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Utah’s Former CIO Hussey Joins Oracle in Strategist Role

“That’s my goal here — to take some of those things I did in the state of Utah and help others with their strategies on how they can do that,” Michael Hussey told Techwire.

The former state chief information officer for the state of Utah, Michael Hussey, has joined Oracle as the company’s industry executive director for state and local strategy.

Michael Hussey
Hussey retired this year after serving in Utah state government roles for 25 years, beginning with an eight-year engagement with the University of Utah, first on the help desk and then as a network manager. After that, he held a series of IT management and executive roles in the Utah governor’s office. In October 2015, Hussey was named Utah’s state CIO and executive director of the Department of Technology Services.

“I am excited to announce that Mike Hussey has joined our team as the industry executive director for State and Local Strategy,” said Kumar Rachuri, Oracle’s vice president for Industry Strategy, Government and Education for North American Cloud. He specifically cited Hussey’s tenure as Utah’s CIO.

“While serving in this Cabinet-level position, Mike was known as a collaborative and transformative leader who enjoys applying technological advances available in the market,” Rachuri said. “He earned recognition from (former) Gov. Gary Herbert for finding 25 percent efficiencies in his department. While the state CIO, Mike led the state’s cloud journey for the last five years, which included a migration of 60 percent of the state’s workloads to the cloud, allowing for a data center move to a new space which was 75 percent smaller. His staff included 750 talented individuals who helped the state of Utah earn either a first- or second-place ranking among all states for their Digital Government Experience for Utah citizens for the last five years. Also during Mike’s tenure, he worked with the Legislature to create an innovation fund, which helped Utah receive national attention for its adoption and application of AI, bringing an improved digital experience to its citizens.”

Hussey told Techwire in an interview that when the state consolidated its IT governance structure earlier this year, coinciding with his eligibility for retirement, he decided to enter the private sector.

“The timing just worked out,” Hussey said. “We had a new governor come in, and he was consolidating agencies within the state,” including a merger of the Department of Technology Services, the Department of Human Resource Management and the Department of Administrative Services into one “mega-agency,” the Department of Government Operations. As part of that, the state CIO position was removed from the governor’s Cabinet.

The state realignment coincided with his retirement eligibility, he said, “So it just made sense to step away when I did. The timing all lined up.”

Hussey said that in reflecting on Utah’s technological accomplishments under his tenure, he was inspired to pursue a private-sector role where he could help other states replicate those achievements.

“That’s my goal here — to take some of those things I did in the state of Utah and help others with their strategies on how they can do that.”

Said Rachuri: “Mike understood the importance of protection of the state’s data and refocused spending to create the state’s first cyber center, which brought together partnerships from his department, the (Utah) Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Public Safety, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and others, as well as counties and cities within the state. This partnership improved the cyber hygiene for more-secure elections, a reduction in the state’s cyber insurance policy premium, and improved trust from other state agencies and Utah citizens.”

A veteran state-level CIO who wants to enter the private sector will almost certainly have multiple corporate suitors. So why did Hussey choose Oracle?

“They’re a great company. They have great technology, great people … . People know Oracle, they trust Oracle. It felt like a good match for me because of what I’d done at the state.”

Through Hussey’s long membership and leadership in the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), he already has relationships with many of California’s IT leaders, including state CIO Amy Tong, who’s also the director of the California Department of Technology.

“I know Amy Tong really well. She sent me a very nice note when I was separating from the state; she’s incredible.”

Hussey, whose new role is national, noted that because of the sheer size of California’s state government, it’s a little more “federated” than some smaller states’ IT operations, and he sees opportunities to help streamline that and reduce duplication of efforts by different departments and agencies, and to modernize.

Hussey has been a frequent public speaker and thought leader in the gov tech sector, and he’s won numerous industry awards and distinctions – including being named one of 2018’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers by Government Technology magazine, Techwire’s sister publication.

He is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in zoology, and he also studied mathematics and statistics at the University of Utah, where four of his children are students.
Dennis Noone is Executive Editor of Industry Insider. He is a career journalist, having worked at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies including USA Today in Washington, D.C.