One of the most respected names among big-city technology officers in the country will depart her post for the private sector.
Archana Vemulapalli, chief technology officer for Washington, D.C., announced Nov. 28 that she will depart her post for the private sector in early January 2018. Officials in Washington did not disclose where Vemulapalli is heading, or what her new role will be.
“She doesn’t have that ironed out,” said Christina Harper, a project manager for the Office of the Chief Technology Officer in Washington. “Only that it will be a return to the private sector.”
Vemulapalli, who started as D.C. CTO in early 2016, first made the announcement in a letter to her staff.
“OCTO is in a position of strength, all due to your hard work and commitment. You each have a responsibility to continue to lead by example, to nurture and protect what is good at OCTO, and to remember that our business is to leverage technology to make the government more resilient, efficient, effective and transparent,” she wrote.
“I leave OCTO with great confidence in the people here, knowing that you are and always have been immensely capable of achieving great heights and overcoming any hurdles that will come up, singularly, and more importantly, together,” Vemulapalli added. Her final day will be Jan. 5, 2018.
Before Washington, Vemulapalli served as CTO at the facility management company Pristine Environments. Vemulapalli’s arrival in D.C., where she was replacing Tegene Baharu as CTO, coincided with the district’s push for a new open data policy, a call for a chief data officer and a renewed commitment to civic engagement.
“During Archana’s tenure, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer launched SmarterDC establishing the district globally as a leading smart city, as well as ensuring the district’s long-term cybersecurity,” said Kevin Donahue, deputy city administrator, in a statement. “As a champion for diversity in technology, we look forward to Archana continuing to actively lend her voice to promoting inclusion in the field.”
Some of Vemulapalli's achievments include leading the Council of Global City CIOs with New York City CIO Miguel Gamiño. The group was created to build a body of resources, such as a smart city model and a broadband expansion plan, and share it with city leaders of the world.
Most recently, under Vemulapalli’s leadership, the district became a lead East Coast city for the Startup in Residence (STiR) program, which brings in tech entrepreneurs to work directly with government. Often, said Vemulapalli, the private and public sectors are faced with similar challenges and can work toward solutions in a spirit of collaboration.
Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Sacramento.