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CIO for State Parks Department Moving to Private Sector

His deep background in state government technology and executive leadership was among the attributes that prompted his new employer to seek him out for his new role as a strategic adviser and business development executive.

An award-winning technologist for state government has left his role as the chief information officer and deputy director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation and has taken a role with a Sacramento strategic advisory firm.

Friday was the last day in his Parks and Rec state role for Patrick Dennis, who had held the top IT position in the department since September 2018. In that capacity, Dennis was the subject of an Industry Insider Member Briefing in May.
Patrick Dennis
Patrick Dennis

Beginning Monday, Dennis will start his new role as a strategic adviser for Sacramento-based Golden Bridge Strategies, which offers “strategic business advisory services to bridge industry and government.”

Jennifer Saha, founder and chief executive officer of Golden Bridge, described Dennis’ new role Friday to Industry Insider and said she’s glad to have him on her team.

“Patrick will be interacting with our clients to help them strategize and develop their business with state of California departments and agencies,” Saha said. “We aim to position our clients to be great partners for the state, and Patrick’s experience in being on the state side of the table will really help our clients and the agencies they serve.”

Dennis told Industry Insider: “I am thrilled to begin the next chapter of my career, and especially excited to work with Jennifer and the rest of the talented team at Golden Bridge Strategies.”

Saha said she recruited Dennis based on his deep experience in gov tech.

“Patrick is a perfect compliment to the well-rounded experience and services that my team brings to our clients,” she said. “We’ve all worked in government, and Patrick is helping to keep up that trend with decades of government experience. I’m pretty sure when I invited him to have coffee with me a few months ago he was ready to politely decline, as I know he was super happy in his job at Parks, and my team and our clients are incredibly lucky that we were able to convince him to join us at GBS.”

Dennis, a criminal justice graduate of Sierra College, began his tenure in state government as a testing manager with the State Franchise Tax Board, where he managed software testing and project implementation.

From there, he joined the California Department of Technology, where he began as a section chief in charge of IT project oversight and policy development. He was promoted to branch chief with CDT, and from there he was named CIO and deputy director for technology by the state Department of Parks and Recreation.

In his May briefing with Industry Insider, Dennis said he and his department were focused on data as a way to operate more efficiently while enhancing public access to the state’s 279 park properties.

The veteran IT executive was honored with an IT Leadership Award at the California Public Sector CIO Academy, the marquee annual event presented by Government Technology*, for his work with the IT Service Division in CDT.

Dennis was also the subject of an Industry Insider “One-on-One” interview in June 2020 in which he discussed his department’s initiatives in mobile workforce enablement, modernizing visitor automation, broadband access in state parks, and increasing access and automation of revenue collection.

Among the achievements of which he was most proud during his time with the parks department, Dennis cited progress on the ReserveCalifornia camping reservation system.

In his off time, he said then, “I am happiest when I get to spend time with my family. I also enjoy cooking, running, camping, fishing and an occasional game of golf.”

Saha said Golden Bridge’s recruitment of Dennis was a strategic one.

“Since I started GBS in 2019, we’ve been rapidly growing and are now providing business development, procurement strategy and government relations services to 15 clients,” she said. “I brought Ann Barsotti on a year ago, another state government IT veteran, and had already hired Madeline Cline for a legislative and budget role. A month ago, I hired Debbie Price with a strong administrative and legislative background and was on the hunt for a partner-level individual to assist our existing clients in the IT space and help us as we continue to grow.”

*Government Technology, Industry Insider — California and Governing magazine are part of e.Republic.
Dennis Noone is Executive Editor of Industry Insider. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in Northern California.