The Gov Tech 50

City & State recognizes 50 of the most influential people overseeing the technological transformations in New York.
City & State recognizes 50 of the most influential people overseeing the technological transformations in New York.
TierneyMJ/Shutterstock
City & State recognizes 50 of the most influential people overseeing the technological transformations in New York.
Power List

The Gov Tech 50

Changing the way New York government works.

Technology’s growing impact on policymaking is no secret – least of all in New York, where tech companies like Uber and Airbnb jockey for favorable regulations, and behemoths like Google and Amazon increasingly gobble up real estate. 

But the field of government technology often flies under the radar. “Gov tech” – the behind-the-scenes collaboration of tech and information technology companies with state and local government – is not only booming in New York, but it’s constantly changing as the government embraces technological transformation. From providers of cloud computing services to innovators in contactless transit payments, small and large tech companies alike are changing the way government works and how we interact with our infrastructure.

City & State identified 50 people who have overseen, facilitated or influenced these transformations in New York. The inaugural Gov Tech 50 includes both the executives at companies winning major IT contracts and the public-sector officials tasked with overseeing those contracts and helping government agencies innovate their use of tech. Influential individuals like consultants and nonprofit leaders who are helping to connect tech companies to government are also in the mix. If you haven’t yet heard these names, make note of them now. These are the 50 people to know as technology becomes increasingly intertwined with our daily lives. 

1. Jessica Tisch

Commissioner, New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications

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Jessica Tisch is only months into her new job as commissioner of New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, and yet all eyes are on her leadership of the agency handling everything from telecommunications franchise agreements to procurement of citywide IT services.

Tisch, after all, has a proven track record of technological transformation, as evidenced by her work as deputy commissioner of information technology at the New York City Police Department. While with the NYPD, one of her signature accomplishments was the development and implementation of the Domain Awareness System, a citywide crime-fighting network composed of thousands of surveillance cameras, license plate readers and sensors.

As DoITT commissioner, Tisch holds one of the most powerful tech positions in city government, overseeing a department of more than 1,800 with a budget of more than $724 million. By all accounts, Tisch isn’t wasting any time getting started on her goals for the agency, which include building out the city’s IT infrastructure and collaborating with other city agencies on data-sharing initiatives. 

2. Jeremy Goldberg

Acting Chief Information Officer and Deputy Secretary for Technology and Innovation, New York State

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems to have a right-hand man or woman for every job – like Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa or budget czar Robert Mujica – and when it comes to technology, Cuomo’s go-to guy is Jeremy Goldberg. Goldberg, who was named interim state chief information officer last fall, also serves as deputy secretary for technology and innovation for the state. In the latter role, he advises Cuomo on emerging technologies and also oversees the state’s Office of Information Technology Services, the agency tasked with providing statewide IT services and directing IT policy. 

Though he only started working with the state last spring, this isn’t Goldberg's first time at the IT rodeo. In addition to a few stints working on civic innovation for the cities of San Jose and San Francisco, he most recently led New York City’s NYCx challenge program – a moonshot initiative out of the office of the city’s chief technology officer that invites entrepreneurs to pilot technologies aimed at solving specific urban problems in fields like transportation and sustainability.

3. John Paul Farmer

Chief Technology Officer, New York City

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Mayor's Office of the Chief Technology Officer

New York City Chief Technology Officer John Paul Farmer has come a long way since playing shortstop for the minor-league teams of the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers. While his pro baseball days are over, Farmer is in the big leagues as New York City’s chief technology officer. He took over the role last June after stints as director of technology and civic innovation at Microsoft and senior adviser for innovation to President Barack Obama, where he worked on initiatives like the Presidential Innovation Fellows, a program that brings innovators from all sectors to work on projects in federal agencies.

Farmer’s work as CTO now involves coordinating with DoITT on broadband and 5G expansion, as well as helping city agencies better leverage the kind of tech they use. As for the latter goal, Farmer has said that one solution is encouraging more technologists to “serve a tour of duty” and work inside government. As an accomplished alum of a tech giant like Microsoft, Farmer is certainly walking the walk on that directive.

4. Rajiv Rao

State Chief Technology Officer

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The state’s Office of Information Technology Services has experienced considerable turnover in recent years, but one constant through all of that is Rajiv Rao, who has served as the state’s chief technology officer since 2015. 

As CTO, Rao leads the building of the state’s core IT infrastructure services and architecture, and also explores broad technology objectives for the state, including data analytics and artificial intelligence. Before joining ITS, he worked on other projects for the state, including modernization initiatives at the Department of Taxation and Finance.

One of his crowning achievements during his time at ITS has been his work as chief architect of the state’s Excelsior Cloud – the project consolidating over 50 data centers into a secure and state-of-the-art center on the SUNY Polytechnic Institute campus in Albany.

With that resume, Rao is no stranger to recognition – having received multiple awards, including the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ State Technology Innovator Award in 2018 and Government Technology magazine’s New York State IT Leader of the Year honor in 2019.

5. Sean Carroll

Chief Procurement Officer, New York State Office of General Services

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If you have an IT contract with New York state, there’s a good chance Sean Carroll has had his hands on it. As chief procurement officer at the state Office of General Services, Carroll oversees more than 1,500 statewide contracts for information technology services and products for state agencies and other entities. 

Carroll was appointed to the role in 2016, following nearly a decade working on purchasing for Onondaga County, where he led an effort to modernize the county’s purchasing system. Before that, he ran his own consulting firm for nearly 10 years. 

Carroll’s team at the state Office of General Services is responsible for the state’s centralized IT contract portfolio, which includes over 200 vendors and 700 resellers and subcontractors. From hardware to software to cloud telecommunications services and more, OGS helps state agencies, local governments, school districts and nonprofit organizations meet their technology needs, with both some of the largest technology companies in the world as well as smaller minority- and women-owned businesses.

Annie McDonough
Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
20200527