California’s high-speed rail agency hires new CIO

California’s High Speed Rail Authority, the agency responsible for planning a new bullet train system linking Los Angeles and San Francisco, hired retired Army Col. Keith Tresh as its new chief information officer.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s High-Speed Rail Authority, the agency responsible for planning and building a new bullet train system to eventually link Sacramento and San Diego, hired retired Army Col. Keith Tresh as its new chief information officer.

Tresh will oversee the technology partners involved in the project and their contracts. A former California state chief information security officer, Tresh acknowledged that taking the tech exec job for the controversial $68 billion project will be a challenge.

“It’s fluid, it’s very high visibility and there are so many disparate pieces to bring together,” Tresh told StateScoop in a phone interview. “Ensuring we have one fluid system for everyone, statewide is probably the biggest challenge.”

Tresh has 14 years of state civil service experience, working as CIO of California’s National Guard for five years before becoming California’s CISO in 2011. After retiring from California’s National Guard, Tresh worked with California’s human resources agency before he applied for the position with high-speed rail to be closer to family. Tresh said his National Guard taught him to “always be prepared” and to “always have contingency plans” — lessons he said would service him well at high-speed rail.


In his new assignment, Tresh will focus on the technology used within the agency that serves the contractors involved with the project and facilitates collaborations between project partners. He said he will work to maintain the current IT systems as well as continue work in public outreach.

“I do have a big vision for it,” Tresh said of his new post. “I do want to embrace social media to get our message out there, but the bigger thing is to ensure that the taxpayers dollars on projects and ensuring the IT system is secure and that we have something that works for everyone to ensure that they deliver on time.”

He told StateScoop he’s thrilled to move into the new position.

“It’s exciting to me because I am a big-time train guy. It’s exciting to be part of a project that is the only one in the United States for high-speed rail,” Tresh said.

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