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San Joaquin County Names CIO to Succeed Cruz

The delta county’s new CIO, Mark Thomas, succeeds two award-winning predecessors. San Joaquin has a newly implemented three-year innovation plan in place and contracts with a barge company to house its disaster recovery and backup operations on a floating data center in the Port of Stockton.

San Joaquin County has a new chief information officer and director of its Information Systems Division.

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Mark Thomas, San Joaquin County CIO.
Mark Thomas is the new CIO, having been elevated from his role as CIO of San Joaquin General Hospital, a public teaching hospital in French Camp.

San Joaquin County government has stepped up its focus on technology, innovation and cybersecurity in the past couple of years, including publication last November of a Digital Services and Innovation Strategy. The county also became a pioneer agency among governments through its revolutionary use of a barge as a floating data center.

Thomas succeeds two award-winning predecessors.

Most recently, Chris Cruz held the CIO/director role for two years, following more than 30 years of government service capped by his appointment as deputy state CIO and chief deputy director of the California Department of Technology. Cruz left San Joaquin County in April and joined the private sector, accepting a position with Tanium as chief information officer for state and local government across the U.S. While with the state, Cruz was chosen as one of Government Technology’s* Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers.

The San Joaquin County CIO before Cruz was Jerry Becker, who was recognized for his achievements through his selection in 2018 as a CIO of the Year by the California Public Sector CIO Academy.* Cruz succeeded Becker when Becker, now retired, was promoted to the role of San Joaquin’s assistant county administrator.

Thomas, the new CIO, has been in IT for almost 25 years, having held executive roles before joining the hospital as CIO in 2018. In his LinkedIn profile, he describes himself as an “accomplished leader and health-care technologist experienced in implementing and evolving systems to enable business success, and inspiring teams to deliver superior performance.”

Cruz told Techwire on Friday: “Mark is a true talent and will do a great job for the county as my successor. Mark is committed to working with government technology and ensuring there is representation at government events.”

Techwire has reached out to Thomas for comment.

The tech exec collaborated in March with a county tech colleague on an article about the county health system’s “quantum leap” in disaster preparedness through use of hybrid cloud and network technologies.

Thomas earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from UC Berkeley and his master’s in business administration, with finance and health informatics concentrations, from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Liautaud Graduate School of Business. He is involved with the California Association of Health Care Leaders, according to his LinkedIn profile.

*Government Technology and the California Public Sector CIO Academy are part of e.Republic, as is Techwire.
Dennis Noone is Managing Editor of Techwire. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in the Northern California foothills.