StateScoop highlights 2017 GoldenGov: State Executive of the Year winners

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The GoldenGov award highlights the visionary state executive leading state government into a new technology landscape with innovative ideas and by inspiring others to get on board.


Darryl AckleyChief Information OfficerState of New Mexico

2016 was a big year for Darryl Ackley. The chief information officer for the state of New Mexico continued his work of “innovating the bureaucracy” in New Mexico in an attempt to find efficiencies and break down silos, but he also took the helm as president of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers. Inside his office in New Mexico, though, Ackley brought his focus to finding synergy with other state agencies and restructuring the way IT fits into their planning. Ackley also took the lead on legacy modernization for the state — work that continues today.

Barbara BrohlExecutive Director, Department of RevenueState of Colorado

The Colorado Department of Revenue's leader, Executive Director Barbara Brohl, has been instrumental in leading the state's “DRIVES” project with the Governor’s Office of Information Technology to replace an antiquated, two-decade-old licensing and registration system. This $93 million effort has been on time and on budget, and will replace the legacy Driver's License System (DLS) and the Colorado State Titling and Registration System, making DMV processes much easier for Coloradans. Brohl's eagle-eye focus on business outcomes and IT collaboration are making this project a great success for the State of Colorado.

James CollinsChief Information OfficerState of Delaware

James Collins is a visionary enthusiast focused on collaboration and innovation by strategically leveraging technology. James leads an assertive IT centralization effort that now touches 65 percent of state agencies and K-12 schools. Under James' leadership, Delaware decreased the number of data centers by 36 percent. He has also worked to actively expand broadband in the state, fostered the use of shared services across agencies and promotion of cloud services is foundational to current XaaS initiatives to further operational efficiencies, cost savings and cybersecurity. James chairs multiple public/private collaborations emphasizing continuous improvement to the state's cybersecurity posture and oversight of technology initiatives.

Yessica JonesDirector, Dept. of Information Systems & Chief Technology OfficerState of Arkansas

Yessica assumed leadership of DIS in November 2016. She has seamlessly led the K-12 broadband upgrade and is leading an ambitious initiative to unify the state's data centers.

Prior to taking the helm of DIS, Jones was deputy director of the department.

Gov. Terry McAuliffeGovernorCommonwealth of Virginia

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is big on cybersecurity and investing strategically to protect his state from attacks. As chairman of the National Governors Association, McAuliffe is collaborating to create a set of national guidelines on cybersecurity and has implemented numerous measures to lead the way in Virginia. Under his direction, Virginia has met security requirements from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), it has established an Information Sharing and Analysis Organization to confront threats, and is building its talent pool via cybersecurity scholarships that require two years of state service. McAuliffe is also educating staff and Virginia's cities and counties with its Cyber Commission, which coordinates instruction and information sharing between legislators and local officials.

Ed TonerChief Information OfficerState of Nebraska

A newcomer to government, joining as Nebraska's chief information officer in June 2015, Ed Toner started his career with the state on a high note as he now nears completion on a IT consolidation effort spanning the state. Through strong reliance on private-sector experience and internal lobbying, Toner laid the groundwork for a project that is already saving agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars. Toner is also recognized for his customer-centric focus and attention to IT at every level link in the chain. When customers come to a state's IT help desk, they don't see everything behind the scenes, he told StateScoop — to the customer, their first point of contact is IT.

Amy TongChief Information OfficerState of California

It’s been a year since Amy Tong took the helm of the California Department of Technology. Coming from the state's health and human services agency, as well as the Office of Systems Integration, Tong hit the ground running in the state’s IT office. After a few months, Tong and the department brought on a new chief information security officer. Since then, she’s focused on strategic planning and determining where the Department of Technology will be over the course of the next few years. According to Tong, the state is looking to adopt a more entrepreneurial approach to government technology.

Archana VemulapalliChief Technology OfficerDistrict of Columbia

Since becoming Washington, D.C.'s chief technology officer, Archana Vemulapalli has lead several projects, including the Pennsylvania Avenue 2040 (PA2040) pilot project launch. In this capacity, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), along with partners Sensity and Cisco, will deliver publicly accessible Internet through OCTO-sponsored outdoor Wi-Fi and remotely managed, sensor-based LED streetlights. Archana positioned D.C. as the nation's first Cisco-designated “Light House City” for its exemplary smart city tech commitments. A globally respected IT leader, she earned master's degrees from McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Dave WeinsteinChief Technology OfficerState of New Jersey

New Jersey Chief Technology Officer Dave Weinstein is one of the few millennials in the state government C-suite, but his work shows no signs of inexperience. As the state's first chief technology officer, Weinstein is transforming its culture of government. With an agenda that puts cybersecurity first, he is shifting thinking both by embedding security into operations and through IT centralization efforts. A unique voice in state IT leadership, Weinstein charges that IT leaders need more creativity — not more funding — to accomplish their missions.

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