IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Kristin Russell Discusses New Role as Colorado CIO and Secretary of Technology

One goal is to understand technology's role in state's economic development and recovery plan.

In February, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper named Kristin Russell as the state’s CIO and secretary of technology. After serving as vice president of global IT service operations at Oracle, Russell comes to the public sector with more than 15 years’ experience in operations leadership, customer service, and organizational design and development.

You had a very important position at Oracle, why switch to the public sector?

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I truly enjoyed my time at Oracle. It’s an incredible company with true vision and strategy around technology and enterprise computing. [But] this job is coming at a unique time in Colorado’s history in terms of the need to really understand technology’s role in the state’s economic development and recovery plan. I’m kind of the quintessential learner. I like to take on new challenges, and so it’s one of those times in one’s career where you have to take a step back, look at those opportunities and take advantage of them.  

What will be some challenges with taking on this role in government?

I think there is tons of opportunity. There are areas of IT service that need to be hardened and worked on from a reliability, performance and stability standpoint. That’s typical in a lot of IT jobs. But this is a huge opportunity to leverage what we’re doing around economic development and looking at how technology can be key to that. I look at technology as something that can join people from a digital-divide perspective and bring communities together, so that’s probably what I’m most excited about.

What do you hope to accomplish by the end of 2011?

I’m working on my 90-day plan, and I’m getting a lot of counsel on the things, from a transition standpoint, that have been done. There’s a great, very hard-working Office of Information Technology within the state that’s been working on a lot of transformational activities up until this point, and I want to continue and build on that momentum.

Have you worked with Gov. John Hickenlooper before on any projects?

No. This is my first time meeting and working with him, which I think is a real testament to his leadership and making sure he’s reaching out to a broad base of people to ensure that he gets the right people on his cabinet.


Miriam Jones is a former chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.
Special Projects
Sponsored Articles
  • How the State of Washington teamed with Deloitte to move to a Red Hat footprint within 100 days.
  • The State of Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (DTMB) reduced its application delivery times to get digital services to citizens faster.

  • Sponsored
    Like many governments worldwide, the City and County of Denver, Colorado, had to act quickly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. To support more than 15,000 employees working from home, the government sought to adapt its new collaboration tool, Microsoft Teams. By automating provisioning and scaling tasks with Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, an agentless, human-readable automation tool, Denver supported 514% growth in Teams use and quickly launched a virtual emergency operations center (EOC) for government leaders to respond to the pandemic.
  • Sponsored
    Microsoft Teams quickly became the business application of choice as state and local governments raced to equip remote teams and maintain business continuity during the COVID-19 lockdown. But in the rush to deploy Teams, many organizations overlook, ignore or fail to anticipate some of the administrative hurdles to successful adoption. As more organizations have matured their use of Teams, a set of lessons learned has emerged to help agencies ensure a successful Teams rollout – or correct course on existing implementations.