First state CIO joins consulting firm

The man who was the first state-level chief information officer in the country has joined ICG Government, a consulting firm based in Chantilly, Va., and affiliated with federal market intelligence company Input.

During the mid-1990s, John Thomas Flynn served as CIO for Massachusetts and then for California. He also was president of the National Association of State Information Resource Executives, now called the National Association of State Chief Information Officers.

At ICG, he joins Don Upson, former secretary of technology for Virginia, and Paul Brubaker, former deputy CIO at the Defense Department.

Flynn's experience at the state level makes him a good fit for ICG, Upson said. "He brings a lot of capability and he knows this stuff."

Flynn, who will continue to live in California and commute often to Washington, D.C., said he would help the firm bring together a "consortia" of businesses that can offer full solutions to government buyers. He said the problems that a government agency needs to solve often are beyond a single firm's scope, but are manageable when several firms act together.

"What Paul and Don have created, I think, is an organization that really understands the marketplace and how decisions are made," Flynn said. "That's not an easy task."

At the state level especially, decision-makers are not always easy for companies to identify, he said. And if the company gets time with the right person, company officials have to know how to speak to the government's needs.

"One of the things Paul and Don and I all agree on is how frustrating it was when prospective vendors would approach us," Flynn said. "They always seemed to focus on what wasn't important instead of what was."

Solving technology-based problems is work for a team, he said, not a single company or government official.

"We're going to be able to position our client firms to have a seat around that desk," he said.

In addition to his state CIO work, Flynn has served on the General Accounting Office's Information Technology Board since 1994, and has spent almost 20 years with private-sector firms.

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