by Tracy Mayor

Profile of Stuart McKee, Director of Washington State Department of Information Services and CIO

May 01, 20032 mins

Age: 36

Salary: $133,000

Previous job: Vice president of global Internet operations at Disney

Took the job in April 2002 because: McKee was wowed by the state’s reputation as an IT leader (he filled the post vacated by CIO superstar Steve Kolodney).

Technology challenge: Changing outdated business processes (and convincing people to change along with them).

Management challenge: Fulfilling Gov. Gary Locke’s directive that the state’s IT services be run as a discretionary, competitive business unit within government. “Government agencies and nonprofits buy services from us if they want to. We have a rate schedule; we aggregate demand; we have to prove we’re providing the best value. It’s absolutely refreshing, and it makes sense for the private sector as well.”

On the pay cut: “This is a job where your compensation is a matter of public record. You can still be ambitious and work in state government but not if you’re motivated just by money.”

His future: Stay on as long as Locke is in office, or even longer if the new administration wants him to. Beyond that, McKee is convinced he could take his experience with Washington’s competitive IT services model and sell it to the private sector. “I love the idea of taking what we do here and bringing that back to private enterprise. I see this position as an amazing career and growth opportunity.”

Take-away: “I didn’t anticipate my enthusiasm for public life. Public service ’shareholders’ are everywhere, and they care. This is an enormous, enormous IT services operation, and people’s lives depend on what we do.”