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9/28/2004
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Virginia Gets New Tech Chief

George Newstrom steps down and deputy takes reins; IT reforms are expected to continue.

After nearly three years as deputy secretary of technology for the commonwealth of Virginia, Eugene Huang next week will step up to be Gov. Mark Warner's top technology adviser. Technology Secretary George Newstrom will resign Oct. 1 to "explore other opportunities," Warner said Tuesday at the state's IT symposium.

Huang becomes the third technology secretary in Virginia's history. Gov. Jim Gilmore, Warner's predecessor, established the cabinet-level position to serve as the governor's top technology-policy adviser.

Huang is prepared to carry out Virginia's two key missions with regard to technology, Warner said in a statement E-mailed to InformationWeek. The first is to spend for and manage IT on an enterprisewide basis in government operations, making the most effective and efficient use of taxpayer dollars. The second is understanding how a knowledge-based economy affects citizens' lives.

"Eugene Huang understands the responsibilities and opportunities in both these areas in a way few people do," Warner said. "While he's young, he brings a record as a technology entrepreneur and policy adviser, and has been an integral part of the IT reforms of the last 2-1/2 years here in Virginia."

Before joining Warner's administration, Huang served as a senior adviser and co-founder of BuildPoint Corp., a privately held Internet company. Before that, Huang was a policy analyst for the Federal Communications Commission.

Huang is well-positioned to carry out the reforms that Newstrom initiated, says Thom Rubel, research firm Meta Group's VP of government strategies. One of the most significant reforms was simply to determine how much Virginia was spending on IT--about $900 million--and then cut those costs. "Eugene is a very bright guy," Rubel says, "and he's worked very closely with George."

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