. Embrace that title and the responsibilities that come with it," Perry said. "Realize what you do really matters. You make a difference." - Steve Towns, editor