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Arkansas IT Chief Yessica Jones Announces Departure

Jones, who has been with the state of Arkansas since 2014, will be headed to the private sector. A replacement for the chief technology officer and Division of Information Technology director has not yet been named.

Yessica Jones
David Kidd/Government Technology
Yessica Jones, Arkansas' chief technology officer and Division of Information Technology director, will be stepping down to take on a role in the private sector, the Division of Information Systems (DIS) announced Thursday. Her last day will be Nov. 24. 

"It is with a mix of sadness and gratitude for me to announce that I have presented my two-week notice to depart the Division of Information Systems as executive director and state chief technology officer to pursue another opportunity in the private sector," said Jones in an email to her staff. 

Jones, one of Government Technology's Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers for 2020, has been with the state since 2014. She hasn't yet said what company she will be joining, though she noted that the new opportunity would allow her to work from home and devote more time and attention to her family. 

"I am extremely proud of the significant accomplishments DIS was able to complete over the past several years. I truly believe I will depart DIS with an exceptional team in place and with the agency in good overall fiscal health," Jones added. 

Jones joined the government over five years ago as a liaison to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office, rising quickly to become director of DIS and later deputy CTO. In 2016, she became interim CTO, before being named to the position permanently in 2017 after the resignation of Mark Myers

She joined government after a successful private-sector career, working for companies like Northrop Grumman, Penzoil and Acxiom, and helped usher in a wave of influential IT initiatives, most prominently the expansion of broadband access within the state. 

Jones "led the upgrade of the state network serving the executive branch to high-speed broadband," DIS spokesperson Janet Clark said Thursday. "This initiative achieved $4.8 million in savings." She also expanded broadband access for all K-12 schools

At the same time, the departing CTO also took important steps to improve the state's overall cybersecurity posture. This included the implementation of a statewide risk awareness training program, as well as the development of an important partnership with DHS on vulnerability scanning. Under her watch, the state also recently procured a statewide endpoint monitoring solution for its 29,000 devices.  

At this moment, it is unclear who will immediately replace Jones, though Clark said a process will soon be underway. 

Lucas Ropek is a former staff writer for Government Technology.