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Louisiana CIO Richard ‘Dickie’ Howze Retires from OTS

With a new governor in place, Howze retired from a job he had held for nearly 11 years. During his time with the Office of Technology Services, he worked to reduce the technical debt while also spearheading online bidding, security and other projects.

Louisiana CIO Dickie Howze 2023.jpg
Government Technology/David Kidd
One of the longest serving state CIOs has left his job.

Louisiana’s Richard “Dickie” Howze, known for his consolidation of the state’s tech efforts — along with his colorful bow ties and Deep South demeanor — has retired from a job he had held since April 2013.

That nearly 11-year run topped a state government career that began some 46 years ago in the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.

Howze reportedly retired as new Gov. Jeff Landry, a Republican, took office on Jan. 7. Howze did not respond to requests for comment, and the state issued no official announcement about Howze’s departure or a search for a replacement.

Kim Hunter, executive staff officer for the Office of the State CIO, sent a link to a news report when asked to confirm his departure, but gave no further comment.

The state CIO position also is listed as “vacant” on a website for the Louisiana Office of Technology Services.

As of late 2023, Howze was the second-longest serving state CIO in the country, after Connecticut’s Mark Raymond.

According to that OTS website, the office under Howze’s leadership “spearheaded countless projects for in-scope state agencies, including online bidding for the Office of State Procurement; state print and mail management modernization and consolidation; network security improvement with enterprise secure baseline migration” and other work.

Howze is also credited with updating and streamlining “standard processes for numerous agencies with the creation and application of programs such as LaMEDS automated Medicaid eligibility and enrollment system; the LITE multi-agency program integration system; LA Wallet digital driver’s license application; and the LAWIN multistate partnership system for the Women, Infants and Children program.”

Late last year, Howze told Government Technology that he worked to reduce the state’s technical debt, which means the cost of not improving systems but instead relying on aging and often clunky tools that are relatively unfamiliar to younger employees.

“We’ve spent the entire eight years of this administration retiring legacy technologies and putting them into a posture of being on modern supportable technologies that won’t ever go out of date ever again,” Howze said in October, referring to former Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration.