California Public Sector CIO Academy Recognizes Top IT Leaders

The annual awards ceremony recognized achievements of the greatest public IT leaders in one of the largest and most influential economies in the nation.

by , / February 25, 2015
2015 California Public Sector CIO Academy Awards e.Republic/Jason Shueh

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- At this year's California Public Sector CIO Academy, government IT leaders gathered at the Sheraton Grand Hotel to address policy, management and leadership issues surrounding the future of digital government and the role of the public-sector CIO.

Along with sessions on everything from building relationships with elected officials to recruiting and maintaining millennials, was an award ceremony in which 47 individuals were recognized for their excellence in government IT management.

The CIO of the Year award was presented to Liana Bailey-Crimmins of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), while Kevin Piombo of the Office of Technology Services (OTech) Engineering Division received the CTO of the Year award. And for his more than 35 years of service to the state, Joe Panora of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was presented the Dedication and Service Award.


The CIO of the Year award was presented to Liana Bailey-Crimmins of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Photo by Jason Shueh

Since Bailey-Crimmins joined CalPERS in August 2013, she has achieved what officials called “extraordinary results.” Her arrival followed a decade-long project that integrated 109 systems under one platform that marked a transition for the organization.

"There are moments in your career that you have to stop and cherish," she said when accepting the honor, "and I have to say that this is one of those moments."

Bailey-Crimmins also was honored for launching a new strategic planning effort – the ITSB Journey of Excellence – that included more than 60 staff members who defined IT goals that would refocus the organization. An Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Roadmap assisted the department’s intranet transition, and a new Business Intelligence Program brought software dashboard and analytics, while an Information Security Roadmap enhanced the department’s cybersecurity stance. Bailey-Crimmins was recognized not just for her achievements in the 640- employee department, but also for having accomplished them in just one year.

"I was fortunate to have a team that wanted to embark on a journey of excellence with me," Bailey-Crimmins said at the ceremony. "They are ready to transform and ready to make a difference. I believe that delivering technology is the easy part of our job. Success is about people, and at CalPERS, we use that kind of success every day."

OTech's Piombo was acknowledged for his executive leadership over the successful California Email Service (CES), now recognized as one of the leading cloud email systems in the nation with more than 160,000 email boxes.

"I want recognize the OTech team," he said when accepting his award. "We have a tremendous team of people, whether it's our executive team, our management team or our technical staff, people that are extremely talented, extremely dedicated, that come to work everyday and want to do the best that they can for our customers and the state of California."

Piombo was also recognized for his dedication to customer service, which reshaped his agency’s storage solution contracts and saved on data center operations costs. For taking a human-centered approach that places the needs of both customers and employees prominently on the list of priorities, officials commended Piombo.

"I hope this is a team award," he added, "because it takes a lot of people to accomplish what we've done."

And Panora's faithful dedication to California state government was acknowledged via the Dedication and Service Award. Over his 35 years of service, Panora worked at Caltrans, the Franchise Tax Board, Employment Development Department, State Controller’s Office, California Youth Authority and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, having served as Enterprise Information Services director of the latter since 2008.

Panora managed an overall annual operating budget that exceeded $9 billion, including an IT project portfolio of $900 million. From overseeing the development of a financial management solution (ERP), a business information systems project (BIS), and a statewide automated online inmate visitation appointment scheduling system, Panora’s great contributions to the state have been many and varied.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Feb. 27 to correct the number of IT employees at CalPERS and to clarify Bailey-Crimmins' involvement with an integration project.

Colin Wood former staff writer

Colin wrote for Government Technology from 2010 through most of 2016.

Jason Shueh former staff writer

Jason Shueh is a former staff writer for Government Technology magazine.