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After Several Interim Leaders, Alaska Has a Permanent CIO

After a turbulent period of leadership turnover, the state has appointed its first permanent chief IT officer since 2018. Bill Smith, a career military professional, has stepped in to lead the Office of Information Technology.

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After a nationwide search involving more than 100 candidates, the state of Alaska has found its newest chief information officer.

Bill Smith, a former U.S. military professional with more than 28 years' experience in public- and private-sector IT, has stepped into the state’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) top spot. He joined the state on Nov. 18, Kelly Hanke, special assistant with the state’s Department of Administration Commissioner's Office, confirmed in an email to Government Technology.  

Smith, who will be based in Anchorage, will also be interacting with OIT staff in Juneau, comes to the role with a high level of achievement, Hanke said.  

"During his successful career in the U.S. Army, he was a lead participant in several high-level Headquarters, Department of the Army projects involving operational forecasting and national force structure. Additionally, he was called upon to direct combat military operations and develop an innovative aviation organization and training program to meet critical Army intelligence collection requirements," Hanke said. 

After leaving the service, Smith went into the private sector, working for broadband and communications provider ACS, where he held management roles involving a diversity of "technology solutions provided to business, consumer and government agencies." He also recently worked as general manager of a mechanical contracting company, where he was responsible for overseeing large military construction projects in the interior of Alaska, among other places. 

"We will benefit greatly from Bill's customer service expertise, leadership acumen, strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, and business process transformation," said Hanke. 

The permanent appointment marks the end to what has been a turbulent period for the state's IT leadership. Smith is the fifth to lead the office since former CIO Bill Vajda stepped aside in September 2018.    

Lucas Ropek is a former staff writer for Government Technology.
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