Wyoming IT continues to mature under new CIO, thrives on statewide fiber backbone

Information technology transformation is a continuing journey in Wyoming — especially under the leadership of new CIO Tony Young.

Enterprise Technology Services — the state’s consolidated IT agency — is a half-decade old, but more maturation is coming, Young said.

“My innovation and my challenge is to build a team that works, instead of just individuals processing and working from one particular agency,” Young said. “Instead of solving for one, we solve for many. That’s the goal, and that’s the vision that I’m trying to implement there.”

Young took over last September after the previous CIO Flint Waters left for a private sector job at Google. During Waters’ tenure, Young served in Gov. Matt Mead’s office as deputy chief of staff, where he helped advise the Republican governor on the creation of the tech agency back in 2012.

“We tried to do change and some technology enhancement,” Young said. “[After Waters’ departure] I actually asked the governor if he would consider appointing me to the position and he did.”

Young said he hopes to continue to help the state’s tech agency develop. In addition, he’s focusing on cybersecurity and driving adoption of a statewide fiber infrastructure — a 100-gigabit network that was built through a public-private partnership.

The network currently hosts all of the rural Western state’s public schools and most of its agencies, Young said.

“Within a year, I would like to see all of our agencies ultimately on that network,” Young said. “There’s a huge savings in costs and efficiencies for us with that.”

As for the agency itself, outward collaboration will be key to its success, the new CIO said.

“We need to focus externally, on collaborating with all of our partners, in and outside of state government,” Young said. “That’s what we’re working for, and I think that’s what my single biggest goal is.”