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Montana's Chief Technology Officer Named Interim CIO

Montana, which is beginning a search to replace former CIO Ron Baldwin, named Chief Technology Officer Matt Van Syckle as its interim CIO.

Montana bid farewell to its top tech official on Jan. 19, just days after his departure was announced, but an interim replacement has been identified and will go to work immediately, the state said.

Department of Administration Director John Lewis has asked current Chief Technology Officer Matt Van Syckle to begin serving as interim chief information officer, the state said in an email.

He’ll replace former CIO Ron Baldwin, who announced he had accepted a position with Deloitte Jan. 17.  

As state CIO, Baldwin was responsible for spearheading the response to a 2016 executive order from the governor that called for the consolidation of infrastructure at the executive branch level. Doing so, the state said last week, has saved Montana more than $1.6 million a year.

Montana has already begun a search, both internal and external for Baldwin’s permanent replacement, Amber Conger, communications director for Montana’s department of administration, said last week.

Conger said in an email on Jan. 22 that Van Syckle will continue to serve in the CTO position during the search.

“Director Lewis has full confidence in Matt’s ability to provide leadership during this transitional period and continue to drive critical State Information Technology Service Division (SITSD) initiatives in support of our customers,” Conger said.

Van Syckle, a previous winner of the Montana Governor’s Award of Excellence, will likely be quite busy, but he can draw on more than a decade of experience at the state.

The one-time infantry member with the Montana Army National Guard has been CTO for roughly one year, according to LinkedIn, but was supervisor of enterprise infrastructure services from Jan. 2014-Feb. 2017, and was a tech team lead for nearly seven years before that.

Among the individuals reporting to Van Syckle during his time as interim CIO will be the state’s new Chief Information Security Officer Andy Hanks, who started work during the week of Jan. 16. Hanks is a former global security program manager at IBM.

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.