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After a Decade as Austin’s CIO, Stephen Elkins to Retire

Stephen Elkins, who has served as chief information officer for the city of Austin since 2010, announced his retirement this week. Chris Stewart, CIO with Austin Water, will serve as his interim replacement.

by / August 28, 2020
Stephen Elkins, CIO of Austin, Texas, says he will utilize flexible sourcing to deal with the impending Baby Boomer retirement wave. David Kidd/e.Republic

Stephen Elkins, the chief information officer for the city of Austin's Communications and Technology Management (CTM) department, has announced his retirement. His final day with the city will be Sept. 4.

Elkins has accepted a “promotional opportunity” outside of Austin city government, wrote Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde, deputy city manager, in an Aug. 27 memo to city staff. He served as CIO since 2010, and has been an employee of Austin city hall since 2004. 

“I’d like to take this time to thank Stephen for his outstanding efforts as CIO to maintain the city’s critical systems while deploying technology in the delivery of city services, and most recently for keeping teams connected and ensuring data security during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rivera-Vandermyde wrote.

During his time as CIO, Rivera-Vandermyde said Elkins not only managed the day-to-day technology needs for the city, but also took steps to advance innovation wherever possible. Most recently, the city and the University of Texas (UT) were selected by the National Science Foundation for a $20 million investment for the National AI Institute for Foundations in Machine Learning.

"This is a $20 [million] NSF investment over the next five years and includes a use-inspired AI project with the city’s Austin Transportation Department aimed at mitigating traffic at intersections and on highways," Rivera-Vandermyde wrote. "The work involved many partners, but our own CTM (as well as great work by the Austin Transportation Department) played a huge part in this new success, and builds on the great work CTM has done specifically to continue to build relationship with UT." 

The investment over the next five years includes a “use-inspired” artificial intelligence project with the Austin Transportation Department aimed at reducing traffic congestion.

Chris Stewart, CIO for Austin Water, will serve as the interim chief information officer until a permanent replacement is found. Stewart has worked for the city since 2000.

Elkins could not immediately be reached for comment.

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