The Delaware Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination of James Collins as the state’s next chief information officer and head of the state’s Department of Technology and Information.
Collins replaces Jim Sills, who served as the state’s CIO since 2009 but left state government last month to become the president and chief executive officer of North Carolina-based Mechanics and Farmers Bank. Sills had worked as an executive in the banking industry earlier in his career.
“Today’s unanimous vote by the Senate affirms the skills and talents James Collins possesses to lead the Department of Technology and Information as its Chief Information Officer,” Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) said in a statement. “He is not only qualified to serve in this position from his years and depth of experience in the fields of IT and data and information systems security, but also because of his commitment to ensure that Delawareans continue to receive the highest standard of service throughout the state.”
Prior to his confirmation, Collins said the department’s most important obligation is to safeguard the state’s data and information systems along with providing agencies the support they need to deliver high-quality services.
“I know the state is highly dependent on secure information systems that are functioning at their highest levels,” Collins previously said. “If given the opportunity to serve, it will be my priority to work with the talented team at DTI to make the agency’s expertise and assistance readily available for these initiatives.”
Before this appointment, Collins served as the deputy chief of staff to Markell, and also had a number of jobs and projects focused on IT within the Delaware state government and during his time in the private sector.
Collins worked as a senior consultant with Peregrine Systems, an enterprise software company, and in a number of roles at Maximus Inc., a government contractor specializing in health and human services programs. He spent 10 years as the director of Delaware’s Division of Professional Regulation in the state’s Department of State, where he also served as the agency’s deputy secretary and helped expand the state’s e-government initiatives and the use of IT.
Among other projects Collins led: He established the Delaware Prescription Monitoring Program database, aimed at combating prescription drug abuse. He also deployed an electronic medical records system at the Delaware Veterans Home, a long-term care facility. His efforts helped boost revenues by 22 percent, increased public access to information through the Public Service Commission’s Web portal and led to the Veterans Service Directory, an online searchable database of organizations that provides assistance to veterans, military members and their families. Collins left the department in January to join Markell’s staff where his duties included serving as the governor’s policy adviser on technology-related issues.
Bill Hickox, the department’s chief operating officer, had been serving as CIO on an interim basis since Sills departure. The Delaware Department of Technology and Information serves as the state’s central IT organization, chartered to deliver core services to other state organizations and exercise governance over the technology direction and investments of the state.