The IT veteran and former New Jersey state CIO said a new private-sector role with a large technology company will have him working alongside state and local government on enterprise projects.
Steve Emanuel, who has served as CIO for the city of Newark, N.J., since February of 2019, will soon be stepping down to pursue a new opportunity.
Emanuel, who has transitioned back and forth between the public and private sector numerous times throughout his career, will be parting ways with the city on July 17 to join information technology consultant CGI, where he will be the director of consultation for state and local government in its New Jersey office.
"One of the things about the offering is that it was an opportunity to continue helping my government counterparts," he said. "My focus will be 100 percent state of New Jersey state and local government. It will all be project related for some very intense enterprise programs."
Emanuel is a longtime veteran of government, having previously served as state CIO for the New Jersey Office of Information Technology for nearly five years. At the same time, he's also served in high-ranking private-sector roles for companies like Alliant Technologies and Amtrak.
Looking back, Emanuel said one of the biggest challenges during his time with the city has been in meeting the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, though he said his team has done a good job of swiftly transitioning the city to a remote workforce while also instituting adequate protections.
"There were so many things that were so fluid," he said, of the outbreak's initial period. "We weren't 100 percent prepared for a remote workforce, but within a couple of weeks we had some processes and guidelines [in place] and even developed a policy fairly quickly for remote access to the city's infrastructure that went very well."
Emanuel may have been more prepared for these vulnerable times than other city administrators, as cybersecurity has been a big focus under his tenure, he said.
"One of the things that they made me aware of when they hired me was the ransomware issue in 2017," he said, referencing the incident in which two Iranian hackers hijacked the city's computer systems with malware.
"We all know it's not if but when and how bad when it comes to security," he said. "Security is no longer an afterthought, it's a component of every solution decision we're making moving forward."
Looking ahead, Emanuel said he is excited about the new opportunity and looks forward to continuing his work alongside government.
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