EDS taps Engler

EDS last week took steps to position itself as a premier provider of information technology services to state and local government by hiring former Michigan Gov. John Engler.

Engler, a three-term governor with tech savvy and political connections, has been appointed president of EDS' state and local government and vice president of government solutions for North America.

Engler "has run a quarter-billion- dollar business called the state of Michigan," said Al Edmonds, president of EDS' federal sector. "He took what I thought was the rust-belt state of Michigan [and turned it] into a high-tech state."

At a press conference in Detroit Jan. 20, EDS also announced that it's adding even more firepower to its state and local practice with the appointment of former Arkansas Medicaid Director Ray Hanley as vice president for state health and human services, reporting to Engler.

As the Republican governor of one of the biggest states in the country, Engler created the Department of Information Technology, which developed online government services and the state's award-winning Web site. He centralized e-government initiatives and created the state's Web portal, Michigan.gov.

Technology is a "strategic investment for government today," Engler said. "It has the ability to lower costs in today's environment...and improve productivity, something we've seen firsthand in Michigan."

EDS has more than 13,000 employees in Michigan and is the state's largest high-tech employer. EDS administers and manages Medicaid and related Medicare programs for 18 states.

"I think EDS pulled a real coup," said Don Upson, Virginia's former technology secretary. "That man can walk into any state capital or the federal capital. He's not just a name. He knows his stuff."

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