NASA, Energy, Commerce rearrange seats in CIO’s office

The federal technology community is seeing a lot of key senior executives switch roles or leave government, including new officials in charge of data analytics ...

Jason Miller: NASA, Energy, Commerce rearrange seats in CIO’s office

NASA and the Energy Department are going through major changes in their chief information officer’s shop.

Let’s start with Energy. Rod Turk, the department’s chief information security officer for about year, is heading back to the Commerce Department in the same capacity. Turk came to Energy from Commerce in August 2014.

Sources say the opportunity to work for Commerce CIO Steve Cooper was too good for Turk to pass up.

But other sources say there may be something more going on at Energy.

Michael Johnson, Energy CIO since March, looks to be doing a major reorganization of his office. Sources say other long-time Energy IT officials may be on the move as well or at least changing roles in a significant way.

Turk is at least the second senior executive to leave Energy since April when Don Adcock, the deputy CIO at the time, took a job with the private sector. Adcock now is executive director of global operations at ActioNet, an IT security and software company.

So be on the lookout for other major personnel and organizational changes at Energy in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile at NASA, as we reported in last week’s notebook, Larry Sweet is indeed retiring, but it’s happening sooner — by Nov. 30 — and he’ll be out as the CIO later this month.

An email obtained by Federal News Radio says Sweet told staff members that Renee Wynn will be his permanent replacement, starting Sept. 26.

Meanwhile, Sweet will work on, what one source termed, “special projects” for his final two months before retirement.

Wynn came over to NASA in July after spending her 24-year federal career with the Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s interesting that NASA chose Wynn so quickly without going through a formal hiring process. It’s not that Wynn isn’t qualified — she served as acting EPA CIO previously — but the NASA CIO position is a coveted executive role for both its mission and opportunities, and for it stature. But maybe NASA management didn’t want another internal candidate after Sweet and Linda Cureton, whom Sweet replaced, both came from NASA centers.

The other question is whether Wynn will follow in Johnson, Veterans Affairs Department CIO LaVerne Council, and Transportation Department CIO Richard McKinney footsteps to change over staff and organizational focus.

Other changes in the CIO community

Commerce’s CIO Cooper is not only adding Turk, but Renee Macklin too.

Macklin left as the CIO at the Small Business Administration earlier this summer and joined Commerce as its director for IT services, heading up the agency’s new shared services organization. Sources say she is leading Commerce’s work for IT shared services and supporting the technology underlying shared services for acquisition, human resources and finance.

Macklin came to SBA in December 2013 after spending the previous 14 years at Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

Keith Bluestein, who has been deputy CIO at SBA since May, takes over as interim CIO until the agency hires a permanent executive.

The Social Security Administration also quickly moved to replace its CIO. Bill Zielinski, SSA’s deputy commissioner for systems and CIO since August 2013, left for a detail at the Office of Management and Budget to lead the “agency oversight team.”

SSA updated its website saying Robert Klopp is the new CIO and deputy commissioner. Klopp has been SSA’s chief technology officer since January and before that worked in industry, most recently at SAP and EMC.

Zielinski’s new role at OMB isn’t entirely clear. The agency oversight team for the CIO’s office is a new construct.

Zielinski will oversee part of the FedSTAT process, which OMB introduced in May as part of agency’s fiscal 2017 budget process. But the federal CIO’s portion of FedSTAT isn’t entirely clear, nor is it certain from the link on the CIO Council’s blog as to whether it is indeed the aforementioned FedSTAT process or the Fedstats effort around better managing federal statistics.

NSA, FERC also shuffle CIO roles

The National Security Agency brought on Greg Smithberger to be its CIO earlier this summer, replacing Lonny Anderson, who remains with the agency in a different position. No further details were available about either gentleman.

Sanjay Sardar, a well-respected and familiar figure in the federal community, moved on in July from the CIO of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

According to Sardar’s LinkedIn profile, he joined SAIC as its vice president of data sciences.

FERC hasn’t updated its website about who is the acting CIO.

In non-CIO news, the General Services Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency join the growing ranks of agencies with a chief data officer or chief data scientist.

Kris Rowley, became GSA’s CDO in late April after previously working for the agency’s Office of Governmentwide Policy, where he stood up a performance management line of business and developed an application to standardize and collect performance management data.

Rowely has been with the government for more than 13 years, which included stints at the IRS, OMB and the Treasury Department.

Over at EPA, Robin Thottungal will be joining as the division director for the Environmental Analysis Division (EAD) within the Office of Information Analysis and Access, and as the chief data scientist.

An email from EPA CIO Ann Dunkin, which Federal News Radio obtained, said Thottungal starts later this month after spending most of his career in the private sector.

Most recently, Thottungal worked at Deloitte Consulting where he focused on large scale analytics projects for public sector and commercial clients. He also led the global big data community of practice for Deloitte, developing analytical frameworks and go-to market strategy for big data and analytics solutions.

Additionally, Thottungal is the vice-chairman for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Washington D.C. section as well as the chapter chairman for IEEE Computational and Intelligence society.

This post is part of Jason Miller’s Inside the Reporter’s Notebook feature. Read more from this edition of Jason’s Notebook.

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