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Sonny Bhagowalia Named Hawaii’s First CIO

Bhagowalia has headed IT in multiple federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia has been named Hawaii’s first full-time CIO by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Bhagowalia currently serves as deputy associate administrator with the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, a department of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).

Bhagowalia will begin his new post July 7 and will head Hawaii’s recently established Office of Information Management and Technology (OIMT).

“Sonny brings a background in technology and management coupled with more than 25 years of experience in senior government and private-sector positions,” Abercrombie said in a statement. “I’m confident he will lead us into a new era of efficiency and service-oriented government.”

Bhagowalia previously served as CIO for multiple federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education. Last year he began working on innovative technologies for the GSA. The new Hawaii CIO also has 14 years of experience in the private sector, having worked as chief engineer/manager at Boeing Information Services, a subsidiary of Boeing, in the areas of system integration and business development for a variety of U.S. government civilian, defense and intelligence clients.

Bhagowalia will report to the governor and work with state agencies to help modernize Hawaii’s technology infrastructure. OIMT has started an assessment of the state’s technology, which the new CIO will use to construct a plan to revitalize Hawaii’s IT services.

“I look forward to collaborating with the many people who are already working hard to improve public services and create a more efficient government,” Bhagowalia said in a statement. “My experience has trained me to see information and possibility in everything, and I’m eager to discover what opportunities lie ahead for Hawaii.”

The Hawaii CIO position and OIMT are being funded through appropriations and a $3 million grant from the Hawaii Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting quality of life improvements in the state. According to the Hawaii Reporter, a long-term funding source will be part of a budget plan that will be developed and presented to the Hawaii Legislature in 2012. 

Lauren Katims previously served as a staff writer and contributing writer for Government Technology magazine.