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Chula Vista, Calif., Hires New IT Director Out of U.S. Navy

San Diego County’s second largest city has announced a new IT director in Jose Cisneros. Cisneros comes to city service with more than two decades of network and cybersecurity experience from the U.S. Navy.

The IT leadership at San Diego County’s second-largest city will grow this week ahead of an impending retirement.

Edward Chew III
Edward Chew III
Edward Chew III, a veteran staffer and executive with the city of Chula Vista, will retire as director of the IT Services Department on June 30, he confirmed via email to Industry Insider — California. The city has already selected its next IT director — Jose Cisneros, who will start Friday and joins Chula Vista “from the Navy, where he has 20-plus years of IT background with extensive network and cybersecurity experience,” Chew said.

Cisneros’ IT experience dates to December 1999 when he joined Maric College in Vista, now Kaplan College, as its department chair, IT program/manager, information systems, a post he held until April 2002. Cisneros’ next role was as executive officer in the U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet, Reserve Unit 119, from June 2001-September 2003. After nearly four years as campus vice president at Remington College, Cisneros served as commanding officer at the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Fallbrook Detachment Reserver Unit from October 2003-December 2005; and then as a computer information systems requirements officer in the Multi-National Force in Iraq from January 2006-February 2007. Prior to joining Chula Vista, Cisneros served as director of network and defensive cyber operations for U.S. Forces in Japan from September 2019-April 2021; and as information warfare commander, network operations, mentor and trainer for the U.S. Navy since April 2021. In the latter role, he was principal adviser to the Commander Carrier Strike Group 15. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Arizona, a Master of Arts degree in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College, and a Master of Education from Johnson & Wales University.
Jose Cisneros

Chew’s career at the city of nearly 280,000 in San Diego County’s South Bay spans 24 years, according to LinkedIn and the city. A San Diego native, Chew joined the city in 1991 as an intern for the Human Resources Department and was hired full-time after earning a bachelor’s degree in public administration from San Diego State University. He went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration in 1998 from California State University, San Marcos. Chew became the city’s human resources operations manager in 1998, a role he held for four years before becoming its administrative services manager in the Chula Vista Police Department, overseeing its records, technology, research and analysis, fiscal resources and other areas. Chew was admin services manager from March 2002-June 2014, although he served as the city’s continuous improvement manager, implementing its LEAN program, from July 2011-June 2012 before serving as administrative services manager and continuous improvement manager from July 2012-June 2014. Chew was named the city’s director of information and technology services in June 2014, eight years ago.

His proudest achievement in city IT was its modernization, Chew said, noting that upon his arrival in 2015, staff PCs were on average more than eight years old, “our servers were old and running old versions of Windows server, we were lacking significant software tools to help automate our environment, and a significant portion of our network was running on Cisco equipment which had exceeded end-of-life status.” In modernizing, his team stood up a PC replacement program that slashed the average unit age to five years via a leasing program. The team updated the city’s Microsoft Windows server environment and most server hardware and bought software tools including Lansweeper, an asset management software solution, and Web Help Desk, a PC help desk software solution, to do more with repair requests. The city also streamlined PC deployment methods via Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, implemented a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement for Office 365 and deployed a “state-of-the-art” Cisco network.

“The network upgrade is what I’m most proud of due to the scale and complexity of the project. There were many long weekends!” Chew said. “And I would be remiss in touting my team’s effort during COVID to get our workforce ready for remote working. We put into service well over 250 laptops in just a few months and were able to get our VPN system (which was brand new) up and running quickly.”

“Over his career Ed has played an active role in the city’s budget development process, participated on various negotiation teams, and was instrumental in implementing integrated Payroll/Human Resources software,” the city said in information on its website detailing Chew’s tenure. The city is now implementing a new phone system by Cisco to replace an NEC system of more than 25 years — a process which should be complete by August, the CIO said. Chula Vista is also in the process of hiring its inaugural chief information security officer, with the timeline of onboarding that individual by late July/early August.

“I wish we could have completed those two prior to me leaving,” Chew added.

This article was originally published by Industry Insider—California, Government Technology's sister publication.
Theo Douglas is assistant managing editor for Industry Insider — California, and before that was a staff writer for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes covering municipal, county and state governments, business and breaking news. He has a Bachelor's degree in Newspaper Journalism and a Master's in History, both from California State University, Long Beach.