The city of Riverside, California, has a new chief innovation officer, but it’s a familiar — and knowledgeable — face. George Khalil, the city’s former information security officer, was announced as Riverside’s long-term CIO on Monday, replacing Lea Deesing, who was promoted earlier this year to assistant city manager.
Khalil had served in the security role for the last three years prior to being named interim deputy CIO earlier this year. His work as ISO had him focusing on the security side of technology adoption, but Khalil told StateScoop he is ready to broaden his focus in civic tech.
“It’s really about solving user problems,” Khalil said. “It’s trying to make sure that there’s increased technology adoption [across all government sectors].”
Riverside’s chief innovation officer effectively serves as its chief information officer, with an added focus on using technology to spur along the local economy.
Khalil said that his work as ISO required strong relationships with virtually every side of civic tech, including the the law enforcement side, utilities side and financial services side. Security — reviewing business processes, reducing risk, protecting residents’ information, and maintaining availability and integrity of critical infrastructure — will continue to play a role in his new gig, but technology adoption and education will also be critical.
“Changing how people operate is more important than solving a one-time issue and having it come up again,” Khalil said.
Khalil previously worked for several Fortune 500 and 1000 tech companies before entering government, including EarthLink Networks, SeeBeyond Technologies, and Sun Microsystems.