Carlos Ramos has been a power player in California IT for more than 20 years. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed him as the state’s secretary of technology in 2011, capping a run that’s seen Ramos hold numerous public and private high-level offices, including director of the state’s Office of Systems Integration — overseeing a $4.5 billion portfolio of technology projects — and senior technology executive of California’s massive Health and Human Services Agency.
In his current role, Ramos leads a drive to use technology to facilitate services and citizen engagement.
“In people’s day-to-day lives, they rely on technology for a whole host of things, whether it’s banking [or] entertainment, but the key isn’t technology itself, it’s the ability to take care of your financial transactions or to access music,” he said. “It’s the same thing in government. Technology itself isn’t the key, it’s being able to support government’s role of service to citizens.”
That mindset guides many of Ramos’ technological priorities today. He’s proud of California’s robust collection of mobile apps for citizens, for instance. Ramos says state agencies have deployed roughly 70 Web apps that Californians can access on their mobile devices, simplifying the availability of services and information. He points to a Department of Veterans Affairs’ app that gives users information about benefits and local facilities.
Ramos brings considerable expertise to his current position. He helped architect the consolidation of the state’s largest data centers and create California’s Office of Technology Services. It’s a background that gives Ramos the right mix of skills for applying technology to the state’s formidable bureaucracy.
“With a state this large and a government this complex, nothing we take on in California is easy,” he said. “We have challenges in managing some of those big, complex technology initiatives, but I think we’re moving in the right direction.”
Photo by Jessica Mulholland
Hilton Collins is a former staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines.