Bhagowalia to leave GSA for an island paradise

General Services Administration senior executive Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia has accepted a new post as the state of Hawaii’s first full-time chief information officer starting in July, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced.

Bhagowalia currently serves as deputy associate administrator of the GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, a post he has held since May 2010. At the GSA he has helped to implement White House open government and e-government initiatives including Data.gov, cloud computing, data center consolidation and mobile applications.

Bhagowalia was credited for extraordinary achievement for getting Data.gov up and running in just two months. He was honored as a Federal 100 awardee in March 2010.


Related story:

Sonny Bhagowalia smashes technical, cultural obstacles to sharing government data


Bhagowalia was CIO of the Interior Department from December 2008 through May 2010, overseeing an IT budget of about $1 billion a year. He previously was CIO for the Indian Affairs Bureau for a year. Before joining Interior, he was IT program management executive for the Federal Bureau of Investigation from July 1999 through August 2007.

Prior to his service in federal IT, he spent 14 years at Boeing Co. as a senior principal engineer for the Boeing Technical Excellence Fellowship Program in support of systems integration and business development. He has a master’s degree in information resource management and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

Abercrombie, who made the announcement on June 7, also signed into law a bill that provides funding for the CIO’s office and the recently created Hawaii Office of Information Management and Technology.

Bhagowalia will report to the governor and will work on greater accountability for data and spending, enhance security and backup measures and reduce energy usage, according to a news release. His first day in the new position is scheduled to be July 6.

“Outdated and ineffective technology is perhaps the largest impediment to making our government work,” Abercrombie said in the release. “Sonny brings a background in technology and management coupled with more than 25 years of experience in senior government and private-sector positions. I’m confident he will lead us into a new era of efficiency and service-oriented government.”

"My experience has trained me to see information and possibility in everything, and I’m eager to discover what opportunities lie ahead for Hawaii," Bhagowalia said in the release.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Thu, Jun 16, 2011

I wonder whether these 2 month wonder projects (Sonny's Data.gov) are behind our current IT malaise of overheated expectations and anecdotal victories. Either data.gov was a repositioned older, longer project for which Sonny takes undue credit or Data.gov was rapidly built like a Potemkin village that will collapse as soon as the props holding it up are removed.

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 Jack

Good catch Observer. Also wasn't this a remarkably short GSA tenure?? I thought he was going to be the guru to the future of GSA cloud offerings? http://fedscoop.com/tv/gsas-sonny-bhagowalia-on-benefits-of-cloud-computing-to-the-federal-government/

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 The Observer

Hmmm ... "credited for extraordinary achievement for getting Data.gov up and running in just two months". Did someone validate this statement? Wasn't data.gov up and running before he arrived? Also, isn't it just a recasting of geospatial onstop w/ more data sets.

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