Categorized | Business

Bhagowalia, Transformation Internship Program win national awards


Gov. Neil Abercrombie has commended his Chief Advisor for Technology and Cybersecurity, Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia, and the state’s Transformation Internship Program (TIP) for winning two StateScoop 50 Awards for their contributions to the government information technology (IT) community.

According to StateScoop, “Hundreds of nominees were submitted to six categories, and after over 50,000 votes nationwide, the StateScoop 50 Awards were narrowed to just the top 50 recipients.”

“These awards are given to the finest leaders and programs that make state government more efficient and effective,” Abercrombie said. “Hawaii is developing a solid technology and security foundation, and launching key programs to transform business and technology. These honors are a testament to this administration’s hard work and dedication as we look ahead to build upon our technology transformation.”

Bhagowalia received “StateScoop’s GoldenGov: State Executive of the Year” award. The award honors individuals for leading government into a new technology landscape with innovative ideas and by inspiring others to get on board.

He was nominated for his accomplishments as the state’s first chief information officer (CIO), appointed by Abercrombie in July 2011, leading the Office of Information Management Technology (OIMT).

Since its creation in 2011, OIMT has made tremendous progress in three overarching strategic areas:

1. Reengineering “the way we do business” (on-line versus waiting in-line)

2. Modernizing and securing the technology infrastructure

3. Establishing transparency and accountability through governance

“This award demonstrates that Gov. Abercrombie’s incredible vision for state transformation is working to help leapfrog Hawaii into a leading digital state,” Bhagowalia said. “I share this award with humility and pride with the entire CIO ohana across our great state and thank the business and IT community, along with the public for their contributions and support over the past three years.”

For his achievement, Abercrombie proclaimed May 8, 2014, as “Sanjeev ‘Sonny’ Bhagowalia Day” in Hawaii.

“This proclamation honors Sonny’s exceptional leadership and positive energy, making great strides in developing a collaborative, collegial, change-oriented environment, and implementing a solid, unified technology and cybersecurity foundation for Hawaii’s future,” he said.

After serving as Hawaii’s CIO for three years, Bhagowalia in February 2014 was promoted to governor’s chief advisor for technology and cybersecurity.

The new executive leadership position was created to establish Hawaii as a premier technology and cybersecurity hub in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to strengthen ties between Hawaii and Washington, D.C. in support of the state’s business and technology transformation.

Prior to that, Bhagowalia served 12 years with the federal government in senior executive capacity as deputy associate administrator for the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies at the U.S. General Services Administration, CIO at the U.S Department of the Interior and CIO at its Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, and as a program management executive (assistant director) for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In addition to his public sector experience, Bhagowalia worked at Boeing for more than 14 years as a chief engineer/manager.

TIP won StateScoop’s “State IT Program of the Year” award. The award honors influential IT programs that have led to cost savings, efficiencies and partnerships between agencies.

TIP provides undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to gain insight and experience in government operations. Students work collaboratively in teams to advance business transformation initiatives.

OIMT launched the internship program in partnership with the state Department of Human Resources Development (DHRD) in the spring 2013 semester under the leadership of former OIMT Deputy CIO of Business Transformation Randy Baldemor (currently state director of strategic initiatives) and DHRD Deputy Director Leila Kagawa.

DHRD Director Barbara Krieg said, “The opportunity to engage with students from the various universities is invaluable as they represent Hawaii’s future.”

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