Colorado's first CIO gets fill of job

Paul Quade, Colorado's first-ever chief information officer, has a full plate in front of him for the 18 months he plans to serve under a "loaned executive" agreement that allowed him to accept the position.

Quade, former chairman of the state's Information Management Commission, said in an interview that he will immediately address the state's ongoing Y2K compliance efforts and plans to work on creating a statewide intranet system.

Also on his priority list is centralizing the state's information technology bureaucracy. There currently are 17 state agencies with IT departments, and Quade wants to centralize those functions for "better communication and a higher-quality product."

Quade said the state has a few Y2K projects that remain unresolved, which he plans to finish immediately upon his arrival.

Starting Sept. 1, Quade will work in the state's Office of Innovation and Technology under a arrangement with his current employer, Galileo International, an electronic services company specializing in the travel industry. Quade, a senior IT executive at Galileo, will continue to receive his salary during the loan period.

"I thought it would be, from a personal standpoint, a very challenging and exciting opportunity and one to bring benefit to the state," Quade said.

As CIO, Quade will be responsible for putting in place the governor's strategic IT agenda and will report to Technology Secretary Marc Holtzman. Colorado followed Virginia's lead in addressing IT as a cabinet-level position, Quade said, although Virginia does not have separate CIO and technology secretary positions.

"Marc [Holtzman] liked the Virginia model, and legislation was passed in May creating the CIO position," Quade said. "The two systems are very similar, and Colorado could evolve into the Virginia setup, but Marc also wanted someone with a very strong technical background and knowledge to establish the [CIO] position."

Quade, who will institute a mission statement as CIO, is working final scheduling kinks that will have him serve the state for about three weeks each month spend one week keeping up with new business at Galileo. He said he realizes that he has a lot of work ahead of him and is the first to admit that he can not do it alone.

"I'm looking for specific individuals to run the projects while I stay involved with the high-priority programs that go on," he said. "I have 12-to-18 month time frames planned out [for the projects] and need very highly qualified point people to execute those tasks."

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