Genesee County, Mich., Hires New CIO Following Hack

An April ransomware attack led to the resignation of the county's CIO and prompted officials to restructure the information technology department. IT talent from neighboring Oakland County has been tapped to lead the new iteration.

by Lucas Ropek / May 28, 2019
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After a recent hack, Michigan's Genesee County has hired a new chief information officer as part of its effort to rebuild and rehabilitate its IT office. 

The county’s Information Technology Department (ITD) will now be run by Carl Wilson, who was hired by the county’s Board of Commissioners on May 21.

Wilson is expected to begin work with the office shortly, said Carlotta Brown, a systems engineer for ITD, who will be working under the new CIO. 

Wilson previously worked as the manager for technical services and networking in neighboring Oakland County. He was part of an Oakland team that assisted with rehabilitating the Genesee County system following the attack, according to MLive.com. He also has 15 years of experience as Chief Operations Manager for LafargeHolcim, the international building products firm, at its location in Dundee, Mich. 

His LinkedIn profile describes his management style as a “dynamic and results driven business leader with a proven track record in planning, developing, and implementing technology solutions to achieve organizational objectives.”

The ITD, which is responsible for all of the county’s information resources, including data processing, software training and telecommunications, was subjected to a ransomware attack in April. The attack compromised key parts of the county’s computer network for over a week, locking officials out of their data and otherwise disturbing IT operations throughout the county.

The department was previously run by Chris Newell, who resigned from the post after the hack. Newell ran the ITD for close to four years, beginning in 2015 and continuing on in the position until shortly after the attack. 

The ITD has already made several changes in an effort to prevent future attacks. A key position — the “lead technical position,” which reports to the CIO — has been reoriented to focus more on security, having been renamed the “cybersecurity and technical architect.”

Efforts to restore the county’s system have reportedly cost upwards of $200,000, though the county has insurance that provides as much as $3 million in coverage in the wake of cyberattacks, MLive reported.