by Tracy Mayor

Profile of Brian Wolf, Montana CIO

May 01, 20032 mins

Age: 40

Salary: $105,000

Previous job: Manager of telecommunications and technology transfer at Basin Electric Power Co-op, Bismark, N.D.

Took the job in September 2001 because: After 19 years with the same company, Wolf welcomed the chance to be Montana’s first CIO. Plus, he has a soft spot for Montana; and at midcareer, he was feeling the need to contribute to public good in some manner. So when Montana announced the job, Wolf applied.

Technology challenge: Evaluating several large, troubled IT projects to determine whether they’re salvageable. And building a process architecture to strengthen the state’s project management methodology to ensure that mistakes won’t be repeated.

Management challenge: Moving the state’s IT organization from a siloed environment to an enterprise perspective. “There’s a lot of historical culture to deal with, a lot of trust that needs to be built.”

On the pay cut: “You don’t come to these positions for the money. I’m working longer and harder than I ever have. You have to have a fundamental sense of stewardship for the taxpayers of the state.”

His future: Gov. Judy Martz’s term ends December 2004, and she hasn’t yet announced if she’s running again, but because Wolf does not report directly to the governor it’s possible he could stay on under a new administration. If and when he’s ready to return to the private sector, “the skill sets I’m using here are absolutely transferable to the private sector or another government job.”

Take-away: “It’s a wonderful feeling when you deploy true efficiency and effectiveness that touches the taxpayer. And the research, performance management and best practices that come out of government models are invaluable. Wherever I go next, I will be a much better manager because of what I’ve been exposed to here.”