Former DoD CIO Teri Takai to Lead Center for Digital Government

Takai brings unique skills and experience to her new role as CDG’s executive director.

by / August 2, 2017
Former U.S. Department of Defense CIO Teri Takai says her new role as executive director for the Center for Digital Government gives her a chance to help state, city and county IT leaders succeed in a time of extraordinary change and opportunity. AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke

Teri Takai, former CIO for the U.S. Department of Defense and two of the nation’s largest states, will lead the Center for Digital Government (CDG)*, e.Republic’s national research and advisory institute on IT policy and best practices for state and local governments.

Takai brings unique skills and experience to her new role as CDG’s executive director. As the first female CIO for the DoD, she spearheaded efforts to consolidate technology infrastructure and create a cybersecurity workforce strategy at the federal government’s largest agency. Prior to her federal service, Takai led state government technology offices in California and Michigan.

“Teri’s deep experience will be a huge asset to the Center for Digital Government,” says Cathilea Robinett, president of e.Republic*. “Her insight into technology and government is unparalleled. There’s no one better qualified to help state and local governments as they continue to deploy digital services to serve the public.”

CDG is best known for its Digital States Survey, which has graded state governments on their use of technology to increase efficiency and improve services since 1998. CDG also conducts annual Digital Cities and Digital Counties surveys — which benchmark technological progress in local government — and advises governments and private companies on effective use of technology in the public sector.

Takai says the new role gives her a chance to help state, city and county IT leaders succeed in a time of extraordinary change and opportunity. Cloud-based technology platforms and applications give IT leaders unprecedented flexibility, she says, but they also trigger new demands.

“We’re rapidly leaving the world where CIOs owned their technology — and could only transform at the rate they could change their physical environment,” she said. “Now there are so many innovative options that support rapid technology evolution. But doing this right requires effective leadership, relationships and change management.”

Over her career, Takai built a reputation as one of government IT’s premier change agents.

She was an early proponent of merging multiple data centers and reducing the amount of redundant technology equipment typically operated by large government organizations. Serving as CIO of Michigan from 2003 to 2007, Takai reduced the number of state data centers from 38 to three and created a centralized IT department — changes that saved the state millions of dollars. In California, Takai launched a massive reorganization and consolidation of the state’s IT organization — an effort that included reforming procurement, governance and strategy.

In addition to her government service, Takai was CIO of Meridian Health Plan, a Detroit-based health insurer, and spent 30 years at Ford Motor Company in strategic planning and global application development. She will continue to serve on the board of FirstNet, the national public safety broadband effort, in addition to her new role with CDG.

Takai succeeds longtime CDG Executive Director Todd Sander, who left in July to become CIO of the Lower Colorado River Authority in Texas.

“I intend to continue the great work that the Center did under Todd,” says Takai, a former Governing* Public Official of the Year and Government Technology Top 25 Doer, Dreamer and Driver. “I’m really looking forward to working with city, county and state colleagues, as well as our industry partners during this exciting time of digital transformation.”

*The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, which also is the parent company of Government Technology and Governing magazines.

Steve Towns

Steve Towns is the former editor of Government Technology, and former executive editor for e.Republic Inc., publisher of GOVERNING, Government TechnologyPublic CIO and Emergency Management magazines. He has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at newspapers and magazines, including more than 15 years of covering technology in the state and local government market. Steve now serves as the Deputy Chief Content Officer for e.Republic.