CIO Profiles: Andy Blumenthal, CTO Of The Bureau Of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms And Explosives

This tech chief wishes he had joined government right out of college.
Career Track

Andy Blumenthal CTO, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Andy Blumenthal
CTO, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
How long at current organization: I've been with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives almost a year, with 10 years overall in government, most recently as chief enterprise architect at several Department of Homeland Security agencies.

Most important career influencer: My father, who encouraged me to always pursue higher education.

Decision I wish I could do over: I wish that I had joined the government right out of college, because public service is extremely meaningful, the opportunities to learn are vast--and I would have been able to retire to South Beach in my 50s!

The next big thing for my organization will be ... to federate all of our data across the enterprise so that we have complete visibility.

The federal government's top technology priority should be ... building our cybersecurity capabilities to protect against evolving threats that are potentially crippling.

Best way for CIOs to cope with the economic downturn: Look beyond the immediate hardship and focus on your long-term goals. Ask yourself this question: Where are the opportunities for you to provide value a few years down the road?

Kids and technology careers: Believe in guiding every child according to his or her path. That said, if your children are interested in technology careers, that's great, as there's no more exciting area of specialization. Technology is by definition possibility.

On The Job
IT budget: Nearly $100 million.

Size of IT team: More than 800, including government and contractor personnel, supporting the ATF's Office of Science and Technology.

Top initiatives:

>> Establishing an Office of the CIO that is uniquely strategic in that it will incorporate IT management best practices across the spectrum of enterprise architecture, IT governance, project management, CRM, IT security, and performance management.

>> Rolling out a robust ATF portal to provide access to and interactivity with the resources that employees need to do their jobs and to share and collaborate with other law enforcement partners.

>> Initiating our Next Generation Case Management System to support our special agents and industry operations investigators in the field with advanced tracking, analytical, and investigative capabilities.

How I measure IT effectiveness: It's all about the mission of the bureau--delivering capabilities that citizens want, need, and can use.

Colleges/degrees: MBA in organizational behavior, Pace University; BBA, Baruch College

Leisure activities: Kayaking, hiking, blogging, and friending famous people on Facebook

Last vacation: It's only been months, but it seems like ages ago--I dimly remember the beach

Biggest business-related pet peeve: When key decisions are made by gut, intuition, politics, and subjective management whim

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... a psychologist with my own clinical practice, TV talk show, advice column, and book series