Kimbriel has been a staple of the Texas Department of Information Resources for more than a decade. Ahead of his retirement tomorrow, he shared several observations about the potential of Texas IT.
Tomorrow, Todd Kimbriel will finish his run as the chief information officer of Texas.
Kimbriel confirmed his decision to retire in an email to Government Technology. He served as Texas CIO under the Department of Information Resources (DIR) since March 2016. He was tapped to lead DIR after serving as the interim CIO from January 2015 to March 2016.
Chief Technology Officer John Hoffman will serve as the interim CIO until a permanent hire is made.
Looking back at his work as CIO, Kimbriel said he values the type of culture he fostered in DIR more than anything else. He was able to build a team that “embodies a ‘can-do’ attitude, is focused on the customer first, checks personal agendas at the door, collaborates daily and values innovative thinking.”
“The projects come and go,” Kimbriel continued in his email, “and there have been some great ones, such as implementing the Multi-sourcing Service Integrator model in our consolidated data center program, or launching the Texas by Texas digital assistant for citizens, or early adoption of cloud services. But the amazing work of an incredible team is definitely what I am most proud of!”
Kimbriel joined DIR in 2008. His positions in the organization ranged from chief operations officer to director of e-government to deputy executive director. He saw many changes during his overall tenure with DIR, and said he believes Texas IT has a chance to take another big step toward improvement with even more consolidation.
“We have made tremendous progress consolidating the underlying physical infrastructure, whether mainframes, server platforms, networks, hyper-converged platforms and service portals,” Kimbriel said. “But the concept of shared-enterprise platforms for common application needs, such as case management, business intelligence, content management or project management, presents great opportunity to reduce cost by eliminating duplicative systems, standardize the way all agencies produce business outcomes in these functional areas, and even increase the ease with which state employees may transfer from one agency to another and walk in the door with system familiarity already in place.”
Kimbriel started his career in the private sector. Directly before joining DIR, he had a nine-year run as senior director of application delivery for Level 3 Communications, according to his LinkedIn page. During most of the 1990s, he was an independent computer consultant. Before that, he was vice president in administration for Airline Automation and general manager for Airline Software.
Drawing on his wealth of experience in the tech field, Kimbriel offered his perspective on how COVID-19 has created a “new normal,” where nearly everyone in DIR is “working successfully in a non-traditional office environment.”
“This opens the door (no pun intended) to things like hiring developers that live in rural Texas instead of in highly competitive metro areas like Austin, where we are challenged competing with the high tech private sector,” Kimbriel said.
Kimbriel also explained that the economic impact of COVID-19 could lead to hiring freezes and budget restrictions for public entities. If so, agencies will have to make creative adjustments from a staff retention and productivity standpoint.
“[A]s Yahoo discovered, prolonged telework and the lack of casual or ad hoc meetings can have a negative influence on innovation,” Kimbriel said. “So given what could be a prolonged period before treatments and vaccines are available, we have to be thinking about new ways [of] how to keep a distributed workforce engaged, focused, balanced and provoked.”