Washington state’s engineering agency is hiring new leaders


Washington state has made several key technology hires this year, which officials said will expand the state chief information officer’s capacity to sponsor major projects and oversee modernization efforts already underway.

In recent months, Washington Technology Solutions has brought on board a new chief information security officer, along with filling several new positions, including a chief of staff, a chief data officer and a chief technology officer. Washington CIO Bill Kehoe told StateScoop that these hires will enable him to more effectively manage statewide efforts on cybersecurity, digital services, data analytics and enterprise architecture.

“Without those positions, we were missing really important leadership around our strategic technology at the state,” Kehoe said. “So this should really accelerate data strategy, technology strategy, standardization, project success for large enterprises, so it’s exciting.”

One of the key new hires is Kehoe’s chief of staff, Amy Pearson. Having served as a project manager, analyst and management consultant for the Washington Departments of Social Services, Commerce and Technology for the past 24 years, Pearson said she relies on her experience and statewide connections to handle Kehoe’s workload. relieved.

“He cannot be everywhere all the time and therefore needs a person who is strong with networking and building relationships and really tries to help solve or answer questions or offer or strengthen perspective that helps to project and programs and agencies moving forward,” Pearson said.

Washington is in the midst of several half-billion-dollar projects, including One Washington, a broad initiative to modernize administrative functions for finance, procurement, budget, resources and payroll, Pearson said. She said her job is to provide a level of oversight and “mentorship” for state agencies that WaTech has not offered before.

“A lot of these efforts are really business modernization and lean in to help agencies make sure the business side and the vision and the goals and the team is set up to be successful before they even buy their IT solution,” Pearson said. “That’s where I spend a lot of my time with agencies, helping with that pre-planning or problem solving to help agencies make informed decisions.”

WaTech also hired Nicholas Stowe, most recently the state’s chief enterprise architect, in March to serve as its new CTO. Stowe’s worked for the state government since 2018, including stints as CIO of its trade and employment departments. Like Pearson, Stowe said his role is to provide support for Kehoe.

“His executive sponsorship can get really thin when we have so many really critical initiatives, and so one of the roles that I have is making sure that where he is the executive sponsor for projects like the identity and access management initiative , we are makes sponsorship easy for him,” said Stowe. “He gives us a vision and we design the strategies and the approach and do a lot of the stakeholders and collaboration.”

As CTO, Stowe is responsible for a new WaTech architecture and innovation division. It oversees several statewide initiatives, including the geospatial information systems program, an enterprise architecture program and a data program, which is led by Washington’s new chief data officer, Irene Vidyanti, who arrived in March from the Los Angeles County Office of the CIO , where Kehoe once worked.

Stowe said that his office in July will also begin a two-year, $3 million legacy modernization and innovation program. The program provides funding for agencies that have ideas for technological innovation or ways to reduce the state’s reliance on old technology. Stowe said the program, which received its first funding from the state Legislature, formalizes a flavor of modernization efforts that became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We already know we’re going to get more demand for the program than we have funding available,” he said.

The new officials said that together, their hires will allow Kehoe to make good on his mission to support technology in a state government of nearly 70,000 employees.

“A lot of these people are experts for their program and not necessarily experts in running big, big projects,” said Pearson, the chief of staff. “So a lot of what we do I consider mentoring executive sponsors and project managers in how to run strong projects.”

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