Read the Bills Act Coalition

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Best Man for the Job - Governor McDonnell Appoints Delegate Sam Nixon to Head Virginia Information Technology Agency

March 24, 2010

Stacey Johnson
Press Secretary
(804) 786-2211

Governor McDonnell Appoints Delegate Sam Nixon to Head Virginia Information Technology Agency – As Chief Information Officer, Nixon Will Report Directly to Governor through Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey; McDonnell Legislation Changes Reporting Structure to Increase Accountability in Agency –

Nixon to Take Office April 5th; McDonnell to Set Date for Special Elections in Weeks Ahead

RICHMOND– Governor Bob McDonnell today appointed Chesterfield Delegate Sam Nixon to serve as Chief Information Officer of the Virginia Information Technology Agency. With General Assembly passage of the Governor's legislation to increase transparency and accountability in the agency, the Chief Information Officer will now report directly to the Governor, through the Secretary of Technology, for the first time. Nixon currently represents the 27th House of Delegates district in Chesterfield County. He will step down from that office. A special election will be held to fill the vacancy, as well as the other legislative vacancy created by the recent appointment of Harrisonburg Delegate Matt Lohr as Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. A date for the elections will be set in the weeks ahead.

Speaking about the appointment, Governor McDonnell noted, "Sam and I served together for twelve years in the House of Delegates. During that time I came to greatly admire and respect Sam's intellect, character and understanding of the important issues facing the Commonwealth. Sam is a thought leader on information technology issues, both as a legislator and as a Senior Consultant at Richmond–based IT consulting firm CapTech Ventures. Sam's experience in this fast–changing industry will be of tremendous benefit at VITA. I know he will do a great job for the citizens of Virginia."

McDonnell continued, "Ensuring Virginia's information technology agency provides excellent service in a cost–effective and fiscally responsible manner is a top priority for me, Secretary Duffey and the entire Administration. The successful restructuring legislation this past session was an important step forward in this effort. The appointment of Sam Nixon is the next. The final step in our reform of the agency will be the successful completion of the renegotiation of the Commonwealth's outsourcing agreement with Northrop Grumman, and Sam will play a key role in finalizing this matter."

McDonnell concluded, "I also want to thank outgoing CIO George Coulter for his work in leading the agency over the past seven months. George came in to help steady the agency during a tumultuous time. He has done that, and he has been instrumental in helping advance our reforms to the agency over the past session. I wish George the very best moving forward, and thank him for playing a pivotal role in improving the operations of this vital state agency."

Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey commented, "Sam Nixon will be one of the leading state CIO's in the nation. His background is tailor made for this role. After 16 years of legislative experience and 25 years of working in the IT industry he is uniquely qualified to pick up where George Coulter leaves off and lead VITA and Virginia into the next phase of IT modernization."

Sam Nixon noted, "I'm honored that Governor McDonnell has appointed me to serve as Virginia's Chief Information Officer. The Governor's reform–minded, business–like approach to governing offers great promise and I look forward to serving the Governor and the citizens of Virginia in this new capacity. I have a great passion for public service and technology, and share the Governor's goal of improving IT management in Virginia. I look forward to working closely with the Governor's cabinet, state agencies, the professionals at VITA and all of our private sector partners to align Virginia's technology with the business needs of government."

About Sam Nixon

Sam Nixon was first elected in 1994 and is currently serving his ninth term in the House of Delegates. His district includes central and northeast Chesterfield County.

He currently serves on three House committees: Health Welfare and Institutions (Vice Chair), Commerce and Labor, and Science and Technology. Sam also serves on the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS), and the Joint Commission on Unemployment Compensation. He is a past member of the Virginia Graphical Information Exchange Board, and has led numerous JCOTS advisory committees such as Integrated Government, IT Procurement Reform and Health IT. He served as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus from 2008 to present. He also serves on the St. Francis Hospital Community Advisory Board and is a Life Member of the Chesterfield Jaycees.

As a state Delegate, Sam is known as a practical problem solver whose attention to detail and work ethic has earned him the respect of legislators on both sides of the aisle. He consistently ranks as one of Virginia's most effective legislators by Virginia FREE for his work on business related issues. He known for his work on issues related to families, technology, health care, corporate governance and utilities regulation. He has a reputation for tackling large, complex issues such as telecommunication tax reform, electrical utility de–regulation, technology governance, health care IT standards, and group homes reform.

He has 25+ years experience in the Information Technology field and has held various positions during his career including Practice Manager, IT Director, Marketing Support Manager and Operations Director. He has worked for Fortune 100 organizations, consulting firms, a 26–store retailer and once owned and ran his own Network Services company. Sam is a Sr. Consultant with CapTech Ventures, an IT and management consulting firm based in Richmond, VA where he utilizes his skills in project management, business process re–engineering and change management for Fortune 100 clients. Sam graduated from James Madison University in 1980 with a degree in Business Administration.

Sam has twice been recognized by the Northern Virginia Technology Council as a 'Tech Ten' legislator and was the first person, other than a sitting Governor, to receive the 'Chairman's Award' from the Richmond Technology Council. During his legislative career, he has been honored with Delegate of the Year awards from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Retail Merchants Association, the Virginia Family Foundation, the Virginia Manufacturer's Association, the Virginia Association of Health Plans, the Virginia Association of Commissioners of the Revenue, the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police, the Virginia Association of Health Plans, and the Virginia Biotechnology Association.

Sam is happily married to Carol Gibbs Nixon of Dinwiddie, VA. They have one son, Johnathan, who attends Christopher Newport University and is in the President's Leadership Program. The Nixons are active members of Southside Church of the Nazarene, where Sam plays keyboards in the church praise band on most Sundays. Sam is an avid photographer and motorsports fan. He once held a NASCAR short–track crew license and has twice worked as a spotter at 24 Hours of Daytona.

About the Virginia Information Technology Agency

The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) is the Commonwealth's consolidated information technology organization. VITA's responsibilities fall into four primary categories:

Governance of the Commonwealth's information security programs in support of the responsibilities of the Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth;
Operation of the IT infrastructure, including all related personnel, for the executive branch agencies declared by the legislature to be "in–scope" to VITA;
Governance of IT investments in support of the duties and responsibilities of the Information Technology Investment Board and the Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth;
Procurement of technology for VITA and on behalf of other state agencies and institutions of higher education.
During the most recent session of the General Assembly, Governor McDonnell successfully advanced legislation to restructure VITA to streamline operations and provide for greater transparency and efficiency in the agency. The legislation, which became effective immediately due to an emergency clause, requires both the agency and its director to now report to the Governor through the Office of the Secretary of Technology, a reorganization broadly supported by Virginia's technology community. Prior to McDonnell's legislation, VITA and the CIO fell under the oversight of the Information Technology Investment Board (ITIB).

You can read more about the Governor's VITA restructuring by visiting this link:

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