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Environmental Entity Names New Technology Chief

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control has named a new chief information officer, several months after its previous tech leader joined the California State University system.

This article has been updated with new information and a quote from the chief information officer.

The state entity responsible for protecting Californians and the environment from toxic substances has a new technology leader.

Longtime state technology executive Don Foley has been named chief information officer and deputy director at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), Techwire has learned. Foley’s first day was Monday. He’ll take the reins from DTSC’s Chief Technology Officer Kham Xiong, who has served as acting CIO since the departure of now-former CIO Jennifer Benson. Benson is now associate director of Enterprise Support Services and IT Project Management for California State University at Monterey Bay.
Headshot of Don Foley.
Don Foley, chief information officer and deputy director at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Foley’s time with the state dates to May 2008 when he joined the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) as a network engineer, a post he held for nearly two years before heading to the private sector. He returned to the state in May 2010, rejoining CDWR as manager of network and telecommunications, going on to serve as manager of operations technology systems and then enterprise IT project manager during a more than nine-year career. After leaving DWR, Foley joined the California Department of Social Services, where he was innovative technology solutions branch manager — chief of that branch — from October 2019 until joining DTSC.

“I believe in providing servant leadership and creating a ‘Culture of Care’ for the organization I serve,” Foley says in his LinkedIn profile. He says he specializes in “transformational change,” creating “productive, accountable, collaborative, and cohesive teams that care about each other, our customers, and the organization’s mission”; and excels at project management, IT management, and network engineering.

“My early priorities are to listen, learn, and understand DTSC current culture, programs, business operations, and identify where and how I can provide value to DTSC strategically,” Foley told Techwire via email. “A major priority will be building key strategic partnerships with both internal and external stakeholders, giving them the confidence that DTSC and (its Office of Environmental Information Management) OEIM will be able to deliver on our strategic goals.”

“Don is passionate about collaboration and team building and is looking forward to working with our Office of Environmental Information Management to continue their exemplary service to DTSC programs,” DTSC Chief Deputy Director Francesca Negri said in an announcement to staff.

The new CIO is a graduate of Elk Grove High School. He studied at the CIO Institute at the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in 2014 and was part of Leadership for Government Executive, Cohort 28, Organizational Leadership and Change Management, at CSU Sacramento in 2018. The following year, Foley was part of Cohort 26 at the California Department of Techology’s Information Technology Leadership Academy (ITLA), where his focus was Organizational Leadership and Change Management. Among his certifications, he is credentialed by the Project Management Institute and is certified in AXELOS Global Best Practice.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.