To hear Nelson Moe talk about his work at the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) is to hear a man who is proud of not only what he does, but the people he works with. The agency is one of the most consolidated in the country and by many accounts an example of how state IT should work, but Moe shrugs off that praise, saying he is simply “standing on the shoulders of the people in front of me.”
In the nearly six years he’s been on the job, he has presided over the death of the mega-contract and ushered in a “best of breed” brokerage model that helps VITA and its customer agencies more easily adapt to evolving needs — most recently to the sudden changes forced by the pandemic. The ability to bolt on new services from multiple providers “like Legos” has allowed VITA to respond in short order to the needs of the 63 agencies and the 60,000 state employees that rely on VITA for their daily operational needs.
And Moe’s tenure has stretched across two governors, during which his team has streamlined procurement with a one-stop portal and established performance metrics to measure the IT agency’s service against.
Asked how he navigates the political and technical challenges of his job, the Navy man simply says, “we’ve chewed harder concrete” and defers to the words of his servicemember comrades, some of whom were prisoners of war: “Any day you have a doorknob on the inside is a good day.” His own time in the service with the U.S. Submarine Force — nearly 18 years — and another 14 years in IT roles with the U.S. House of Representatives has clearly given Moe the tools he needs to lead VITA toward future successes.
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