Two state chief IT officers — CIO Chad Crowe of the Department of Human Resources, and CIO Jon Kirkham of the Department of Rehabilitation — were awarded CIO of the Year honors Thursday at the 2020 Public Sector CIO Academy Awards in Sacramento.

The awards are given by e.Republic, parent company of Techwire and Government Technology, in recognition of the IT leaders’ roles in tech procurement and governance. They were presented by Alan Cox, Executive Vice President of eRepublic. 

In addition, a host of state IT staffers were acknowledged with IT Leadership Awards for their service to the state. 

Herewith are overviews of the two CIO of the Year award winners, followed by the names and affiliations of those who were chosen for IT Leader of the Year awards.

Chad Crowe, Chief Information Officer, Department of Human Resources (CalHR)
In the four years since he became the CIO for the Department of Human Resources (CalHR), Crowe has demonstrated unwavering commitment to achieving goals for the department and for the State of California. Crowe is a visible leader and a pioneer of change. He has demonstrated the ability to create and implement a vision for statewide HR automation and data management through Enterprise Human Resources (EntHR). In addition to executing his other duties, Crowe acted as Project Manager during the 12-month effort to revamp and update the state jobs website, CalCareers. For the past three years, he has served on the Industry Advisory Committee of the Computer Science Department at California State University, Sacramento. Crowe leads by example and inspires employees and team members to take smart risks and to drive positive change in their professional lives. He motivates employees and team members with a clear dedication to creating a positive work environment for his staff. Crowe has also worked vigorously the past several years to improve and raise the information security posture of CalHR and continues to be instrumental for his support, vision, and guidance in this area.

Working with a team of state executives and leaders, Crowe spearheaded the effort among the Department of Technology, the State Controller’s Office, and the Department of Human Resources to successfully initiate the Enterprise HR initiative to streamline the automation of HR processes statewide. Crowe was responsible for helping define and implement the data model for the Enterprise Core Record which is designed to become the database system that can eventually become the state’s main source of tracking an employee throughout their entire state career without the use of SSNs as a unique identifier. In addition to the hands-on technical and management assistance Crowe provided to this effort, he was successful in acquiring full time permanent positions to dedicate to Enterprise HR. It is no understatement to say that the Enterprise HR initiative has the potential to have a profound impact on the improvement of statewide HR information management and that Crowe has been the key player in its success thus far. Crowe also did the primary work of establishing the governance committee for the Enterprise HR initiative. Crowe is an exemplary Chief Information Officer and deserves to be recognized for his exceptional service.

Jon Kirkham, Chief Information Officer, Department of Rehabilitation
DOR Chief Information Officer Jon Kirkham shows that small departments can have a huge impact. In addition to his “day job” as the DOR CIO, Jon is the state’s technology champion and trusted advisor for accessibility, providing leadership so disabled Californians can use the state’s critical digital services.

As CIO, Kirkham led the modernization of DOR’s technology environment and has improved IT’s ability to deliver program outcomes, but his most notable achievements are in his leadership as a voice for disabled Californians.

Before Kirkham, California’s disabled people did not have a voice in the state’s technology community, and the state struggled to find an accessibility leader. While accessibility is everyone’s responsibility, Jon made it his mission to raise awareness of accessibility issues, develop strategies to remediate inaccessible content and technology systems, and provide proactive leadership on accessibility years before 2017’s Assembly Bill 434 (AB 434). Assembly Bill 434 was a watershed event for California state government, requiring state websites to maintain full accessibility compliance and requiring California state directors and CIOs to self-certify that their sites comply.

Kirkham's accessibility leadership pre-dates AB 434 and includes the following:

  • Serving as California Department of Technology’s (CDT) expert for the 2016 SIMM 25 California IT Accessibility Resource Guide
  • Establishing interagency agreements for DOR to consult with departments on accessibility
  • Serving as Executive Sponsor for ITLA 24, Access IT California. As Executive Sponsor of a project that drove Accessibility in Information Technology, Kirkham also coached and mentored ITLA participants to make sure they understood accessibility
  • Educating other state departments about the need for accessibility and ways to achieve it. He and his DOR staff are the state’s go-to accessibility source, guiding the Governor’s Office, all state Agencies, CDT, and more than 50 departments in the AB 434 compliance including:
    • Leading remediation efforts like the implementation of an optical character recognition (OCR) bot to automatically render inaccessible basic text usable
    • Working with vendors to bring OCR Text into properly formatted documents, to create a more usable document for the blind
    • Creating and maintaining a 400-member Web Accessibility Community of Practice where state departments collaborate to share strategies, fixes, and approaches to improve access
    • Growing the list of vendors able to help with accessibility needs
    • Helping more than 50 departments with strategies to accomplish certification, and consulting with departments that have complex remediation needs

