'A good manager and well regarded'

To fulfill the administration’s IT vision, the Office of Management and Budget named Energy Department CIO Karen Evans to replace Mark Forman as the head of federal IT.

Evans will take over as OMB’s associate administrator for IT and e-government next month, said Clay Johnson, OMB’s deputy director for management, last week at the IRMCO conference in Cambridge, Md.

“We need to complete and implement the e-government projects and realize the benefits of the rigor and discipline we are trying to build into the [budget and planning] processes,” Johnson said. “No one is better equipped to do this than Karen. She is a good manager and well regarded in the IT community.”

Johnson said OMB interviewed “a couple” of people for the position, but “Karen became our focus from the beginning.”

Evans, who spent 19 months as the Energy CIO, will take over the government’s top IT post as 25 Quicksilver e-government initiatives are nearing completion, and the next wave of projects are in the planning stages.

In addition to guiding the e-government projects, Evans’ priorities will include maintaining the discipline agencies have adopted in the IT planning and budgeting process.

David McClure, the Council for Excellence in Government’s vice president for e-government, said one of Evans’ strengths is her discipline in implementing systems.

“She has been in the trenches and knows how to get it done,” McClure said. “She has a lot of good experience under her belt, having worked for a number of different agencies after starting more than 20 years ago as a GS-2.”

Evans is the vice chairwoman of the Federal CIO Council, the principal forum for agency CIOs to develop recommendations for federal IT management policy, procedures and standards.

Ira Hobbs, Agriculture Department’s deputy CIO and co-chairman of the CIO Council’s Human Capital for IT committee, said Evans is in the right position at the right time.

“Karen’s done a very good job in her position as vice chairwoman of the CIO Council,” Hobbs said. “Some thought when [former Treasury CIO and CIO Council chairman] Jim [Flyzik] left, the floor would drop out. But Mark [Forman] did a good job in choosing Karen.”

Hobbs added Evans is very thorough at making sure issues are assigned and completed.

“She really is an implementer,” Hobbs said. “She believes in crossing the Ts and dotting the Is, and that is what is needed now.”

At Energy, Evans oversaw a push for employing project managers on major programs. “Everyone agrees that we need to be good stewards of the public’s money, so that we are achieving the outcomes of these projects in support of each agency or department mission,” Evans said in an interview this spring with PostNewsweek Tech Media.

Energy’s deputy CIO Gordon Errington likely will replace Evans on an interim basis until the department names a new CIO.

Before joining DOE, she was director of the IRM division in the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs. She also was assistant director for information services at Justice headquarters, responsible for Internet resources.

She has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MBA from West Virginia University.

Forman, who joined OMB as the first head of federal IT and e-government efforts in June 2000, resigned his post last month to join an IT start-up in California.

The associate administrator post is a presidential appointment but does not require Senate approval, Johnson said.

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