Capital Plaza Tower
State agencies created separate data centers, most starting small with early single-tasking computers, such as the IBM 1401. In the late 1960's, the data centers expanded as mainframe computers, such as the multi-tasking IBM System/360, became commonplace. Agencies that had their own data centers included the Department of Transportation, the Department of Finance, the Department of Economic Security, Department of Health and the Department of Education.
Robert Stone, Jr.
The Bureau of Computer Services (BCS) was established by Gov. Wendell Ford for the purpose of consolidating separate agency data centers into one central location. Initially, the central data center was located on the 14th floor of the Capital Plaza Tower.
Computer equipment from the departments of Finance and Transportation formed the initial nucleus of the new data center. The first commissioner of BCS was Robert McReynolds and his deputy was Joe Woolums. When McReynolds departed (prior to 1978), Robert Stone, Jr. became Commissioner of BCS, while Woolums continued as the deputy commissioner. Programmers and analysts remained dispersed in separate agencies throughout the 1960's and 70's.
Tornados rip through Kentucky on April 3, 1974, killing 73 people in Kentucky and 117 total in several states. These tragic events were largely responsible for Gov. Julian Carroll receiving three separate requests for statewide networks the following year, and eventually lead to the establishment of the Kentucky Emergency Warning System (KEWS).
Gov. Julian Carroll determined that three separate networks would be too costly and a single microwave network would be built to accommodate both Kentucky's emergency communications requirements and Kentucky Educational Television (KET). Paul Warnecke was hired to build the new network, to be called the Kentucky Emergency Warning System (KEWS).
Commonwealth Data Center
1978 Dedication Plaque
The Bureau of Computer Services moved to
the new data center at 101 Cold Harbor Drive in
December after construction was completed.
The building was originally called the Computer
Services Building but was later referred to as the
Commonwealth Data Center. The dedication
plaque in the lobby of the building reads as
shown in the image to the right.
The new Kentucky Emergency Warning System (KEWS) statewide network was completed and began operation in April 1979. KEWS is a microwave communications network with redundant capabilities which joins the radio relay networks of KET, the Department of Military Affairs, the National Weather Service, the Kentucky State Police, the U. S. Department of Commerce and others into a single system.
Two years after moving into the new data center, the Bureau of Computer Services was renamed to the Division of Technical Services. In June, Gov. John Y. Brown, Jr., appointed George Fischer as Executive Director of the new Office of Management Information and Computer Services, which would soon evolve into a new IT organization in early 1981.
In early 1981, the Department of Professional Support was created when Gov. John Y. Brown, Jr., established the Personnel and Management Cabinet. The department was formed by consolidating programmers, analysts and developers from many agencies into a single organization. The first commissioner of the new department was Robert Neasham, Jr. The Division of Technical Services continued as a separate agency in the same cabinet but was renamed to the Department of Technical Services (still under the leadership of Robert Stone). George Fischer was named Secretary of the Personnel and Management Cabinet.
In late 1981, Gov. Brown merged the Department of Finance with the Personnel and Management Cabinet to create a new cabinet named the Finance and Administration Cabinet. As a part of this reorganization, the Department of Information Systems (DIS) was established by merging the Department of Professional Support and the Department of Technical Services, under the leadership of Commissioner Robert Neasham, Jr. Later, James "Jim" Futrell was named deputy commissioner of DIS.
James Futrell was appointed commissioner of DIS after Robert Neasham resigned near the end of Gov. John Y. Brown, Jr.'s administration.
Stephen "Steve" Dooley replaced Jim Futrell as the commissioner of DIS in March, 1984. Deputy commissioners of DIS under Dooley were Tracey Ballman (1984 to March 1985), Joe Elam (April 1985 to April 1997), and Ron Jones (October 1999 to August 2001). The Kentucky Information Systems Commission (KISC) was created to perform strategic planning. The chairmanship of this commission was a part-time duty that rotated each year.
