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Colorado’s Julia Richman Leaves State IT Post for Academia

As deputy executive director for the state’s Office of Information Technology, Richman focused on tech debt and other issues. She becomes senior vice chancellor at the University of Denver, a job that includes tech.

The Denver skyline from a city park on a winter day.
Denver, Colo.
One of Colorado’s state technology leaders has a new job in the academic world.

Julia Richman, who for almost four years worked as deputy executive director for the state’s Office of Information Technology, has taken a position with the University of Denver.

She will work as the senior vice chancellor for operations and strategy implementation, a role that also has her overseeing technology and functioning as COO, she told Government Technology via email.

“A campus environment is much like a government, one with many different constituencies with vastly different needs,” Richman said. “Working to understand differences in human needs in addition to finding common efficient and scaled solutions will likely be a focus of my work wherever I go.”

In her state government position, Richman focused on such issues as tech debt — also called innovation debt — a concept that refers to the costs of continuing to use aging systems that no longer serve residents or public agencies as well as newer tools. During Richman’s time with the state, it consolidated data centers and moved off a 35-year-old mainframe.

“We embarked on an ambitious, and mostly unsexy, journey of reimagining what technology could look like in the state of Colorado that included core operating model changes, remediating tech debt, and thinking differently about how we serve constituents,” she said.

Richman said that the OIT team made “significant progress” on ambitious goals — doing so in part by keeping in sight that better technology involves much more than software.

“We brought our team and organization along with us,” she said. “Though our change has been significant our employee engagement is high and I think that says something about the human side of the work.”

Before taking over as deputy executive director, Richman worked as chief strategy officer for the Office of Information Technology. She was also chief innovation and technology officer for the city of Boulder, and a senior manager for Deloitte. She has degrees from Dartmouth College and the University of Chicago.

Richman’s move to the University of Denver comes after leadership changes in the Office of Information Technology, which she said was a factor in her decision.

“It was a natural time to transition,” Richman said. “That said, as a consultant I did a lot of work in higher education, and the opportunity to get back involved with an industry that’s experiencing so much disruption was enticing.”
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.