Tech entrepreneur leads GPO e-doc unit

The Government Printing Office is fortifying senior managers to prepare for sweeping changes at the agency.

GPO, the department responsible for distributing government information, has tapped a high-tech entrepreneur to lead its new security and intelligent documents division. Security and intelligent documents are paper or plastic materials with embedded security features. Intelligent documents, such as the new U.S. passports, enable the government to compress large amounts of information and prevent counterfeiting.

Benjamin Brink, a venture capitalist and former chief executive officer at several electronics companies, joined GPO in late January as assistant public printer in the Security and Intelligent Documents Business Unit.

Brink’s appointment follows a pattern of reorganization at the top of the agency, as GPO transforms from printing press factory to a 21st-century digital operation. The head of GPO, Public Printer Bruce James, recently said he is readying the agency to continue advancing without him when he retires toward the end of the year.

James has created several management positions to lead the digital revolution. First, he named a chief information officer who now guides an information technology workforce of 180 employees. Next, he spent a year searching for an engineer to design a next-generation electronic system for distributing government information. He then formed an executive-level position to supervise the units specializing in intelligent documents and digital media services, among other new initiatives.

Brink will oversee e-passports, smart card IDs, e-signature capabilities and other documents containing embedded electronics. The 2001 terrorist attacks increased demand for protected and anticounterfeit products throughout the federal government.

“Brink’s depth of knowledge in defense electronics and integrated circuits -- coupled with his solid leadership and experience honed while leading technology firms -- will be an asset to GPO as we pursue technological advancements in the realm of secure document production and encryption services,” James said today. “Brink is highly regarded throughout the intelligence community and in the private sector, and I am confident he will lead the operations of our Security and Intelligent Documents Business Unit in providing for the ongoing needs of Congress and federal agencies.”

Brink has years of business and government experience. He spent almost 25 years managing high-tech companies and has commanded several intelligence reserve units. Brink currently serves as a captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

He holds a master of business administration degree from Harvard University, a master’s degree in operations research from Stanford University and is a 2006 candidate for a master’s degree in strategic studies at the U.S. Army War College.

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