IT LEADERSHIP AWARDS 2020

  • Christopher Eddy, IT Specialist II, California Department of Technology
  • Marc Grijalva, Customer Delivery Unit Manager, California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • Dale Chisum, Information Security Officer, California Natural Resources Agency
  • Rob Trojan, Oversight Manager, Information Technology Manager I, Department of Finance
  • Todd Reyes, Enterprise Data Governance Manager – IT Manager I, Franchise Tax Board
  • Sherri Winfree, Budgets, Business Operations and IT Contracts Manager, California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • Michael Hanley, IT Associate, California Department of Technology
  • Dana Fernandez, Chief Application Architect, Department of Water Resources
  • Abbie Humfeld, Intake and Release Services Manager – IT Manager I, Franchise Tax Board
  • Mike Marshall, Agency Information Security Officer, California Environmental Protection Agency
  • Dan Marksbury, Chief Technology Officer, CALFIRE
  • Tony Tran, Division Chief CDPH
  • Stacey Cunningham, IT Supervisor II, Department of Water Resources
  • Geetha Swaminathan, IT Specialist II, CalPERS, Information Technology Services Branch
  • Jefferson Willoughby, Chief Information Officer, California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board
  • Manoj Beeravelli, Chief Technology Officer, California Environmental Protection Agency
  • Shayne Van Outryve, Project Manager, CalPERS, Information Technology Services Branch
  • Alan Anderson, Chief of Database Management Services Section, Department of Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal)
  • Gene Parker, IT Manager I, Business Applications, Application Innovation Services, California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS)
  • Kerry Jones, IT Supervisor II, California Department of Technology
  • Christopher Rouse,  Technical Supervisor, CalCareers/ECOS, Department of Human Resources (CalHR)
  • Dang Tran, Chief of Server Management Section, Department of Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal)
  • Pa Vue, IT Asset Lead and Workstation Security Analyst, Covered California
  • Sandra Coash, IT Supervisor II, Network/Server Administration, Network and Server Operations, California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS)
  • Nelson Mina, IT Manager I, Systems Engineering & Storage Management, CalPERS, Information Technology Services Branch (ITSB)
  • Chitra Chitturi, IT Manager I, Enterprise Operational Support, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
  • Erina Lucchesini Soria, Manager, Employment Development Department
  • Chuck Harris, IT Manager I, California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
  • James Rawlins, Manager, Infrastructure Services, California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation
  • Alex Tran, IT Specialist l, Covered California
  • Paul Allen, IT Manager I, Mobile/Web Applications & Web Support, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
  • Jeff Mullen, Supervisor, Employment Development Department
  • Tracey Allen, Information Security Officer, Covered California
  • Derek Campbell, Network Engineer, Covered California
  • Gloria Fong, Enterprise Application Services Branch Chief (acting), Department of Developmental Services
  • Thanh Diep, Enterprise Applications Development Manager (EAD), IT Manager I, California Department of Managed Health Care
  • Brent Coe, Chief Information Officer, California Tahoe Conservancy
  • Erica Chan, Supervisor, Technology Services Division (TSD), IT Supervisor II, California Department of Managed Health Care
  • Corleen Lambert, IT Manager I, California Highway Patrol
  • Sarb Takhar, Chief Technology Officer, Department of Water Resources
  • Isaac Ryland, IT Supervisor II, California Highway Patrol
  • James Azevedo, Technical Services Branch Chief (acting), Department of Developmental Services
  • Brian Mays, IT Manager I, California Medicaid Management Information Systems (CA-MMIS) Division
  • Scott Le, IT Supervisor II, California Conservation Corp (CCC)
  • Sharon Sweet, ITS Supervisor II, Secretary of State, Information Technology Division
  • Sharon Nicholson, PMO Chief, Department of Toxic Substances Control
  • Dr. Linette Scott, CHHS Data Leader, Chief Data Officer, California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), Health and Human Services Agency
  • Katherine Spiess, Data Services Engineer, California Natural Resources Agency
  • Sam Hayashi, IT Specialist II, Statewide Innovation group, California Department of Technology