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California IT Leaders Honored for Their Lasting Impacts on State Government

During the California Public Sector CIO Academy Awards ceremony held March 2, more than 30 individuals were recognized for their contributions to state government — and three leaders were given top commendations for their efforts.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — IT leaders from across California state government were honored for their leadership during a California CIO Academy Ceremony Thursday March 2 in Sacramento.

Among the more than 30 individuals recognized for their contributions to state government, three leaders were given top commendations for their efforts. 

For her leadership in bringing the Franchise Tax Board into 21st century standards through the Enterprise Data-to-Revenue (EDR) system implementation in 2016, CIO Cathy Cleek was named as one of Government Technology’s 2017 Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers, (all winners will officially be announced in April).

Cleek, who has dedicated herself to public service through the FTB for more than 33 years, told attendees that the multi-year EDR system would not have been possible without the entire agency team. “You can have a dream but without people to get behind you and help you, it would never happen,” she said.

As for the annual CIO of the Year award, this year two recipients share the honor: Caltrans CIO George Akiyama, who was recognized for his efforts to unify the agency’s IT footprint, and FI$Cal CIO Subbarao Mupparaju, who received recognition for his vital software and hardware upgrades, and assembling of a technology roadmap and team capable of meeting that long-term vision..

State CIO Amy Tong Introduced Akiyama and applauded his commitment to support IT planning, application development, infrastructure and security. The agency supports more than 19,000 users through its IT assets.

During his acceptance remarks, Akiyama spoke about the importance of transportation throughout the state and acknowledged the front-line workers who have lost their lives on California’s roadways. “This award really recognizes those individuals,” he said.

Akiyama thanked his team and Caltrans leadership for their support and collaboration, and then challenged the IT leaders in the audience.

“We’ve got to develop our teams, we’ve got to inspire them. We’ve got to breathe life into our organizations," he said. "You start by doing what is expected of you, and then you do what’s possible, and then your team can do what’s impossible."

During Mupparaju's introduction, Tong noted that he took all of his assignments head-on "and was able to gain the trust of the state and essential project teams through his dedication of work, collaboration and leadership style."

His planning efforts saved the state close to $10 million in hardware costs.

Mupparaju said he was honored to be recognized for these efforts, especially given the newness of his agency and thanked his team for their support and dedication.

“I am fortunate to have a team… that bring their grit every day to work. They work hard. They work to improve every single day,” he said. “I throw a lot of challenges at them, and they rise to those challenges and never complain.”

Though Mupparaju said he was proud of the progress his team has made, he said they have more work to do in 2017. “We had a great 2016," he said, "but we are not done."