CIO shuffle continues: USPTO, USITC find new ones

The movement in the federal chief information officer’s community has been quiet over the last few months. But two agencies finally filled CIO positions that have been open for almost a year.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office named Henry “Jamie” Holcombe to replace John Owens, who left in November 2017. David Chiles, PTO’s chief technology officer, has been acting CIO since Owens left to work for CGI Federal as its vice president of its Solution Development for Emerging Technologies Practice.

Holcombe starts at PTO on Feb. 25, coming to the agency after a career in the public sector.

He is leaving his position as vice president and general manager at Harris Corp., where he was responsible for the delivery of communications and IT services to federal intelligence, defense and civilian markets as well as commercial telecom, energy and e-commerce customers.

In addition to Harris, Holcombe worked at the Universal Service Administrative Company, Globix Corporation in New York, and served as chief operating officer of TJ Westlake and chief executive officer of Visium Technologies, focusing on cybersecurity at both companies.

Henry “Jamie” Holcombe, CIO, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

“Our legacy IT systems are old and it is well beyond time to undertake a fundamental stabilization and modernization effort. As our new CIO, Jamie will have a unique opportunity to help the USPTO improve these systems and transition our agency to state-of-the-art technology,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu in a statement.

Holcombe’s priorities at USPTO are well known. He will continue to decrease the patent backlog and modernize both the patent and trademark systems. Owens modernized the bureau’s processes by implementing dev/sec/ops.

Holcombe holds a Master of Science in computer science from George Washington University, and a Master of Business Administration from Chaminade University. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he finished first in his class in computer science.

CIOs shifting among small agencies

In addition to the USPTO, the U.S. International Trade Commission replaced its CIO with an internal candidate.

Keith Vaughn, who joined the agency in 2011 as its chief data architect, replaces Kirit Amin, who left in January 2018. Vaughn also was acting CIO from January to September 2018.

Before coming to USITC, Vaughn worked at several contractors in senior level positions, including The Ambit Group, SI International and Zen Technology.

As the CIO, he will develop and manage the agency’s information technology budget, work with offices throughout the agency to ensure that their information technology requirements were met, strengthen the agency’s network security and direct a number of crucial information technology modernization and enhancement efforts.

Two other small agencies have put out the “help wanted” sign for CIOs.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation posted a job notice on USAJobs.gov that closes on Feb. 22.

MCC’s previous CIO, Vincent Groh, passed away unexpectedly in October, according to the agency’s release.

“Vince was an important member of the management team, and a respected leader who demonstrated compassion and teamwork. He was committed to working with others to find solutions, and empowered his team to provide best in class services to the agency,” the agency states. “Through his passion for MCC’s mission, and dedication to his work, Vince embodied the finest values of MCC. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones. He will be profoundly missed.”

Christopher Ice, MCC’s senior director of production operations in the office of the CIO, has been acting CIO since October.

Groh was a guest on Ask the CIO in August 2017 where he talked about how he was planning on moving MCC to the cloud and stop spending on commodity technologies.

Additionally, the Institute of Library and Museum Services is hiring a new CIO. Ben Sweezy, who started as the CIO in January 2018, changed positions and is now the deputy director of the Office of Digital and Information Strategy.

It’s unclear if Sweezy, a former Office of Management and Budget IT policy analyst, or Eugene Block, the deputy CIO at ILMS, is currently acting CIO.

The USAJobs.gov notice closes on Feb. 22 and states that the CIO role oversees both their office and the Office of Digital and Information Strategy.

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