The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has presented the State of California CIO and past NASCIO President Teri Takai, with its prestigious Meritorious Service Award.

NASCIO created this annual award to spotlight a state CIO who has exemplified outstanding service, advocacy, and leadership in state government. Meritorious Service Award recipients consistently champion the vision, mission and principles of NASCIO. Meritorious Service Award recipients are nominated by their state CIO peers and selected by NASCIO's Executive Committee.

"There's nobody more deserving of the NASCIO Meritorious Service Award than Teri Takai," stated Michigan CIO Ken Theis. "Having worked beside Teri on a daily basis here in Michigan, I have seen firsthand her extreme dedication to the job and her passion for service. She put Michigan on the national map when it comes to information technology. Her strong leadership and vision puts California in very good hands."

Takai has been an active member of NASCIO since 2003. She has chaired numerous committees and has held the position of NASCIO vice president and president.

In 2003, Takai was appointed director of information technology reporting directly to the governor. Although she was new to the public sector she quickly mastered the ability to deal with political realities and work effectively within state government. Takai led the government-wide IT consolidation which was the largest departmental transformation in Michigan's history saving the state $100 million. This initiative consolidated 19 separate IT organizations into a single state enterprise IT function that supports 19 agencies, 800 critical business applications, and over 54,000 desktop computers distributed across over 1,300 locations. Takai led the state to being ranked number one four years in a row in digital government by the Center for Digital Government. And, during her tenure, the state of Michigan consistently carried away multiple NASCIO Annual Recognition Awards.

Her stature as a public official increased steadily as she continued to cut costs while expanding IT services for Michigan. VARBusiness magazine named Takai to their 2005 list of "The Top 50 People, Trends, Technologies, Innovations and Projects in Government You Should Know." Her accomplishments and peer respect brought her to the attention of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who brought Takai on board as California's first statewide cabinet level CIO.

"We are so pleased to have Teri in California leading the charge to help overhaul our technology infrastructure, and I congratulate her for being honored with the NASCIO Meritorious Service Award," said Schwarzenegger. "As we find new ways to improve how Californians obtain information, services and interact with their state government, we need strong leadership and vision. Teri Takai has more than 30 years of experience in the field and has what it takes to keep our great state a leader in technology."