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Natural Resources Agency’s Longtime Tech Leader Moves On

The award-winning technologist led the IT strategy and operations for the agency, which encompasses more than 30 departments, boards and commissions.

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The California Natural Resources Agency’s (CNRA) longtime technology leader has retired.

Tim Garza, the award-winning agency chief information officer for the CNRA, has moved on. The agency has a significant footprint across the state, overseeing more than 30 departments, conservancies and commissions.

A CNRA spokesperson said a successor has not been named. Garza’s legacy is formidable, according to agency leadership.

“Tim led the charge at our agency by moving our processes into the digital world, consolidating services and finding additional efficiencies through IT,” Bryan Cash, CNRA’s assistant secretary for administration and finance, told Industry Insider — California via email. “His exemplary public service will leave its mark on the agency for years to come.”

Garza had been a frequent speaker at industry conferences and forums. In a breakout session at the 2019 California Public Sector CIO Academy in Sacramento, he was part of a panel that focused on how leaders in government as well as the private sector should consider “emotional intelligence” when managing.

Garza, who had more than two dozen departmental chief information officers under his aegis, asserted that a variety of personality types can make for a stronger team.

“All jellybeans don’t have to be the same color,” said Garza, who moderated the panel discussion. “It’s better to have some balance.”

For years, Garza had been an advocate of forward thinking in state tech governance. In a Industry Insider — California Industry Briefing in 2016, he advocated a new style of management and operations, citing a model that is horizontal rather than vertical and puts equal measure on operations, engineering, services and innovation.

"The key is balance,” Garza said. “We really need to look at how we balance these features. And what we’ve done at the Resources Agency, we began this model. We began breaking down from being a vertical organization to being more of a horizontal organization that basically takes core competencies and models themselves after service delivery," Garza said.

“The change and increased demands of our business — how do we keep up with that?” he said. “How do we stay ahead of that? How do we provide outstanding service and still sustain operations? How do we innovate for solutions that not only will provide for today, but will provide for tomorrow?”
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.