Utah CIO retiring after 32 years with the state

Under VanOrden's leadership, the department brought nearly all of the state’s citizen services online.

After nearly three years as chief information officer and more than 30 years working in state government, Mark VanOrden is leaving Utah’s Department of Technology Services.

VanOrden will retire Nov. 12, according to a release from Gov. Gary Herbert’s office.

Under VanOrden’s leadership, the department brought nearly all of the state’s citizen services online. VanOrden has overseen the hosting, communications, app development and support for 22 government agencies, and digitized more than 1,100 different citizen services online, according to the release.

In April, VanOrden told StateScoop that despite his focus on increasing the amount of digital services, security remained a paramount concern. The state data center receives an average of 80 million to 100 million attack attempts daily — in fact, on a particularly busy day, VanOrden said the state received nearly 1 billion attack attempts.


“The governor told me once, ‘Mark, you can do all these great innovative things, but if you can’t protect it, then we’re not doing our job,’” VanOrden told StateScoop in April.

Cybersecurity was a priority for VanOrden from the start of his tenure. In 2013, the same year he hired as the state’s first chief information security officer, VanOrden said cyber was “something we always need to keep focused on or it could get away from us.”

In a statement, Herbert applauded VanOrden’s work as a member of his cabinet and said the CIO had been a “tremendous” public servant. Mark “and his team prevent millions of attempted cyber attacks against state databases every day,” Herbert said.

VanOrden’s career in state government began as a programmer in 1982. From 2006 to 2012, he ran IT for the state’s workforce services department.

Going forward, VanOrden told StateScoop he plans to focus on community service.


“My wife is also retiring, and we will be doing some volunteer work with the community and our Church,” VanOrden said in an email.

The governor’s office hopes to have someone in line to replace him before his November departure to make the transition easier.

Jake Williams

Written by Jake Williams

Jake Williams is a Staff Reporter for FedScoop and StateScoop. At StateScoop, he covers the information technology issues and events at state and local governments across the nation. In the past, he has covered the United States Postal Service, the White House, Congress, cabinet-level departments and emerging technologies in the unmanned aircraft systems field for FedScoop. Before FedScoop, Jake was a contributing writer for Campaigns & Elections magazine. He has had work published in the Huffington Post and several regional newspapers and websites in Pennsylvania. A northeastern Pennsylvania native, Jake graduated magna cum laude from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, or IUP, in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in political science. At IUP, Jake was the editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, The Penn, and the president of the university chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Latest Podcasts