Steven VanRoekel was named the second-ever federal chief information officer this week. VanRoekel is no stranger to government. He most recently worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Before that he was at the Federal Communications Commission and Microsoft.
VanRoekel will be taking over where Vivek Kundra leaves off – leading an IT community that has been charged with helping the government save money via data center consolidation and using newer, innovative technologies like cloud computing. Under his leadership, the FCC was the first agency to take its full web presence to a FISMA-compliant cloud.
“What I really saw at the Federal Communications Commission is that this notion of re-imagining government in the context of the pace of innovation of private industry can be done in government,” VanRoekel said at a White House press briefing this week. “And it can be done in such a way that can save money, save resources and everything else. We were in lock step with Vivek’s team here on data center consolidation, our cloud-first policy and using tools like TechStat and all of that, even though we were an independent agency we were doing everything to close that productivity gap and make things better. I saw what could be done. Now I’m really excited about the ability to take that work and scale it to the broader notion of government and take the momentum and impact things broadly.”
VanRoekel will have one week on the job with Kundra before Kundra leaves for a fellowship at Harvard University, but it’s clear the work Kundra started will be expanded upon under the new CIO.
“Vivek’s work was really the first step in a larger rework of government IT,” VanRoekel said. “It lays an amazing foundation on which we can build a new set of phenomenon. Looking at things like more in the open government space, looking at shared services across agencies, looking at procurement, purchase and IT investment models are something I really want to explore. This is all very early thinking, of course. These are all things I’ve struggled with at the FCC, that we found creative ways to work in the context of government, and I’m excited that can actually scale pretty broadly.”