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Nashville IT: McKinney named CIO of U.S. Transportation Department
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Richard McKinney

RICHARD MCKINNEY, who has held key roles in Nashville information technology for nearly three decades, has been named CIO for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Ray LaHood, out-going U.S. Transportation Secretary, offered McKinney the job in mid-April, after a series of interviews and screenings that began in November 2012, after members of McKinney's professional network put his name forward, McKinney told VNC.

McKinney will ease into his DOT role May 13, ahead of the arrival of his likely new boss. President Barack Obama announced April 29 his nomination of Charlotte, N.C. Mayor Anthony Foxx, a 42-year-old Democrat who is African-American, as secretary. LaHood has served four years as secretary.

Upon arrival at DOT, McKinney (and, presumably Foxx) will face an array of challenges, including implementing responses to the DOT Inspector General's report two months ago that DOT information technology governance is incomplete, with some previously identified remedies not yet implemented. As a result, said the report, portfolio-wide results and budget overruns are threatened, particularly within the $2.2BN portion of the agency's $3BN IT project portfolio that is deemed most important (much of it pertaining to the Federal Aviation Agency), according to the IG report.

DOT's IT portfolio is the sixth-largest in the federal government; 80 percent of its annual spend is devoted to Mission Systems, including traffic control, safety and related, with the balance devoted to business systems and infrastructure, according to a federal website.

As the agency's IT "champion," the CIO is expected to promote "entrepreneurship, innovation and investment and alliance" to enable DOT to address transportation issues.

DOT and its subsidiary agencies deal with highways, aviation, maritime shipping and infrastructure (including the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy), motor carriers, oil/gas pipeline operations, mass transit and innovation initiatives. DOT was born in 1967, bringing under one umbrella functions previously under Commerce or independent agencies.

McKinney, 62, has spent the past year as a senior fellow with the Center for Digital Government (CDG) a publishing, research and conference-management unit of e.Republic, (Folsom, Calif.). e.Republic publishes government-technology and related news and information; conducts research; and, produces and manages sponsored events that educate IT professionals, while bringing government and corporate/vendor executives together.

Prior to CDG, McKinney spent six years at Microsoft as a consultant to government clients, based in Nashville and often traveling.

Still earlier, he spent a total of nearly 20 years as CIO for Metro/Nashville government, as director of legislative information systems for the Tennessee General Assembly and in other tech-oriented roles with the state's Treasurer, as well as earlier jobs here in General Services and Finance & Administration.

The Ohio native pursued undergraduate studies at The Ohio State University and Tennessee State University, and earned his bachelor's in political science at TSU in 1990. He earned a master's in public administration in 1993 at TSU. He, his wife and their five children will continue to maintain their residence in Davidson County. The couple has five grandchildren.

McKinney succeeds the agency's Acting DOT CIO Tim Schmidt, whose January 2013 presentation on DOT IT interests is broad and multifaceted (here pdf).

In August 2012, Schmidt, who is DOT's deputy CIO, stepped into the interim CIO slot upon the departure of former CIO Nitin Pradhan. Pradhan left government ranks to found Launch Dream LLC (Virginia), which is sponsoring a Public Private Innovation program that helps accelerate development of Tech startups that seek to penetrate the $120BN per year federal IT marketplace.

The CIO post is filled as a senior executive service appointment, serving at the pleasure of the Administration, McKinney confirmed.

In FY 2012, median federal SES executive compensation was $165K per year, according to federal documents online. In 2010, Pradhan's base salary was $145K per year, according to published reports. VNC

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Tags: Anthony Foxx, aviation, Center for Digital Government, consulting, e.Republic, federal, General Assembly, government, information technology, innovation, IT, Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County, Nitin Pradhan, President Barack Obama, Ray LaHood, Richard McKinney, Tennessee, Tennessee State University, Tim Schmidt, transportation, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

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