OMB's enterprise architect sets the course for federal IT design
Bob Haycock has big plans for the future of technology. Although he's not much of a techie, he believes information technology can be used to solve business problems when it is organized properly. And as the Office of Management and Budget's first chief architect, he's in just the right position to help guide the rest of the IT world toward the same path of thinking.
"I love the technology, but I love it more when we can actually apply it," Haycock said. "There are big problems out there that technology can help."
Enter the federal enterprise architecture. Since June 2002, Haycock has led the Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office, which is developing a guide for IT management through a series of reference models. As chief architect — a job he officially began Nov. 2 — he will continue his architecture work with a focus on how to bring the message to agencies.
The enterprise architecture "is really an integral part of e-government," Haycock said. "A lot of people don't see that [agencies] understand it, and they understand the importance of it. What we have to do is build it out further."
He joined OMB on a detail from the Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation in Denver, where he was deputy chief information officer. After nearly a year and a half, he was selected for the permanent job.
"It's just it's a difficult thing to do — come here for three months...do some things and leave," he said. "Basically, they just kept asking me to stay."
Haycock has spent his time at OMB developing five reference models that make up the federal enterprise architecture. With four completed and the business reference model in its second version, attention has turned to the final and possibly most complicated one: the data reference model, which organizes data to facilitate its exchange and use. Haycock said his office is "in the final throes of finishing up."
The idea is to organize data with similar attributes into packages to facilitate exchange and reuse. The challenge lies in also getting the expertise into a usable form that people can understand. "That's probably the hardest part," he said. "This is new stuff we're doing."
Recent personnel changes at OMB have altered the dynamics of Haycock's job. The departure of chief technology officer Norm Lorentz in September left Haycock with more of the technical work. He now reports directly to Karen Evans, who replaced Mark Forman as administrator of the Office of E-Government and IT.
In his official position, Haycock will spend more time interacting with industry groups, technology associations and agencies. "My workload has shifted a little bit to a more outward focus," he said.
Even though he's at the helm of enterprise architecture for the entire federal government, Haycock remains humble.
"I'm quite in awe of this work that's going on and the scope of it," he said. "What I bring to the table, No. 1, is a passion for [the work]. I bring the ability to collaborate with people, bring a lot of disparate views together, and a good understanding and a good vision of where we ought to go."
Haycock also brings to the job 27 years of experience in the federal government. He started as a management intern at the Agriculture Department after he finished graduate school.
He was focusing on personnel management in the early 1980s when he became interested in technology. He began using a PC in the personnel management office at the Bureau of Reclamation, and was soon running the bureau's IT shop. In 1995, he became deputy CIO.
Perhaps the greatest testament to his dedication is his typical weekly routine. Since he took on the work at OMB, he has commuted almost every weekend to Denver, where his wife, Robyn, still lives and works for the city's Parks and Recreation Department.
During the week, he lives in an apartment in Bethesda, Md., and boards a plane Thursday afternoons for Denver. The weekends allow Haycock to relax with his wife, who always has "a whole list of things she wants me to do." On Sundays there is just enough time to go to church, have breakfast and get back on a plane, he said.
Lorentz, now a senior vice president at DigitalNet LLC, said Haycock is well respected by agency and OMB leaders.
"He's a good human being, and that carries over in how he interacts with other people," Lorentz said.
The Bob Haycock file
Title: The Office of Management and Budget's chief architect.
Education: Bachelor of arts degree in political science and history from the University of Northern Colorado and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Family: Married to Robyn. They have two daughters: a 21-year-old student at Colorado State University and a 25-year-old high school teacher. They all live in Denver.
Hobbies: Long commutes from Denver allow him to be quite a bookworm. He's reading Thomas Friedman's "Longitude and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11." He also likes Tom Clancy novels, books about the Civil War and books about Web services.
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