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Ohio CIO Ervan Rodgers Announces Move to the Private Sector

Rodgers confirmed that June 2 will be his last day as Ohio’s CIO. He will be joining retail company Designer Brands as senior vice president and CIO. Katrina Flory will serve as CIO in an interim capacity.

Ohio CIO Ervan Rodgers
David Kidd/Government Technology
After June 2, Ohio CIO Ervan Rodgers will leave his post in state government for an executive position with retail company Designer Brands.

Rodgers — who, along with Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, was recognized as one of Government Technology's Top 25 Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers this year — confirmed in an email that he is heading for the private sector, where he will be a senior vice president and CIO.

“I am leaving the state better than I found it and in the great hands of my friend Katrina Flory,” Rodgers said. “A great opportunity found me and I am excited about my next steps.”

Flory has served as deputy state CIO since 2011 and will replace Rodgers in an interim capacity starting June 3.

Although Rodgers became Ohio’s CIO only a little more than two years ago, he will leave an impressive legacy. He played a key role in pushing forward the InnovateOhio Platform (IOP), an effort sparked by an executive order from Gov. Mike DeWine that called for state agencies to share data and move their systems to the cloud for enhanced collaboration on social problems.

To help promote the adoption of IOP, Rodgers told Government Technology that from the get-go he revealed “one of his alter egos” and asked agency folks to talk about the music they liked listening to. Rodgers wanted to transcend the ”stuffy dynamics” of the IOP transition.

Rodgers would even use superhero references to bring people together.

“I think of it as the Avengers,” Rodgers said at the 2019 NASCIO conference. “Everybody has their piece. Everybody’s really good at what they do. And so you pick your favorite character, and let’s go win.”

Matt Whatley, interim director of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS), shared the news about Rodgers’ departure to IT staff in an email.

“Ervan has been an extraordinary leader, not just here in DAS and the Office of Information Technology, but also across Ohio, particularly in helping meet the various information technology needs throughout the pandemic,” Whatley wrote. “He has also emerged as a thought leader, bringing national attention to OIT staff and their tremendous successes.”

When asked about the most underappreciated aspect of the state CIO role, Rodgers pointed out “[t]here isn’t a handbook.”

“The role is underestimated for the required level of dedication to effectively drive adoption and [growth] of digital state services across the enterprise,” Rodgers wrote. “There is power in teamwork and encouraging teams to fail fast for the best innovation, which enables a citizen-centric environment. One team, one goal… OH-IO!”
Jed Pressgrove has been a writer and editor for about 15 years. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in sociology from Mississippi State University.