The Office of Geographic Information Systems (OGIS) was created to coordinate geographic information system activities. Doug Robinson was the original (interim) executive director of OGIS, assuming the position in October. Phil Thiel was appointed executive director in early 1993, but resigned in 1994 and was replaced by Doug Robinson again.
During the administrations of Gov. Wallace Wilkinson and Gov. Brereton Jones, state agencies began staffing their own internal IT development organizations, and separate agency data centers once again began to emerge. (This trend continued through the Patton administration, which lasted from late 1995 until 2003.)
KISC became the KY Information Resources Management Commission (KIRM), initially under the full-time leadership of Jack Cornett.
Doug Robinson became the Executive Director of KIRM on Feb. 1, 1996, after Jack Cornett's resignation. Doug held both KIRM and OGIS positions for a short time, until Susan Lambert was appointed executive director of OGIS.
Aldona Valicenti was hired as Kentucky's first Chief Information Officer (CIO) in December, 1997, reporting directly to the Governor and Secretary of the Cabinet. Initially, the position was advisory in nature with no direct authority over the DIS organization. For months, Valicenti worked closely with DIS leadership to make plans for a new central IT organization.
The Governor's Office for Technology was formed in October 1999, by merging DIS, KIRM, and OGIS, under Aldona Valicenti. The Deputy CIO of the new organization was Steve Dooley.
Aldona Valicenti resigned in November 2003 and Steve Dooley became Acting CIO of GOT. GOT was moved from the Governor's Office into the Finance and Administration Cabinet by Executive Order 2003-064, dated December 23, 2003. The new agency was informally called the Office for Technology but this was not made official via executive order. Steve Dooley, Acting State CIO, headed the reorganized office from December 2003 to May 2004.
On May 17, 2004, Governor Fletcher appointed Mike Inman as state CIO. In July, Inman was also appointed Commissioner of Technology for the Commonwealth, and Executive Director of COT. Terry Sears was named Deputy Commissioner. The Commonwealth Office of Technology (COT) was established by Executive Order 2004-723, dated July 9, 2004.
On June 16, 2005, Governor Fletcher signed Executive Order 2005-562 which reorganized COT and directed major changes in the way IT was delivered in the Commonwealth. The executive order directed COT to consolidate information technology operations and services to produce both cost savings and service improvements. Also, the Division of Printing was moved into COT. In September, Mark Rutledge was named Deputy Commissioner, replacing Terry Sears who had resigned in July.
On June 19, 2006, Gov. Fletcher signed Executive Order 2006-684
reaffirming changes put in place one year before (June 16, 2005). The changes reauthorized COT's organizational structure and reaffirmed the state's IT Consolidation initiative. On August 25, Mark Rutledge was appointed Commissioner of COT, replacing Mike Inman, and Tom Ferree moved into the Deputy Commissioner position.
On June 21, 2007, due to the 2007 legislature's failure to ratify cabinet organizational changes, Gov. Fletcher signed Executive Order 2007-502 reestablishing changes put in place the previous year on June 19, 2006. The changes reauthorized COT's organizational structure and reaffirmed the state's IT Consolidation initiative. On June 1, Deputy Commissioner Tom Ferree left COT to assume the duties of Deputy Chief of Staff in the Finance Cabinet Secretary's Office. He was replaced by Richard (Rick) Boggs. On Dec. 10, 2007, Mark Rutledge announced his resignation and Rick Boggs subsequently became acting commissioner.
On Feb 1, 2008, Steve Dooley was appointed as interim Commissioner of COT for a four-month period. His appointment was followed on Feb. 16, 2008, by the appointment of Jim Barnhart as the Deputy Commissioner, replacing Rick Boggs. Dooley resigned on May 30, 2008, and Lori Flanery, the Deputy Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, was named Acting Commissioner of COT. On June 6, 2008, Gov. Beshear signed Executive Order 2008-506 which made some changes to COT's organization. The changes essentially reauthorized COT's organizational structure, establishing the Office of Enterprise Technology (formerly called the Office of Enterprise Policy and Project Management) and the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer. On Nov. 7, 2008, Robin Morley was appointed as the second Deputy Commissioner of COT, joining Jim Barnhart in this role.
