Posted by: Ann Treacy | March 12, 2013

Carolyn Parnell & Massoud Amin on Gov Tech’s Top List of Doers, Dreamers and Drivers

Gov Tech recently announced their 2013 Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers list. There are two Minnesotans on the list: Carolyn Parnell & Massoud Amin. Note: 2 Minnesotans out of 25 names seems pretty good. Speaks to local innovation!

Carolyn Parnell, the State CIO, is recognized for her consolidation of Minnesota IT functions and staff, based it seems on a policy of setting standards. According to Gov Tech

Then, in June 2011, the Legislature passed a bill to consolidate all IT functionality in the state under Parnell’s office — a consolidation that she says is about one-fifth complete because it’s a massive, multiyear undertaking. “We started with a mandate to  pull under one roof all aspects of IT — people, projects, infrastructure, applications — which was scattered among 70-plus organizations,” she said. “This had not been done in the state before.”

Within about six weeks, Parnell’s organization grew from 350 employees to 2,100.

The reorganization is the largest in Minnesota state government in decades, said Tarek Tomes, assistant commissioner for customer and service management at MN.IT, the state’s new IT agency. “Carolyn’s leadership has been the instrument that brought this together,” he said. “Her style is employee-focused, innovative and very reform-oriented.”

For Parnell, defining standards for delivering technology services was an important part of the undertaking. She and her team created the Agency Centralized IT Reference Model after realizing that existing models didn’t meet their needs. “We looked high and low to find an IT reference model that already existed, but we had to develop our own,” she said. “And we did, after some research in both the public and private sectors, so we’re comfortable with where we ended up.”

Where MN.IT ended up, Parnell said, was with a standard IT language and set of IT functions — versus having more than 70 ways to deliver IT prior to the consolidation. Parnell and her team also have met their mandated consolidation timelines thus far. “There was legislative language around when we had to have certain things completed,” she said. “The fact that we were able to meet that timeline was quite the accomplishment and a great team effort.”

Carolyn has recently joined the Blandin Broadband Strategy Board.

Massoud Amin, Director, Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota, is recognized for his work creating a more powerful smart grid. According to Gov Tech

Massoud Amin is a self-described geek on a mission. The multilingual brainiac is supercharged about transforming the electric grid into a self-healing, sustainable and resilient smart grid. The new grid would consist of a network of sensors that communicate with one another to intelligently and proactively detect outages and perform repairs automatically. Amin’s mastery of the subject has led to groundbreaking research in the electrical engineering sphere, earning him the moniker “father of the smart grid.”   …

Late last year, following Hurricane Sandy, Amin spoke with NPR about the necessity and benefits of creating a smart grid. In that interview, he said the multimillion-dollar power outages that occurred could’ve been avoided. In February, Americans received another reminder during the Super Bowl blackout — the latest in a long line of arguments for a smarter power grid.

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