West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced the appointment of longtime state servant and technologist John Dunlap to one of the state’s leading C-suite roles Jan. 30. Dunlap will replace CTO Gale Given, who has served in the post since 2012. Given's last day was Jan. 26.
The newly minted CTO has served more than 30 years in state government and said he hopes his experiences to this point will help him to better West Virginia’s overall quality of life with technology.
Prior to his appointment as state CTO, Dunlap served as the West Virginia Office of Technology's director of infrastructure, and formerly served as the network manager for the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.
“I’ve been in information technology for 30-plus years. I am a 32-year vet of working in state government, so I have the advantage of understanding state government, how it operates from a budget perspective and from a daily operations perspective," Dunlap told Government Technology. "I hope by having that internal knowledge that we can look at where we can gain efficiencies, such as through consolidation efforts."
Dunlap said one of the first orders of business will be to look at how to optimize efficiencies through potential consolidation efforts. From software contracts to administrative and operational overhead, he said there are opportunities to scale back and centralize state efforts.
Though the state consolidated some of its IT resources in 2006, Dunlap said there are still areas worth focusing on.
“There are a multitude of software maintenance contracts we can consolidate, there are still several agency data centers I think we can consolidate,” he explained. “Also, there are various print shop and mail room operations that I think we can gain so much efficiency by consolidating and cutting the administrative overhead that goes with day-to-day operations such as that.”
Drawing from his early conversations about the governor’s priorities, Dunlap said creating jobs, empowering education and bolstering tourism rank high on the administration’s to-do list. He is hopeful he will be able to play his part in assisting those efforts with technology.
“Of course, technology can play a big role in that,” Dunlap said. “We’ve got to find a way to do things better, more cost-efficient and I think especially with job creation, technology is a way to do that, to show that the state of West Virginia has a lot to offer.”
In the long term, he will be looking for other opportunities to reduce redundancy and maximize state services under financial limitations.
“We need to deploy better, more efficient enterprise solutions that all state government benefits from, that we don’t spend repetitive dollars [on],” he said. “I’ll be honest with you, one of the things I’m looking at right now is cost containment. Everyone in today’s time is expected to do more with less. Again, I want to ensure that we maximize the resources we have. If we have dollars that we are spending them wisely. If we have personnel resources, we’re using them effectively and efficiently.”