On March 20, 2009, Gov. Steve Beshear signed Senate Bill 181 reorganizing the Finance and Administration Cabinet, making permanent many of the changes instituted in previous executive orders. SB 181 took effect on June 25, 2009, causing a revision in the Kentucky Revised Statutes pertaining to COT. Previously the statutes establishing COT were located in Chapter 11 under the Governor's Office but this legislation authorized them to be moved to Chapter 42 under the Finance and Administration Cabinet. On July 16, 2009, Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Jonathan Miller announced the appointment of Phil Baughn as the Commonwealth’s Chief Information Officer and Commissioner of the Commonwealth Office of Technology (COT).
On June 16, 2010, Gov. Beshear signed Executive Order 2010-436 resulting in minor modifications to COT’s organizational structure. In recognition of the growing use of spatial information, the Division of Geographic Information was moved to the Office of Application Development. The KY Geospatial Board was renamed the Geographic Information Advisory Council. In October, Lori Hudson Flanery was named interim Chief Information Officer and Commissioner of the Commonwealth Office of Technology. Her appointment replaced Phil Baughn who was named by Gov. Beshear to manage broadband infrastructure investments statewide. Jim Barnhart and Robin Morley continued as Deputy Commissioners for the Commonwealth Office of Technology.
An Executive Order was signed by Gov. Steve Beshear reaffirming the COT reorganizational changes. Steve Rucker was appointed as the COT Commissioner and Robin Morely was named Special Assistant to the Finance Secretary's Office. Finance Secretary, Lori Hudson Flanery, continued as the Interim Chief Information Officer.
The reorganization was passed by Legislature during the 2012 legislative session and KRS 42.742 became effective as amended on July 12, 2012. The Commonwealth Office of Technology was officially created within the Finance and Administration Cabinet. Four Offices, each headed by an Executive Director, were established: The Office of Enterprise Technology, The Office of Infrastructure Services, The Office of Application Development, and The Office of Chief Information Security Officer. Finance Secretary, Lori Hudson Flanery, continued as the Interim Chief Information Officer and Steve Rucker continued as Commissioner.
In March Kentucky launched the upgraded Kentucky Emergency Warning System (KEWS), a $46.5-million high-speed digital public safety network capable of carrying voice, data and video traffic. The IT Infrastructure Initiative (I.3) announced in September the transfer of operational control of all executive branch IT infrastructure services, equipment and employees to COT. A new contract for Managed Print Services (MPS) was awarded to Xerox in November, The commonwealth entered into a contract with Cyrus One to establish an Alternate Data Center. Additionally, COT implemented a new SIP based Enterprise VoIP Telephone system that provides advanced communication features including presence status (user availability at a glance), instant messaging, ad hoc video conferencing, audio/web conferencing, and mobile phone integration.
January 16, 2013, Governor Beshear appointed Steve Rucker as Deputy Secretary of the Finance Cabinet. Deputy Secretary Rucker continued to serve as Commissioner for the Commonwealth Office of Technology until June, when James (Jim) Fowler was appointed Chief Information Officer and Commissioner. CIO Fowler reported directly to Lori Flannery, Secretary of the Finance Administration Cabinet, and also served on the Governors Executive Cabinet. Jim Barnhart continues to server as Deputy Commissioner. June 16, the Executive Order for the reorganization of COT to conform to the IT Infrastructure Initiative (I.3) was signed by Governor Beshear. Mr. Fowler served until December of 2016.
December 8, 2017, the Finance and Administration Secretary William M. Landrum III, announced
that Dr. Charles E. Grindle, Colonel, retired, U.S. Army, is the chief
information officer (CIO) for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. As CIO, Dr. Grindle
heads up the Commonwealth Office of Technology and is currently a member of Governor
Bevin’s executive cabinet.