IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

On the Move: Tracking Gov Tech Leadership Changes in 2020

Despite the challenges this year brought, one thing remained unchecked: State and local government information technology chiefs continued to move on from gov tech or shift to new opportunities in new jurisdictions.

Marble steps inside a building.
While 2020 was a year unlike any other, both in and out of government, the country’s state and local technology leaders continued to make career changes. From longtime pillars of gov tech work to public-sector newcomers, here’s our annual roundup of the year that was for CIOs, CTOs and everyone in between.

January

A veteran of the state CIO’s office in both Oregon and Oklahoma, Alex Pettit took over the role of chief technology officer at the Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology.  

Alyssa Rodriguez was named director of IT in Henderson, Nev., a role previously referred to as the CIO. She replaced longtime CIO Laura Fucci, who retired in 2019.

Having previously served as CIO of Raleigh, N.C., and Austin, Texas, as well as director of National Initiatives for Smart Cities at the Knight Foundation, Gail Roper took over as CIO of Montgomery County, Md.

Hugh Miller left his post as CIO of Dallas in January, having served in the role since 2018. Following a national search, he was replaced by Bill Zielinski, who brings 30 years of federal experience, primarily in IT, to the job.    

After the retirement of Mike Cheles in December 2019, the Missouri Office of Administration’s IT Services Division named Jeff Wann as the new state CIO.  

California+Chief+Data+Officer+Joy+Bonaguro


California Chief Data Officer Joy Bonaguro / Credit: Jessica Mulholland


California Gov. Gavin Newsom named Joy Bonaguro and Krista Canellakis, both formerly of San Francisco IT, to be the state’s chief data officer and deputy secretary of general services for the California Government Operations Agency (GovOps), respectively. Julie Lee was also reappointed to her role as undersecretary with GovOps.

In early January, Washington CIO Jim Weaver appointed Katy Ruckle as the state’s new chief privacy officer. She was previously the privacy officer for the Department of Social and Health Services. 

Head of the San Jose, Calif., Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation since 2016, Chief Innovation Officer Shireen Santosham left city service for a local startup. She was replaced in July by Jordan Sun, who brings experience in both the military and tech startups. 

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt named Steven Harpe director of the state’s Office of Management and Enterprise Services, a role previously held by John Budd, who continued to serve as state chief operating officer. CIO Jerry Moore, appointed by the governor in February to replace Bo Reese, reports to Harpe. 

Longtime Wyoming Enterprise Technology Services employee Timothy Walsh was named the state’s information security officer, replacing Arlen Fletcher. 

Former+North+Carolina+CIO+Eric+Boyette


Former North Carolina CIO Eric Boyette. / Credit: David Kidd


February 

After three years with Santa Clara County, Calif., CIO Ann Dunkin moved to a role related to state and local government with Dell.   

February was the beginning of a series of CIO shifts in North Carolina, when Eric Boyette left the position to lead the state’s Department of Transportation. He was replaced by former deputy CIO Tracy Doaks, who in June left state government to head up a tech nonprofit in the state. Since then, Thomas Parrish has served as acting CIO. 

Julia Richman, who spent two years with Boulder, Colo., as its chief innovation and analytics officer and then CTO, moved to state work as Colorado’s chief strategy officer. Richman was replaced in Boulder by Jennifer Douglas in June. 

San Francisco named Jason Lally as its permanent chief data officer. He’d filled the role in an acting capacity since Joy Bonaguro’s departure in September 2018. 

Joshua McGee was named Arkansas’ chief data officer, a position that had been vacant for a year. The CDO works in the state Department of Transformation and Shared Services. 

A founder of the San Jose, Calif., Office of Civic Innovation and the city’s digital services lead, Michelle Thong left the city after six years to work for Nava Public Benefit Corporation.   

After serving in an acting capacity since October 2019, Todd Carter was formally named director of the Baltimore City Office of Information and Technology. 

Arizona+CIO+J.R.+Sloan


Arizona CIO J.R. Sloan


March 

Connecticut appointed Jeffrey Brown, a veteran of private-sector IT, its first state chief information security officer. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tapped Brom Stibitz, who has worked for the state since 2011, as CIO within the Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB). In October, Stibitz was also officially appointed director of DTMB

John Salazar was named secretary of the New Mexico Department of Information Technology and state CIO. He previously worked as CIO of the state’s Taxation and Revenue Department and Department of Workforce Solutions. 

Having served as interim CIO since Morgan Reed’s departure in July 2019, and working for the state since 2013, J.R. Sloan was officially named head of Arizona Strategic Enterprise Technology. 

Four months after Dewand Neely stepped down as Indiana CIO, Tracy Barnes was tapped to lead the state Office of Information Technology. Barnes was previously chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. Also in March, Indiana CISO Bryan Sacks left state service for a position with SHI. 

