Thom Guertin is Rhode Island’s first chief digital technology officer, a position he assumed in late October as part of the Office of Digital Excellence initiative.
The office’s goal is to modernize state government through improved digital capabilities and expand and improve services provided to Rhode Islanders, according to the governor’s office.
Guertin discusses his new role, future initiatives and how he hopes to use technology to bring state government, citizens and businesses closer together.
PBN: The chief-digital-officer position is a new one for the state. How do you feel being the first one to hold the position?
GUERTIN: I’m truly excited to work with not only the government agencies but public and private industries throughout the state to help move services to the public as well as businesses and to figure out the right approach.
The nice thing about Rhode Island and being in this type of role is that I think it can be a great test bed. To get out and speak to all the different constituencies and stakeholders and be able to go through testing and beta phase and have some trial and error and have a number of different groups be a part of the process.
PBN: You had been with The New York Times Co. since 2003; how has that prepared you for this position?
GUERTIN: I think, like state government, by working for a big company like that, that has multiple units and a parent holding company, I have an understanding of the many roles involved. It teaches you solid project management and how to present whether at the executive level or the end-user level, to be able to present in the correct fashion and at the right level of detail.