Long Beach has named Lea Eriksen as its new director of technology and innovation.
Eriksen, interim director of the department since January, assumed the new role Friday. A veteran public servant with roughly 20 years of experience working for local government, Eriksen's resume includes economic development, budget, finance and, of course, technology.
Eriksen came to Long Beach City Hall four years ago as the budget manager before becoming assistant finance director.
“Ms. Eriksen has served as a leader since the first day she stepped into city hall,” City Manager Patrick West said in a June 22 press release. “From overseeing multi-billion-dollar budgets to managing critical projects for the city, she has excelled, and always puts the needs of our community first. Under Ms. Eriksen’s leadership, the city will experience exciting innovative technology initiatives that will help carry us forward.”
Elsewhere in the release announcing the appointment, city leaders continued to emphasize the importance of Eriksen having worked at the intersection of budgeting and tech in the past, noting that she “orchestrated the recent coordination of the city’s $67 million critical technology infrastructure program, which includes investment in citywide technology infrastructure, fiber master plan and other key information systems.”
As director of technology and innovation, Eriksen will oversee a department that includes 143 employees and a $44 million budget.
In March, CIO Bryan M. Sastokas left the city for the same position with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Under Sastokas' leadership, Long Beach worked with some of the most notable civic technology groups and initiatives in the country, including CityMart, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Code for America.
As interim director, Eriksen has overseen the department since Sastokas' exit. Kevin Lee, a spokesman for the city, said in an email that the city is not looking for a replacement CIO with that title, and that as director, Eriksen's position oversees and directs all tech and innovation work for Long Beach.
Before coming to Long Beach, she spent 16 years working within Cincinnati’s local government — the last seven of which she was budget director, a position in which she managed the development of that city’s $1.4 billion budget. Currently, Eriksen also serves as the city’s representative for the Board of Long Beach Transit.