April

Gov. Kristi Noem appointed Jeffrey Clines South Dakota’s CIO and commissioner for the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications. He came to South Dakota having served as director of IT for the Illinois Secretary of State

In a reorganization of the Idaho Department of Information Services, CISO Lance Wyatt stepped back from his position to serve as information security engineer in the agency, and the state launched a search for a new security chief. 

Louisville, Ky.’s first chief data officer, Michael Schnuerle, left the city to join the Open Mobility Foundation. A replacement has not been named. 

Former+Texas+CIO+Todd+Kimbriel


Former Texas CIO Todd Kimbriel / Credit: David Kidd


May 

Todd Kimbriel retired as Texas chief information officer, having served in the role since March 2016. He was replaced in November by Department of Information Resources Executive Director Amanda Crawford.  

Senior technology adviser to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Jeanne Holm was named the city’s new chief data officer in May, having previously served as deputy CIO. In November she was promoted to deputy mayor for budget and innovation

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Udaya Patnaik was named the first director of the California Office of Digital Innovation, part of the Government Operations Agency, after a year-long search. 

June 

David Cagigal left his position as Wisconsin chief information officer after an eight-year tenure under both Republican and Democratic governors. He was replaced by Trina Zanow, most recently administrator of the Division of Enterprise Technology within the Wisconsin Department of Administration. 

Austin, Texas, appointed Shirley Erp as its new CISO. Erp brings security experience in the private sector, academia, and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. 

The North Dakota Information Technology Department announced the creation of a chief customer success role, to be filled by Jeff Hensel. Concurrently, the state’s Chief Reinvention Officer Kevin Parker announced he would be stepping down in August. 

Rod Blunt stepped down as Kansas CISO after spending 16 years building the state’s cyberstrategy to become security chief for El Paso County, Texas. Jeff Maxon was named Blunt’s replacement in July. 

Sam Edelstein left his position as the inaugural chief data officer of Syracuse, N.Y., a role he held for four years, to work at a private data-consulting company.

July 

Minnesota named Rohit Tandon its permanent CISO. Tandon had served as security chief in an acting capacity since Aaron Call’s departure at the end of 2019. 

After serving as interim chief data officer since December 2019, Josh Martin was named Indiana’s permanent chief data officer.  

Steve Emanuel, who has worked in both the public and private sectors throughout his long career, announced he was stepping down as CIO of Newark, N.J., a role he’d held since February 2019. 

Michigan established the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification to help drive its position as a hub for next-generation transportation and named Trevor Pawl its first chief mobility officer. 

Chris DeRusha, Michigan CISO since February 2019, left state service to take on the top security role for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. 

Nebraska named Patrick Wright its new information security officer, a role formerly held by Chris Hobbs. Wright came from an enterprise security position with Farmers Mutual Insurance.   

In Arkansas, Nolan Leatherwood was elevated to permanent state chief information security officer, having served in an acting capacity since April 2018. 

August 

Jamie Grant announced he would not seek re-election as a Florida state representative to take on the role of state CIO, heading Florida’s newly established Digital Service. 

Nevada found a new CIO in cybersecurity professional Alan Cunningham, who took over the state’s Enterprise Information Technology Services Division. 

The North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) appointed Dan Kempton as its first CTO. Kempton had previously spent four years as head of engineering and cloud services for NCDIT. 

Longtime Mississippi CIO Craig Orgeron retired from state service, having held the post since 2011. He was replaced in October by David Johnson, who has worked with Mississippi Information Technology services for 14 years.

Former+Delaware+CIO+James+Collins


Former Delaware CIO James Collins / Credit: David Kidd


September 

Theresa Szczurek stepped down as Colorado CIO after about 18 months heading state IT. She was replaced by Anthony Neal-Graves, formerly executive director of the Colorado Broadband Office and chief operations officer for the Office of Information Technology. 

A mainstay of government IT, James Collins left his work as Delaware CIO after six years, and more than 20 with the state, to take a job with Microsoft Consulting. Gov. John Carney tapped IT chief operating officer Jason Clarke as Collins’ replacement. 

Sacramento, Calif., Chief Innovation Officer Louis Stewart departed city service after three years in the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. 

Having led state IT work since March 2019, Ron Guerrier stepped down from his post as Illinois CIO. Jennifer Ricker, assistant secretary of the state’s Department of Innovation and Technology, was named acting CIO. 

Indianapolis named IT staff member Elliott Patrick as its new CIO and head of the city’s Information Services Agency. Patrick had served as interim CIO since January. 

After 10 years as CIO of Austin, Texas, Stephen Elkins announced he would retire from city service and accept a position outside the public sector. CIO of Austin Water Chris Stewart was named Elkins’ replacement in an interim capacity.  

October 

Montana CIO Tim Bottenfield announced his retirement from the State Information Technology Service Division at the end of the year. As of press time, a replacement had not been named. 

Special Projects
Sponsored Articles