NASA names acting CIO; GSA gains one executive, loses another

No matter how much changes in the daily lives of federal employees and contractors, the one constant is federal and industry executives will get new jobs.

Over the past few weeks, the changes maybe have been less dramatic but still significant.

Jeff Seaton assumes the interim role as NASA chief information officer. He has been the deputy CIO since 2018. Renee Wynn, the NASA CIO for the last four years, retired on April 30.

Jeff Seaton is the acting chief information officer at NASA.

“Previous to this appointment [as acting CIO], Seaton served as the deputy CIO where he supported the leadership and integration of NASA corporate and mission critical IT functions and capabilities, as well as oversaw NASA’s annual IT spending of more than $2 billion,” states an agencywide memo, which SpaceRef.com obtained and a NASA spokesman confirmed. “He collaboratively provided oversight for agencywide, mission-enabling functions related to IT investments, IT modernization efforts, cybersecurity, and the delivery of enterprisewide IT and information solutions.”

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Seaton came to NASA headquarters after spending seven years as CIO of Langley Research Center. During that time, he led efforts in both the Langley and CIO enterprise across the agency to increase effectiveness and accountability of the services provided by the organization. Seaton joined NASA in 1991 as an electrical engineer conducting robotics research.

During his tenure as acting CIO—depending on how long it lasts, of course—Seaton will continue to push forward NASA’s reimagining of its IT organization. He also will further the move to be more of a customer-centric IT organization.

NASA’s IT budget for fiscal 2020 is $2.3 billion and 60% of its projects are on schedule and 74% are meeting budget expectations, according to the Federal IT Dashboard.

Over at the General Services Administration, Vera Ashworth will join the IT category team in the Federal Acquisition Service as a deputy assistant commissioner for ITC. Her first day will be May 26.

Ashworth comes to GSA after spending the last 15 years as vice president at CGI-Federal. In that role, she led CGI-Federal’s strategy and innovation efforts across three agencies, the departments of State and Commerce and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Ashworth also helped implement the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) for federal clients.

Ashworth joins Laura Stanton, who is becoming the acting assistant commissioner of ITC when Bill Zielinski leaves in June, and Keith Nakasone as deputy assistant commissioners.

This is Ashworth’s second stint in government. She worked at the Environmental Protection Agency for eight years in the early 1990s.

GSA also lost a key contributor. Jay Huie left at the end of April to work for the government of the District of Columbia as the chief information officer of Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

He joined GSA in 2015 as an innovation specialist for the 18F organization. Then Huie moved to be the cloud portfolio manager for the Technology Transformation Service.

Huie spent a year as a White House leadership fellow working on the data strategy and developing policies around IP version 6, automated technologies and shared services.

Jay Huie left GSA to work for the government of the District of Columbia as the chief information officer of Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

Since returning to GSA in 2019, he was the deputy assistant commissioner and acting assistant commissioner of GSA’s Office of Products and Programs, which focused on an assortment of initiatives including Data.gov, Challenge.gov, the 21st Century and the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act.

Finally, Rory Schultz, a long-time Agriculture Department technology executive, hopped over to the private sector. In April, Schultz became a portfolio manager for Salient CRGT.

Schultz announced in January that he planned to retire after more than 32 years of federal services, including the last 10 at USDA where he was deputy CIO for the Food and Nutrition Service and later client executive responsible for the customer relationship management (CRM) program, which served USDA bureaus and other federal customers.

Schultz began his federal career as a summer intern and research analyst with the Executive Office of the President during the Reagan administration.  After college, he returned as a GS-4 research analyst with the records management branch at the Department of the Treasury.