DorobekInsider.com: Interior’s Howell to move to OMB
In what may have been the worst kept secret in government IT, Interior Department CIO Mike Howell has a new job — and a powerful new job at that. Howell has accepted an offer to be OMB’s deputy administrator for e-government and information technology, the federal government’s senior career IT position. Howell will move to OMB in mid-September, government and industry officials confirm, replacing Tim Young.
Young, however, is a political appointee who therefore must leave at the end of the Bush administration. Insiders say that he is in the process of searching for an IT management consulting position.
Howell will serve as the deputy to Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator of e-government and IT. Howell has served as Interior CIO since May 2007 and has worked in many parts of the Interior organization. It is unclear who will take Howell’s place as Interior CIO.
The position becomes exceedingly important with the looming administration transition and was widely seen as a plum post — not officially “plum,” but… you know what I mean. OMB received more than 75 applications for the post.
Evans has told friends that she wouldn’t be opposed to staying on as a bridge to a new administration, but it is most likely that Howell, as deputy, would become the government’s most senior IT official until a new e-gov/IT administrator is named.
The move will also set off a scramble for who would be the new Interior CIO. Jerry Williams joined DOI as the deputy CIO in July replacing Ed Meagher, who left to join SRA International. Williams would be the obvious choice, but Interior often works in mysterious ways.
You can read Howell’s Interior bio after the break.
Before accepting this position, Mr. Howell served as the Assistant Director for Information Resources and Technology Management and Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Prior to that, he served as Chief, Information Technology Portfolio Management Division in the Department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, where he was responsible for overseeing the management of the Department’s $900 million a year portfolio of IT investments. He served two years as the actingCIO and deputy CIO for the Bureau of Land Management and five years in BLM’s headquarters budget office.
Mr. Howell spent four years at BLM’s Oregon State Office as a branch chief, responsible for software application development, Geographic Information Systems applications, and data and records management programs. He managed IT andGIS support for the President’s Northwest Forest Plan and the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. Mike spent seven years inBLM’s Eugene District on forest inventory, land use planning, and National Environmental Policy Act analysis. He worked five years in a variety of forest management jobs in theMedford District in southwest Oregon. Mike’s career began in 1978 with the U.S. Forest Service in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest in Idaho and the Olympic National Forest in Washington.
A native of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Mike graduated in 1977 from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor of science degree in Forest Science with a minor in Wildlife Management. In 2005, he completed the Chief Information Officer certification program at the National Defense UniversityIRM College. Mike and his wife Gretchen have a son Sean and a daughter Victoria.