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Mississippi ITS Board Appoints David Johnson as New CIO

David Johnson has been employed by the state for more than two decades. This week marks the beginning of his tenure as the state's chief information officer, taking over for Craig Orgeron who retired earlier this year.

Jackson, Mississippi from the air
The Thriving Communities program, run by the U.S. Department of Transportation, will help Jackson, Mississippi, access federal funds for planning and transportation projects that they wouldn’t otherwise get.
(Shutterstock/Sean Pavone)
David Johnson took over as Mississippi’s chief information officer today. 

According to a press release, the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services (ITS) Board made Johnson executive director of ITS during a specially called meeting last week. Johnson replaces Michele Blocker, who served as interim executive director after the retirement of longtime CIO Craig Orgeron. 

Mississippi CIO David Johnson
Johnson has 25 years of experience working for the state of Mississippi. For the last 14 years, he worked at ITS, including as director of procurement services. His government career started in 1995 with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, where he relied on his educational background in accounting, auditing and financial management. 

Johnson told Government Technology that he believes his expertise in finance and budgeting will complement the knowledge he has gained over the last 14 years about IT in general and about ITS’s relationships with customers and vendors. 

“I think that combination is really what we need to lead this agency,” he said. 

Johnson said there is no uncertainty about the priorities of ITS today. Increasing citizen engagement with Mississippi’s digital government platform is a focus, especially given the pandemic. ITS also wants to continue minimizing risk with its cybersecurity program and take more advantage of cloud computing, something that Orgeron believed was a great fit for Mississippi’s hybrid IT structure.

“We’re going to continue to modernize these legacy systems with cloud-based solutions,” Johnson said. 

Johnson added that he feels most confident about his position because of the caliber of staff at ITS.

“I know that the path is set by the leadership of an organization, but the success is determined by the staff that work here,” he said. “And I know the staff who work here are top-notch IT professionals.”

Jed Pressgrove has been a writer and editor for about 15 years. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in sociology from Mississippi State University.