September 27, 2004 By Tod Newcombe
"George Newstrom has led the most far-reaching reform in state government -- reforming how we use and purchase information technology," said Warner. "He brought a private sector philosophy to an area of state government desperately in need of some private sector solutions."
Newstrom has been responsible for the state's IT reform efforts, including the consolidation of all IT services and IT employees in the commonwealth into a single agency. He has also led Virginia's efforts to energize economic development as it relates to IT. Warner also announced today one of the largest IT jobs programs ever, when IBM agreed to create 1,250 consultant jobs in Northern Virginia. The jobs are for IBM's public sector unit.
Newstrom said the time was right for him to leave. "We established a plan to reform IT and we're executing that plan," he said. "We have the organization and legislation in place. CIT [Center for Innovative Technology] is in good shape and will hopefully continue to grow under the direction of [director] Peter Jobse. We now have a world-class IT operation with other states and countries looking at what we have accomplished."
Warner also announced that Secretary Newstrom would be succeeded by Deputy Secretary Eugene Huang, who has served at that position for three years. "Eugene's vision, leadership and management skills will continue to be invaluable to our technology efforts throughout the Commonwealth," said Warner.
"George leaves big shoes to fill, but we must continue the reform efforts that began under him," said Huang.
Huang emphasized that state IT reform will be completed in two phases. The first phase primarily deals with IT consolidation and is well underway. Altogether, it will take 18 months to complete. The second phase will focus on government transformation, involving enterprise solutions and extensive integration. "The goal is to empower government," he said.
During Newstrom's tenure, the state of Virginia received numerous citations and awards for its achievements in government and technology. In the Digital States Survey, sponsored by the Center for Digital Government, the commonwealth went from 21st best to 3rd best in three years, according to Cathilea Robinett, executive director. "They are an excellent example of how a state can excel when it comes to using technology," she said.
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