The Information Technology Industry Council is re-energizing its public sector advocacy and strategy group by hiring a big name federal chief information officer.
Gordon Bitko, the FBI CIO, will join the trade association in November as its senior vice president of policy. In that role, he will lead ITI’s public sector portfolio, serving as the chief policy strategist for the technology industry in the government and public sector market.
“We were looking for a unicorn for this position, and he is that unicorn,” said Jason Oxman, ITI’s president and CEO, in an interview with Federal News Network. “Gordon brings an unbelievable mix of two of the primary areas that we were looking for: An expertise in federal IT and procurement, and public policy issues. He is a CIO with the FBI, has private sector experience, and has a Ph.D. in public policy. He understands the full range of issues that he will need to cover to continue to ITI’s position as the best trade association on public sector IT and public policy issues.”
Bitko has been with the FBI since 2007 and became the CIO in 2016. Before joining the bureau, Bitko worked at the RAND Corporation from 2002-2007, as a policy analyst and doctoral fellow. He began his career in the private sector with Motorola before working at two startups.
Bitko has a bachelor’s in engineering from Princeton; a master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley; an MBA from Arizona State University; and a doctorate from the Pardee RAND Graduate School.
Bitko’s charge will be to bring ITI’s public sector practice back into the federal community. ITI dissolved the IT Alliance for Public Sector (ITAPS) in October 2018, deciding to bring all the activity in house.
While ITI still participated in federal government policy issues, including commenting on the Federal Data Strategy and the General Services Administration’s e-commerce platform draft solicitation, its standing in the community was not as strong as it was with ITAPS.
ITI created ITAPS out of the ashes of the old TechAmerica in 2013. ITAPS grew and remained a strong voice in the federal sector until ITI abruptly decided to disband ITAPS and its staff five years later.
Oxman, who joined ITI six months ago, said it was clear when he started that the association’s members wanted more around public sector policy work.
“One of the first things I did when I came on board was talk to our members about their needs and their policy priorities. Public sector policy issues was on the list of pretty much every member that I talked to,” he said. “We didn’t have the resources internally to meet the needs of our members. So with Gordon coming on board and the five-person team he will have, we will have the resources to address these issues.”
Bitko will focus on all public sector policy matters, including federal and state procurement rules and regulations, public sector supply chain risk management and security, federal IT modernization, government acquisition, and implementation of cybersecurity as well as other innovative products and services.
Oxman said ITI’s membership has grown by 10% over the last six months and most members have a federal sector presence, which makes re-energizing the public sector group more important than ever.
“Two things that are across-the-board important to our members are encouraging the government to invest in digital infrastructure so we have the best IT systems, the most secure IT systems and the most robust and functional IT systems. We want to make sure the government makes those investments in the same way they invest in roads and bridges at all levels,” he said. “Second, we want to make sure the public policy environment the government operates in, the rules of the road if you will, are conducive to those kinds of investments.”
“Having worked with ITI members in both public and private sector capacities, I understand the important relationship between the technology industry and agencies at all levels of government,” Bitko said in a news release. “I look forward to using my experience to build on ITI’s ongoing work to help companies navigate the complex policy landscape and advance innovation-focused solutions in the public space.”