2018 Government Innovation Awards

Rising Star: Combiz Richard Abdolrahimi

Global Emerging Technology and Innovation Strategist, Senior Advisor Manager, Government and Public Services, Deloitte

Combiz Richard Abdolrahimi  

Combiz Richard Abdolrahimi is playing an integral role in leading agencies to blockchain technology. He helped the General Services Administration build a proof of concept to test how blockchain could be incorporated into the procurement process and served on the evaluation team at GSA to select a contractor for that project. He also helped organize ACT-IAC’s first blockchain conference in September 2017.

Abdolrahimi developed an interest in emerging technologies during his first government job at the State Department and as a staffer for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. His expertise in financial technology comes from his stint as a lawyer at the Treasury Department.

Abdolrahimi “blends together the perspective of the regulator, operator, builder and the facilitator all into one person,” said Jose Arrieta, a former GSA official who led the proof of concept and is now the Department of Health and Human Services’ associate deputy assistant secretary for acquisition. “He has a good grasp and understanding of how technology will impact people.”

Abdolrahimi joined Deloitte’s public-sector practice in February to advise federal, state and local government agencies on emerging technologies. In that role, he is working on a framework for public/private governance to help industry and academia assess the legal and policy considerations of adopting such technologies.

“Artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and the internet of things are continuing to evolve,” Abdolrahimi said. “I’m trying to show through my work that there are lots of opportunities to improve government by making it more efficient and successful while reducing costs.”

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