Arkansas tech chief to leave state for telecom firm

After serving in the role for just over three years, Arkansas Chief Technology Officer Jonathan Askins is stepping down for a role in the private sector.
Arkansas IT Secretary Jonathan Askins
Arkansas IT Secretary Jonathan Askins speaks on a panel at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers annual conference in Minneapolis on Oct. 10, 2023. “I want the gamer, I want the kid that spends 24 hours in the basement playing games all day, that’s the kind of person I’m looking for,” Askins said while discussing workforce initiatives. (Colin Wood / Scoop News Group)

Arkansas Chief Technology Officer and IT Secretary Jonathan Askins announced Friday that he’s stepped down from his role and returned to the private sector after just over three years in the position.

In a LinkedIn post on Friday, Askins said he accepted a new job with the telecommunications company C Spire as its director of national accounts. Askins joined Arkansas in December 2020, when then-Gov. Asa Hutchinson hired him to fill the gap created by the resignation of Yessica Jones, who’d stepped down as CTO after five years with the state government.

A spokesperson said Askins’ last day with the Arkansas state government was Feb. 7.

As the top tech official of Arkansas and leader of the state’s Division of Technology Services, Askins’ efforts included mandatory cybersecurity awareness training for executive branch agencies, which he said was central to building a better culture of information security. Askins also oversaw the centralization of state-government networks and served as chair of the Governor’s Cyber Security Advisory Council.


A spokesperson from the Arkansas Department of Transformation and Shared Services told StateScoop in an email that Jay Harton, chief operating officer for the department’s information systems division, is serving as the state’s interim chief technology officer.

“I was honored to serve two governors” — Asa Hutchinson and Sarah Huckabee Sanders — “as we went about the business of improving technologies and making it easier for citizens to obtain services from Arkansas,” Askins wrote StateScoop in an online message. “Obviously, I’m excited about this new opportunity and ready to get started.”

Keely Quinlan

Written by Keely Quinlan

Keely Quinlan reports on privacy and digital government for StateScoop. She was an investigative news reporter with Clarksville Now in Tennessee, where she resides, and her coverage included local crimes, courts, public education and public health. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Stereogum and other outlets. She earned her bachelor’s in journalism and master’s in social and cultural analysis from New York University.

Latest Podcasts