Head of IT at State Emergency Entity Heads to Private Sector


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The technology leader of a central state emergency entity — closely engaged in responses to COVID-19 and the California wildfires — is returning to the private sector.

beth cousinsthe California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services‘, who joined the office in February 2020 just before it went into pandemic response mode, will head to Yellow Wood Recovery in Rancho Cordova, where his daughter is CEO. The cousins’ role will be that of chief operating officer, she said Techwire. Her last day as CIO will be May 20 and she will begin her new role quickly. Cal OES Chief Information Security Officer Michael Crews will serve as interim CIO, office said Techwire by e-mail, and the recruitment of a new permanent CIO is imminent.

This marks a considerable transition for the 30-year-old chief technology officer, whose resume includes more than a decade at IBM ending as a project manager; time as IT Development Manager at Target Technology Services at Target Corp. ; and before joining the state, nearly 12 years with the city of Minneapolis, finishing as assistant CIO and director of IT business development.

“What I will miss most about the public sector – and I worked there for a while – but here is really a great team and colleagues. OES is an honorable place to work. It really is. I loved it,” Cousins ​​said. “And what I love about the public sector, whether here or elsewhere, is the work that I do is community driven. And that matches my personal value system.

The IT manager said she was most proud of “transforming the IT division through reorganization, elevation of existing positions and IT modernization BCPs.” The latter refers to budget change proposals, which state entities submit during the annual state budget cycle to increase staff and fund projects in areas such as IT.

At Cal OES, Cousins ​​said, she was able to add 11 positions and “several” technology solutions through an IT modernization BCP that enabled the integration of a data architect, an infrastructure architect and two analysts. data, among others. The office was also able to obtain funds for modernization in areas such as timekeeping, budgeting, HR, mutual aid command and fleet management. A second BCP of IT modernization — phase two, essentially — is planned for this year in conjunction with Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed state budget review in May, scheduled for later this month.

Returning to the private sector, of course, means the CIO won’t be able to witness first-hand the culmination of the IT modernization efforts he led.

“I would love to be there to support them and see these new programs that we are establishing, just within IT,” she said, referring to data architecture and GIS work, which has been integrated into computers. Cousins ​​said she was also “very excited” about the staffing and construction of the new Wildfire Prediction and Threat Intelligence Integration Center – capitalized with more than $5.6 million in general funds in fiscal year 2021-22 and 11 positions in the Budget of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for the fiscal year 2021-2022 – which was created by the state Senate Bill 209of the senator. Bill Dodd, D-Napa. Generally, the legislation aims to strengthen the state’s response and resilience to wildfires.

Techwire will know more in the coming days following his conversation with the outgoing IOC.


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