California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the appointment of Teresa (Teri) M. Takai as the state chief information officer.

"Two years ago, I introduced my Strategic Growth Plan to rebuild and improve California's crumbling infrastructure," said Schwarzenegger, "but our state's infrastructure isn't limited to the physical roads, bridges and levees that need repair. We also have to expand and improve California's technology to meet our future needs. Teri is the perfect person to do that. She has over 30 years of experience in this field and possesses the vision necessary to make our great state a leader in the effective use of information technology."

Takai has served as director of the Michigan Department of Information Technology (MDIT) since 2003, and also serves as the state's chief information officer. In this position, she has restructured and consolidated Michigan's resources by merging the state's information technology into one centralized department to service 19 agencies and over 1,700 employees. Additionally, during her tenure at the MDIT, Takai has led the state to being ranked number one four years in a row in digital government by the Center for Digital Government.

Prior to going into state service, Takai worked for the Ford Motor Company for 30 years, where she led the development of the company's information technology strategic plan. Takai also held positions in technology at EDS and Federal-Mogul Corp. She is past president of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers and currently serves as practitioner chair of the Harvard Policy Group on Network-Enabled Services and Government. Takai was named "Public Official of the Year" by Governing magazine in 2005.

Takai, 59, of Detroit, earned a Master of Arts degree in management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $175,000, according to a release from the Governor's Office. Takai is a Democrat.

Kenneth D. Theis, deputy director for the Michigan Department of Information Technology will step into the Michigan CIO post vacated by Takai.

Transition

Takai discussed the transition with Government Technology.

GT: What do you consider to be your most important accomplishments in Michigan?

Takai: I think first and foremost would be establishing a consolidated IT department in Michigan that is closely aligned with the Governor's objectives and aligned with the business needs of all the agencies. I am proud that we have been able to use technology to improve the way citizens in Michigan interact with their state government while at the same time reducing the cost of ... technology for the services that we provide. Finally, I am pleased with the success we have had in reaching out beyond the boundaries of state government by partnering with local government and private partners to bring improved services to the citizens.

GT: You worked very closely with Governor Granholm in Michigan. How important was that to your success there, and do you believe that will translate well into to how California's IT is managed?

Takai: The success of any state government IT organization is really only as good as the organization's relationship with the business objectives of the state. Here in Michigan, we've been successful in linking IT to the business objectives of the state. Governor Schwarzenegger has an

Wayne Hanson  |  Editor: Government Technology International