Michigan names longtime telecommunications director as CTO

State IT veteran Jack Harris, who has been serving as interim CTO, has been officially named to the role.

Michigan has selected longtime state technology veteran Jack Harris as the state’s chief technology officer, nearly ten months after he assumed the position in an interim role.

The new CTO began work in an official capacity last week, where he’ll continue optimizing the state’s technology management processes. Harris is familiar with the office, having served as the interim director since August, when Rod Davenport stepped down. Prior to that, Harris directed both the enterprise architecture and network strategies at the state’s department of technology, management and budget for seven years, and the state’s telecommunications division for nearly nine.

The last seven years of his career have been spent working under Davenport, who spent his time as CTO modernizing all 19 of Michigan’s state agencies and introducing the state’s first mobile computing strategy.

Harris said that since DeVries’ resignation and the appointment of Tricia Foster as the agency’s secretary, the duties of the CIO position have been handled by the four deputy directors in DTMB’s technology division, a group that includes him and the state’s chief security officer, Chris DeRusha. Foster, whose professional background is in business and finance, did not assume CIO duties when she was nominated for the secretary position in December. Instead, the state will separate the roles of chief information officer and DTMB secretary.


A formal search for a new CIO will begin next week, Harris said.

“Between the four of us, we’re filling in,” he told StateScoop at the NASCIO conference on Tuesday.

Harris told StateScoop in 2015 that he intended to set the state on track for 85 percent cloud-based operations by 2018, and that gaining credibility within state agencies to complete large operations like cloud migration was still a struggle.

Benjamin Freed contributed to this story.

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