When Steven VanRoekel moved to Washington, D.C., to take a job as managing director of the Federal Communications Commission in 2009, it was his first time working for government. The self-described “geek at heart” had worked at Microsoft since college and had never planned on working in public service.
Just two years later, he was tapped by President Obama as the nation’s second-ever Chief Information Officer, managing an $80 billion yearly portfolio of federal IT spending, overseeing and working to consolidate the 40,000 to 50,000 websites operated by the government, and doing his best to modernize government in a data-heavy, fast-moving and mobile age.
“We released a new mandate that any new data from the government needs to be machine readable,” VanRoekel said. “If we unlock all this government data and made it available to people, we’re turning it into real value.”
Citizens have bigger expectations because of technology, he said. “But you go to the Social Security site and download the form, fill it out, rip a sticker off a wall and wait an hour and a half to have someone type that form into the computer for you.”
“It’s forcing a massive change.”
Hear more about how VanRoekel and his team are transforming government technology in the video.
Previous Zillow Speaker Series guests include:
- Jay Inslee, candidate for Washington state governor
- Gabe Zichermann, author and consultant
- Rob McKenna, Washington state attorney general and candidate for governor
- Ronnie Chan, chairman of Hang Lung Properties Limited
- Hadi Partovi, angel investor, startup investor
- GrubHub co-founders Mike Evans and Matt Maloney
- Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn
- Adam Goldstein of Hipmunk
- Adam Lashinsky, author of “Inside Apple”
- Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
- John Cook of GeekWire
- FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski
- Gordon Stephenson of Real Property Associates
- Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital
- Richard Tait of Cranium
- Adrian Hanauer of Sounders FC
- Steve Souders of Google