State CIOs: Meet the Class of 2015

A dozen states appointed new CIOs this year and in late 2014 -- here’s a look who they are and how they’re settling in.

by , , / August 28, 2015

Thanks to administration changes, retirements and new legislation, a dozen states appointed new CIOs this year and in late 2014. It’s a group that includes few true outsiders. Most of these new IT chiefs — but not all of them — have been in government before, and many bring a mix of public- and private-sector experience to the job. They’ll confront a wide range of issues, from modernizing core systems to promoting innovative new platforms and services. Of course, all of this will be done through a lens of securing information assets from ever more frequent and sophisticated cyberattacks.

Here’s a look at the members of this new class of public CIOs and how they’re settling in. 

Maryland: David Garcia / Going mobile-first

Bringing more than 20 years of experience in technical and management positions, David Garcia took on the role of Maryland’s secretary of IT in March. His background includes a mix of public- and private-sector experience, first serving as the telecommunications chief for the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, now the U.S. Army Public Health Command, following active duty with the military.

He went on to found NMR Consulting in 1996, focusing on services like IT, risk management and logistics support. The firm received national recognition, including being called one of the U.S.’ fastest-growing companies by Inc. magazine as well as one of the 500 largest Hispanic-owned firms in the country by revenue via Hispanic Business magazine.

According to information provided by Maryland, Garcia saw a need for better customer service during his Army career, which may have driven one of the state’s first announcements since he became CIO. Maryland launched a mobile-first redesign of its portal in May, citing that 50 percent of its visitors use a mobile device.

“We believe these enhancements to the state’s Web portal will help people and businesses quickly discover the wide range of government services available to them, whether they choose to conduct their business on a desktop or a mobile device,” Garcia said in a prepared statement.

Virginia: Nelson Moe / Looking for efficiencies

Gov. Terry McAuliffe named Nelson Moe Virginia CIO and head of the Virginia Information Technologies Agency in May. Moe brings a mix of private- and public-sector experience to the role, including 17 years with the Navy and several positions during more than 14 years with the U.S. House of Representatives, including CIO. In addition, he spent two and a half years on private-sector network projects.

Relaunching Florida's State Technology Office: CIO Jason Allison talks about restoring credibility and adding value through enterprise IT.


Delaware CIO James Collins Thinks Like a Customer: Coming from the customer side of the state’s IT agency gives Collins a unique view of its role.


Pennsylvania's CIO Brings Private-Sector Perspective: John MacMillan's work on both sides of the aisle allows him to harness public- and private-sector experience while leading IT for the state.

 


New York State’s Maggie Miller Plans Bold Moves: In her new role, Miller says she’s determined to carry out the governor’s mandate to transform state IT and re-image government programs.


Minnesota CIO Tom Baden Brings a New Level of Service: He says it’s time for Minnesota’s central IT department to evolve.


Arkansas CIO Mark MyersArkansas' Mark Myers, a Nontraditional CIO: Myers is putting his military and government backgrounds to use as the state’s IT leader.


New Hampshire CIO Balances Standards, Unique Needs: Denis Goulet hopes that by the time he leaves the office, IT infrastructure will be modern, consolidated and standardized.


Illinois CIO Hardik BhattFor Illinois CIO Hardik Bhatt, the Future is Now: Having served as Cisco’s Internet of Everything expert for local gov, Bhatt saw how governments worldwide use the emerging Internet of Things to work smarter and more efficiently.

“Mr. Moe is a high-energy, results-driven information technology executive with a track record of leadership in a variety of roles throughout his career,” McAuliffe said in a prepared statement, adding that chief among Moe’s tasks will be implementing technology reforms with an eye toward cost efficiency.

In Virginia, he oversees an IT services contract with Northrop Grumman valued at $2.3 billion as well as $350 million annually in technology projects. Moe is also responsible for 2,000 remote sites, including redundant data centers.

Moe replaces Sam Nixon, who left the CIO spot earlier this year for Virginia’s  State Corporation Commission, where he now serves as the chief administrative officer. Nixon had been CIO since 2010.

Hawaii: Todd Nacapuy / Business and technical savvy

Hawaii Governor and former State Sen. David Ige handily defeated his opponent in the November 2014 election. Ige was vocally opposed to his predecessor’s technology strategy, telling Government Technology (sister publication to Public CIO) that the $250 million invested hasn’t produced many results: “… they’ve taken the money, hired a lot of consultants, but there has been very little change in the structure or organization of state government.”

His pick for CIO is Todd Nacapuy, confirmed by the State Senate in April. Lauded by Ige for his mix of business and technical savvy, Nacapuy brings a private-sector resumé to the post, most recently as a senior technical account manager for Microsoft. He also worked for Electronic Data Systems (EDS) as an infrastructure specialist, where he worked on network Web services for the Navy and the Marine Corps.

Besides leading Hawaii’s Office of Information Management and Technology, Nacapuy also oversees the Information and Communication Services Division of the Department of Accounting and General Services.

Having assumed the CIO position in May, Nacapuy is currently assessing the state’s IT standing prior to formulating specific plans. But he had this to say of state IT when he was appointed: “From planning and vendor selection to implementation and trouble shooting, the department will ensure that the right systems are in place to make government more efficient and effective.”

Nebraska: Ed Toner / Innovative and open government

Nebraska CIO Ed Toner has big shoes to fill. Predecessor Brenda Decker’s 10-year tenure in the position saw her play a key role in the state’s broadband network and lead Nebraska’s involvement in the development of the FirstNet national public safety network.

Toner took the helm on June 9, appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts, who was familiar with Toner’s IT capabilities, honed during various private-sector roles.

“Ed will put his private-sector experience to work helping state agencies use 21st-century innovations to find new efficiencies and cost savings while providing quality services to the taxpayers of Nebraska,” Ricketts said upon making the announcement.

Before coming to the statehouse, Toner was IT director of global infrastructure operations at Omaha-based payments company First Data Corp. Toner also held several leadership positions with TD Ameritrade, including as a process improvement black belt (a reference to his certification in Six Sigma management practices) and director of IT enterprise operations for the company’s technology group.

“By leveraging technology in innovative ways, we can open up government and help it work for the people of Nebraska,” Toner said in a prepared statement.

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. 

Noelle Knell Editor

Government Technology editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.

Elaine Pittman Former Managing Editor

Elaine Pittman worked for Government Technology from 2008 to 2017.