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Secretary of State

SOS > Media Center >  Press Releases > Indiana Secretary of State Appoints First-Ever Office Chief Information Officer and Names New Director of Business Services Indiana Secretary of State Appoints First-Ever Office Chief Information Officer and Names New Director of Business Services

Charlie White taps thirty-year agency veteran to replace outgoing business services director; creates new executive role overseeing future information technology advancements.

INDIANAPOLIS (August 23, 2011) – Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White has announced the addition of two new executive staff members – one a thirty-year veteran of the office and another joining from the private sector. White has promoted Robert Gardner, as Director of Information Technology to replace outgoing Director of Business Services, Liz Keele. Keele, who has run the division since the first term of former Secretary of State Todd Rokita, leaves the office after almost a decade to run U.S. Rep. Rokita’s district office. Gardner has led the state agency’s IT department for three decades serving the administrations of six Secretaries of State including Ed Simcox, Evan Bayh, Rokita and others.

“While we are sad to see Liz go, we are honored that Bob has decided to extend his 30 years of service to the state of Indiana and the Office of the Secretary of State and stepping up into a higher level of leadership.” White said. “Now that over seventy percent of business services transactions are made electronically, it makes sense to provide Hoosier businesses with an IT professional with unparalleled experience.”

While announcing the re-alignment of his Business Services Division into a more technologically focused department, White also introduced his new Chief Information Officer Vinnie Rao. Rao will serve as the office’s first CIO and Enterprise System Analyst, focusing on forward looking technology strategy to further increase accessibility and efficiency within the agency and to improve service to constituents.

“We recognize that with evolving technology and shrinking budgets, we need to look five, ten even twenty years into the future to make sure we offer Hoosiers the highest level of service in the most cost-effective manner,” White said. “Vinnie gives us that ability while also being able to coordinate the many ongoing information projects currently in play.”

With the passage of new legislation this year, the office has been charged with creating an online portal that allows businesses a “one stop shop” with a single state web site where applications, filings and transactions with multiple state agencies can be made. The implementation of this as well as that of the premier constituent relations management tool – Internet Quorum – will be among Rao’s first projects.

Rao brings seventeen years of information systems management experience as a director, consultant, and engineer. He has worked with start-ups and has a Masters Degree in both Engineering and Information Exchange and Management.

“I look forward to bringing my passion for entrepreneurship to an office that has really elevated the importance of assisting small business,” Rao said. “After two decades working in the private sector, I look forward to the chance to serve my fellow Hoosiers.”

Bob Gardner began working for then Secretary of State Ed Simcox in 1980, and celebrated his thirtieth anniversary with the office last November. Gardner has seen the IT department grow from supporting fifteen users to just over sixty. He has ushered the office through the introduction of electronic word processing, email, the Internet, and online filing. In recognizing the increased dependence of business services on IT, the two have been merged to even further align the business services division with information services to increase the office’s offerings.

“This opportunity to serve as the first Director of Business and Information Services is one that will be a great new challenge,” Gardner said. “This is an opportunity to give the people of Indiana the highest level of service and professionalism in this department that touches so many.”

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Media Contact:
AJ Feeney-Ruiz
Deputy Chief of Staff
Communications Director
Office of Indiana Secretary of State Charles White
Office: 317-233-8655
Cell: 317-730-4778