The end of the calendar year usually brings a flurry of federal executives moving into new jobs or retiring, and this one is no different.
Among the biggest loses is Matthew Cornelius, who left the Office of Management and Budget after almost three years to become the executive director of the Alliance for Digital Innovation (ADI), an industry association. His first day at ADI was Dec. 9.
“Commercial innovation is essential for a modern digital government. While at OMB, Matthew was a true thought-leader driving cloud-forward technologies into the federal government,” said Rich Beutel, who is on the board of directors of ADI and helped get the association started, in an email to Federal News Network. “We welcome Matthew as the new executive director to drive our message on a full-time basis going forward.”
Cornelius is another one of those behind-the-scenes OMB policy folks who make a significant difference and important contributions that most people don’t realize.
During his time at OMB, he worked on implementing the Modernization Government Technology Act and ensured the IT modernization goals of the President’s Management Agenda were met.
“I’m leaving at a good time for me and for the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer,” Cornelius said in an interview. “I was looking for an opportunity to step away and take on a smaller and more nimble organization and this seemed like a good opportunity. I want to see what life is like outside of government.”
The one skill he will definitely take with him is the ability to herd cats. As an industry association executive, Cornelius is used to getting different organizations to see the way forward.
During his tenure at OMB, Cornelius said he was most proud of getting the MGT Act passed and then helping to implement it, including the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF).
“It is very rare you get to build new program with such a high level of visibility among Congress, the administration and industry. It was a tremendous learning experience,” he said. “TMF will benefit agencies far beyond the $125 million appropriated and the $90 million loaned out across the nine projects. It has changed the way agencies think about how to fund and how to bet better results for IT projects.”
He said he’s also proud of the progress and successes of IT modernization in the PMA in terms of helping agencies provide better and more responsive services.
At ADI, Cornelius says he wants to continue to improve the federal market’s capabilities for buying and using technology.
“The first thing I plan to do is talk with our member organization and understand the goals of those companies,” he said. “How can put in place better policies that lead to a new way of thinking about these technology and acquisition problems that have plagued government for so long. What are the best ways we can partner with the government to move in a cohesive direction.”
ADI launched in 2018 and there is concern among some in industry that it’s mostly to promote the view of Amazon Web Services and its partners. There currently are 17 members listed on ADI’s website, including Salesforce, Vertitas, Telos and VMWare.
Along with OMB, Cornelius worked at the General Services Administration and the Treasury Department during his five-year stint in government.
It’s unclear who will replace Cornelius at OMB.
VA, OPM, USDA tech leaders on the move
The Department of Veterans Affairs is losing a key technology executive, while the Office of Personnel Management, the Federal Communications Commission and the Agriculture Department are bringing new ones on.
Bill James, the deputy assistant secretary for development and operations at VA’s Office of Information and Technology, left the government after three years.
A VA spokesman confirmed James left in early December and the agency hasn’t named a replacement yet.
During his tenure at VA, James helped move VA toward a dev/ops culture, focusing on mission and customer engagement on the front-end.
One of his big successes was helping to launch the updated version of VA.gov that sparked more code sharing that ended up increasing health care applications by 51%, and a more than 200% increase in utilizing the MyVA311 number.
At USDA, Tim McCrosson is joining as an associate CIO for the Client Experience Center in the Office of the CIO.
In that role, he will lead the delivery of technology, associated operations security and technical-support services to more than 45,000 USDA end users located in more than 3,400 field, state, and headquarters offices across the U.S. and its territories.
He comes to USDA from the Department of Homeland Security where he spent the last two-plus years as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s deputy chief of the cyber performance branch.
In that role, McCrosson worked in the Federal Network Resilience Division to help agencies understand cybersecurity challenges and support decisions to better protect government data and systems. He also worked with agencies to collect governmentwide Federal Information Security Management Act data, hold CyberStat sessions and consider new methods for making risk-informed decisions.
While McCrosson comes to USDA, Francisco Salguero is leaving the agency to become the FCC’s CIO.
He comes to OPM from the Department of Health and Human Services, where he spent nine years working in assorted roles including the last two as the executive officer to the agency’s CIO.
In the acquisition community, Jaime Garcia is joining the IRS after spending the last two years as the section chief for Contract and Finance Management for the National Risk Management Center (NRMC) at DHS.
Garcia, who announced the new job at LinkedIn, will be an acquisition manager for the tax agency working to create innovative and agile contracts.
A couple of other noteworthy changes you may have missed over the last few months:
Ed Wilson, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for cyber policy since February 2018 left on Nov. 15.
Earl Warrington left GSA after 24 years to join the Small Business Administration. Warrington is the IT program manager for SBA after serving in a variety of roles at GSA including as the assistant deputy associate administrator in the old Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies and director of category management.
Marcy Jacobs left as the executive director of VA’s digital service to join McKinsey and Company as an associate partner. Jacobs, who also spent two years working for the U.S. Digital Service, won a 2018 Service to America medal for her work to improve Vets.gov.
If you know of other “people on the move” in the federal community, don’t hesitate to send me a note.