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County Names CIO to Build New IT Department

The longtime executive has a background in sales, technology and entrepreneurship. He’s also active in youth sports, education and other civic activities.

A veteran tech executive with a deep background in business is joining the public sector as a chief information officer.

Santa Barbara County has selected Chris Chirgwin of Buellton to lead its multiyear tech transformation, including the creation of a new IT department.
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Chris Chirgwin
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In its recruitment, the county sought a leader who was capable of “building and managing the IT infrastructure, technologies and data that enable digital transformation.”

Chirgwin is a veteran of the private sector, having served as an account executive for a dental management company before joining Lanspeed, an expert-level IT support and managed-services provider. At Lanspeed, Chirgwin formed a new revenue division, built a team of web developers and went on to serve as vice president of sales and marketing, then president of the company. He acquired the company and was named chief executive officer, a role he held for 16 years before taking a role as business and technology adviser.

In an email Friday to Industry Insider — California, Chirgwin said: “I am excited to be joining the county of Santa Barbara and looking forward to advancing technology usage and delivery in strategic and transformative ways. Technology is key to the county’s development and growth, and I’m committed to providing leadership and direction in making the new IT department be innovative, agile and responsive.”

The county embarked on its modernization campaign last spring, when it began recruiting for a CIO with “a big-picture perspective.”

The recruitment said the new CIO “must be able to create and implement a business model that collaboratively builds the properly balanced structure that positions the county in a way to leverage technology to meet the needs of its citizens, understand the ‘art of the possible,’ and build a technology community that extends beyond the IT department.”

Chirgwin’s role includes the following responsibilities:
  • Lead the IT department in becoming an innovator and partner to other county departments to support the county’s mission.
  • Be a hub for shared technology solutions to drive efficiency countywide.
  • Overcome the “technical sprawl” that has developed from decentralized and inconsistent systems and department policies.
  • Provide countywide and multi-department technology solutions.

Chirgwin received his Bachelor of Arts in international studies and international business from Westmont College. He earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Portland, with specialization in Management Information Systems, Business Administration and Management. He is a volunteer technology consultant and adviser for the EconAlliance, promoting tech and broadband for northern Santa Barbara County.

Aside from technology, Chirgwin’s other passions include advocating for and volunteering with youth sports. He is founder and chairman of the Central Coast Sports Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes youth athletics and athletic facilities throughout California’s Central Coast. He has coached youth soccer in league competition as well as through the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District, and he served as board vice chairman for the Santa Ynez Valley Christian Academy.

In addition, Chirgwin serves as a member of the board and the finance committee for the Linda Vista Foundation, a nonprofit that works primarily in Mexico, Central America and California’s Central Coast with a focus are community development, education, job training, health care, nutrition programs, agriculture and clean water projects.

In his LinkedIn profile, Chirgwin says: “I’ve always had a bent toward business and leadership as well as an interest in technology. Leadership comes natural to me, whether it’s at work, coaching youth soccer or directing nonprofit boards. I thrive when I’m growing and leading teams.

“Solving problems, applying solutions-driven technology, guiding others and growing organizations are what gets me out of bed and ready to embrace the day and all the challenge it offers.”
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.