The National Association of State Chief Information Officers said Tuesday that Maryland CIO Michael Leahy will serve as the group’s president through its 2021-22 calendar. The association also named several other CIOs to its leadership, marking the first major changes to NASCIO’s executive committee in nearly two years.
Leahy, who had been the group’s vice president, succeeds New Hampshire CIO Denis Goulet, who was named NASCIO’s president in February 2020, an appointment that was originally set to expire last October, but was extended for a full year through the COVID-19 pandemic. The formal handover from Goulet to Leahy occurred last week at NASCIO’s conference in Seattle, the association’s first in-person event since 2019.
An attorney by training, Leahy was named Maryland’s CIO and secretary of information technology in March 2017. Since then, he’s overseen a major increase in the state’s technology spending, as the Maryland Department of Information Technology has had its budget grow from $70 million in 2018, to more than $105 million in 2021.
He’s also aimed to implement several new business practices at the department, including one he described as encouraging his technologists and their customer agencies to speak about IT issues “in plain English.” The goal, he said in a 2020 interview with StateScoop, is to cut through the sometimes-impenetrable jargon of tech and arrive at easily understandable solutions — or identify if a solution for a problem is already available.
“I know we all grew up learning the lesson that we shouldn’t bring people a problem unless we have a solution, but I want to break that down,” Leahy said at the time. “So, bring me a problem, in English, explain to me what it is you’re hoping to accomplish, in English, what work forms are involved, what data you need, what data you have and then we will help you.”
NASCIO members also named Tennessee CIO Stephanie Dedmon as their vice president, and North Carolina’s Jim Weaver as secretary-treasurer.
Additionally, NASCIO added several new members to its executive committee. Fred Brittain of Maine, Amanda Crawford of Texas, Alan Cunningham of Nevada and J.R. Sloan of Arizona were appointed to the committee as directors, joining John MacMillan of Pennsylvania, Nelson Moe of Virginia, John Quinn of Vermont and Greg Zickau of Idaho. Two members of NASCIO’s corporate leadership council — Jon Fyffe, a VMWare business development manager, and Stu Davis, the head of consulting services for CGI Technologies and Solutions (and also a former Ohio CIO) — also joined the executive committee.