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Ken Theis, CIO, Michigan
As CIO of Michigan, Ken Theis drives the state's IT agenda, manages a staff of 1,700 that provides IT services to state agencies, and reports to the governor. Yet, the job entails more, as evidenced by business-development agreements reached recently with IBM and GE.
In September 2009, Theis introduced "New Economy Partnerships," a collaborative effort involving Michigan's Department of IT (which he oversees), Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The goal is to attract and retain IT jobs in the state through tax incentives and skills development programs, and it seems to be working. IBM is opening a software development "delivery center" in the state, while GE has announced plans for an advanced manufacturing and software technology center.
Theis recently announced that Michigan is a "PCI compliant" state. PCI certification required a series of steps to protect credit card information and installation of card readers in all Secretary of State branch offices. As his next big project, Theis is contemplating the construction of a data center that would let his department provide cloud computing services to state agencies, as well as to the public. Before entering the public sector, Theis worked in business-technology management at General Motors.