Stephanie Dedmon likes to solve big problems. In moving from her work with a major systems integrator to the state of Tennessee more than 13 years ago, she was drawn to the opportunity to work on large-scale projects. She got her wish in the form of an ERP overhaul spanning the entire state executive branch.
“I had the chance to work with fiscal directors, HR directors, procurement directors ... it was just a chance to learn a lot about state government in a short amount of time and build relationships that I’ve kept and continue to build,” Dedmon said.
Dedmon now holds the title of deputy chief information officer, working with CIO Mark Bengel and amassing an ever-increasing list of responsibilities on her journey to this point. She now leads many operational areas, including teams in HR, development, shared solutions and the data center.
Tennessee is in the final stages of a massive consolidation, which followed a job reclassification effort that had all state IT employees reapplying for their jobs. In the waning months of Gov. Bill Haslam’s second term, Dedmon is now planning the third phase of the consolidation, with an end goal of finishing it this year. All told, 23 agencies will have been consolidated.
To call the scale of these endeavors massive would not be overstating the point. Her thoughtful, methodical approach in carrying out the consolidation and modernizing the workforce in the process is attracting notice. Dedmon and her team knew the change management component of an initiative this broad would be a challenge, and they planned for it, taking the time to understand individual agency priorities throughout each phase.
Not all were on board with the change, but in the end, most came around and are seeing results — a credit in large part to Dedmon and the team that she’s built.
“We’re continuing to try to evolve our culture to be more customer-focused,” she said. “We’re really trying to build and grow that type of mentality.”
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.