Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the appointment and promotion of Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia as Chief Advisor for Technology and Cyber-Security, effective Feb. 18, 2014. The new executive leadership position was created to establish Hawaii as a premier technology and cyber-security hub in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to strengthen ties between Hawaii and Washington, D.C. in support of the state’s Business and Technology Transformation.
“Under Sonny’s exceptionally positive leadership and energy, the State of Hawaii has made great strides in developing a strong technology and security foundation, launching key programs to transform business and technology in the state, and charting a strong course for the future with a nationally recognized transformation plan,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Now more than ever, we need Sonny to help our state take the next step by representing Hawaii at a national level to ensure we establish a cohesive technology and cyber-security strategy, position Hawaii for future federal collaboration and investments, and encourage our community stakeholders to continue to support Hawaii’s technology transformation.”
The Governor also highlighted significant accomplishments by Bhagowalia and his extended CIO team over the past two and a half years in a detailed annual report, released today and available for download at the state Office of Information Management Technology (OIMT) website: http://oimt.hawaii.gov
With this change, OIMT’s two deputy CIOs will be promoted into new roles to facilitate the office’s transition from key foundational activities, such as planning and designing new systems, to implementation. Deputy CIO of Operations Keone Kali will succeed Bhagowalia as state CIO, while Deputy CIO of Business Transformation Randy Baldemor will join the Office of the Governor as Director of Strategic Initiatives, both also effective Feb. 18, 2014.
Since its creation in 2011, OIMT has made tremendous progress in three overarching strategic areas:
1. Reengineering “the way we do business” (on-line versus waiting in-line)
2. Modernizing and securing the technology infrastructure
3. Establishing transparency and accountability through governance
Accomplishments highlighted in the comprehensive CIO Annual Report include:
1. Aligning business and IT through four key programs (enterprise resource planning, tax, health IT, and business process reengineering)
2. Strengthening the state’s critical security and technology infrastructure through four key programs (consolidated infrastructure, enterprise shared services, enterprise security/privacy, and the Hawaii Broadband Initiative)
3. Implementing transparency and accountability through two key programs (open government and governance)
Departmental collaboration with OIMT, as explained in the report, further illustrates the depth and breadth of the transformation effort.
“The standard of excellence in leadership, program execution and teamwork set by Sonny provides a solid foundation for Hawaii’s future, and I commend him for his commitment and service to the people of the State of Hawaii,” Gov. Abercrombie added. “This is the right time to transition, and I am confident that Keone will maintain the high-quality execution of the state’s IT transformation plan and management of OIMT. In addition, Randy’s newly established position within my office demonstrates our commitment to furthering this effort, and it will facilitate the strategic alignment of priorities and resources on key business transformation initiatives as well as fostering greater coordination and collaboration across departments.”
Bhagowalia said: “I thank the Governor, my fellow directors, my extended ‘ohana’ of CIOs, all our staff, and the people of Hawaii for their unwavering support of the transformation. We are proud of the major accomplishments so far and excited about the road ahead for the great State of Hawaii. While I look forward to new horizons, I ask everyone for their continuing support of Hawaii’s next CIO, Keone, and Director of Strategic Initiatives, Randy, in their efforts to advance the transformation.”
Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia
Prior to being appointed as Hawaii’s first CIO in July 2011, Bhagowalia served for 11 years as a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and one year in as a Senior Level (SL) employee of the U.S. Government. He served as the Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) in Washington, D.C., supporting five national White House programs for the Federal CIO. He previously held two CIO executive leadership roles at the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education within the U.S. Department of the Interior. He also served with the FBI CIO within the U.S. Department of Justice for seven years as a SES (at Assistant Director level) and one year as a SL. In addition to his public sector experience, Bhagowalia served with distinction for 14.5 years as Chief Engineer/Manager at Boeing in support of Systems Integration and Business Development for U.S. Government Civilian, Defense and Intelligence Community Clients. He is a graduate from Syracuse University and Louisiana State University with Masters and Bachelor’s Degrees in Engineering and Management. He is a distinguished graduate (twice) from the National Defense University with CIO and IRM certification. He has won numerous national awards for executive excellence.
Kali was named Deputy CIO in November 2012 and brings 20 years of experience in information technology, business development, and management in both the public and private sector. He previously served as the Director of Information Technology and acting Chief Technology Officer for the Pacific Disaster Center on Maui. Kali was also the CIO for the City of Beverly Hills, where he designed, executed and managed a comprehensive five-year Information Technology Master Plan, transformed the city’s technology architecture to support highly-available and accessible public services, and formed new revenue generating programs. He is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.
Baldemor also joined OIMT over a year ago and brings to his new position 14 years of diverse business and government experience, including as deputy director of the state Department of Taxation, where he led the IT modernization efforts and business process re-engineering activities that significantly improved tax return processing and refund issuances. He has also served as president of software development company DiscoveryBox, assistant vice-president of claims for Island Insurance Companies, and litigation partner at Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel LLP. Baldemor received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Florida and earned his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law.
The new chief advisor and director positions are being funded through a grant from the Hawaii Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting quality of life improvements in the state.