David Cagigal has been a steady hand at the helm of Wisconsin IT since 2012. He is in rare company for staying on following the defeat of incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who originally appointed him, by Democrat Tony Evers. Through the transition, he’s brought thoughtful, stable leadership, and a keen understanding of public service and best practices in IT.
As governments at all levels grapple with ever-growing cyberthreats, few have all the resources they need to fully protect IT assets. Even so, Cagigal has been out in front of the growing role states are starting to play in helping local governments prepare for and respond to cyber-related incidents. Wisconsin has issued cybersecurity guidelines for local governments, and aids in response when cities, schools and other entities are impacted. Tapping into available federal resources and partnering with key stakeholders, Cagigal also has an eye on threats related to the upcoming Democratic National Convention, which will take place in Milwaukee in July.
Cagigal has championed the creation of BadgerNet, a statewide broadband network completed in 2018 that serves about 1,400 entities, including schools and colleges, tribal governments, and state agencies. Efforts like this have earned the state consistent “A” grades in recent Digital States surveys from the Center for Digital Government.*
Complementing Cagigal’s smart management of broad IT strategy is his ability to tie his office’s work directly to the people the state serves. Wisconsin is exploring adding a chief analytics officer to the state workforce to help draw conclusions from the voluminous amount of data the state holds. And those conclusions can be enormously consequential. Noting that the state spends more than three times as much per year on incarcerating someone versus educating them, Cagigal sees potential for state data to unlock more effective spending priorities.
“Could we provide greater insight on what we can do to ensure that they graduate from high school and then develop a career, and that they’re contributing to society and that they’re paying their taxes as opposed to being a draw on our society and on our tax burdens?” he asked recently. “We’re pretty excited about where we’re headed with the data.”
*The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, Government Technology's parent company.